For the past two seasons, UND captain Colton Poolman and others on the team have talked about their intentions of making Ralph Engelstad Arena a place visitors hate to play and one where opponents rarely win.
Since last Christmas, the Fighting Hawks have been making that a reality.
After Friday night's 2-1 overtime win over Bemidji State, UND has the fifth-longest home winning streak in the nation at five games -- a stretch that dates back to last season (see the full list below).
- READ: Westin Michaud finally gets to be on winning side of an OT goal in The Ralph
- GameCenter: UND 2, Bemidji State 1, OT
Since Christmas break a year ago, UND is 9-2 at home with the lone losses coming to Penrose Cup champion St. Cloud State and NCAA national champion Minnesota Duluth.
"Our No. 1 goal is to go pretty much undefeated here at The Ralph," senior Westin Michaud said. "With the fan support and our coaching staff, our morale needs to be high here. I think we've done that so far, but we have to have another level every single night. Practicing here is a treat. Playing in games is even better. You're fortunate enough, so you've got to take those opportunities and strive to be great."
UND will continue to work on that home record at 7:07 p.m. Saturday in Game 2 of a five-game homestand. That continues with a single game, the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game, against Michigan Tech next weekend, then a two-game National Collegiate Hockey Conference series against Miami.
The Fighting Hawks each of the last four games that have gone to overtime in The Ralph.
A crazy number of UND's overtime winners have come in The Ralph (see the full list below). In fact, 10 of the last 11 overtime winners that UND has scored were at home. The only road one in that span was Casey Johnson at Alaska Anchorage in October 2017.
Other notes and thoughts:
- In a lot of ways, it was a redemption game for UND. After giving up critical third-period goals in both games last weekend against Minnesota State-Mankato, it was UND's turn to score a critical third-period goal and turn around the game.
- The other way things turned from last weekend: faceoffs. After getting dominated by Minnesota State in the circle last weekend (49 wins, 83 losses), UND beat the Beavers 41-27 in draws. Notably, the game-winning goal in overtime came off of one of those clean faceoff wins by Shane Pinto.
- UND coach Brad Berry juggled the lines in the third period. We may see those new combinations in the series finale.
- Junior forward Collin Adams may have been the best player on the ice for UND. He was creating all over the ice and was rewarded with an assist. "I thought Adams and (Grant) Mismash were going good tonight," Berry said.
- A year ago, Adams had the worst plus-minus on the team (minus-7). Currently, he has the best plus-minus on the team (plus-6).
- Judd Caulfield was listed as the 19th skater but worked his way into a more regular shift in the third period and played quite well, taking Gavin Hain's spot on the Mark Senden and Cole Smith line. Berry said: "My thing is as a coach is giving a guy an opportunity. He eventually got into our lineup over the last couple of games. He didn't get a whole lot of shifts being the extra forward, but he's done things well in practice time and time again. You've got to give them an opportunity. He did a good job with Senden and Smith at the end of the game."
- Referee Dan Dreger absolutely nailed the way he announced his penalty calls with the mic. It was loud and clear. Hopefully other officials will follow his lead. Dreger previously reffed in the Central Hockey League, where they used mics.
- You may have been wondering what the officials were reviewing at the end of the first period. They were looking to see if a hit along the boards with about 1:13 left in the first period was worthy of a five-minute major. They determined it was not.
Recent overtime winners for UND
Oct. 25, 2019 -- Westin Michaud vs. Bemidji State (home)
March 9, 2019 -- Jordan Kawaguchi vs. Omaha (home)
Jan. 12, 2019 -- Jordan Kawaguchi vs. Colorado College (home)
Jan. 11, 2019 -- Ludvig Hoff vs. Colorado College (home)
Nov. 3, 2018 -- Jacob Bernard-Docker vs. Wisconsin (home)
March 10, 2018 -- Nick Jones vs. Omaha (home)
Oct. 7, 2017 -- Casey Johnson at Alaska Anchorage (road)
March 11, 2017 -- Trevor Olson vs. St. Cloud State (home)
Feb. 4, 2017 -- Mike Gornall vs. St. Cloud State (home)
Feb. 19, 2016 -- Austin Poganski vs. Minnesota Duluth (home)
Nov. 14, 2015 -- Luke Johnson vs. Miami (home)
Longest active home winning streaks
13 - UMass
8 - Harvard
7 - Notre Dame
6 - Maine
5 - North Dakota
5 - Bowling Green