Grant Mismash analyzed his game from last weekend’s series at Minnesota State-Mankato.
He wasn’t happy with it.
“I thought last week was just average for myself,” Mismash said. “Going into this week, I kind of had the mindset that I wanted to prove something to myself and the coaching staff and my team, most importantly, that I can be a trustworthy player out there for them.”
He did more than that.
Mismash showed the 11,517 in Ralph Engelstad Arena on Saturday night what type of a difference-maker he’s capable of being for UND.
The junior forward scored a goal on the first shift of the game and set up a tap-in for defenseman Jonny Tychonick in the second period as the Fighting Hawks pulled away for a 4-1 win over Bemidji State.
“It was a good weekend,” Mismash said. “I’ve just got to play like that the whole year.”
UND would gladly take that.
Mismash and his line with Jordan Kawaguchi and Collin Adams -- a trio coach Brad Berry put together for the third period Friday night -- delivered three goals in just over four periods for the Fighting Hawks.
Mismash wasn’t rewarded with any points in the series opener -- a 2-1 overtime win for UND -- but those points arrived in the series finale.
The Edina, Minn., product and second-round draft pick of the Nashville Predators finished with a goal and an assist. Kawaguchi had two assists, while Mark Senden and Tychonick scored goals. Captain Colton Poolman iced the win with an empty-netter from the neutral zone.
“He’s a great player, he’s probably one of the best in the country,” UND goalie Adam Scheel said of Mismash. “He’s always on. I think he gets some bad reps, but he’s a consistent guy. He always works and brings his lunch pail. I’m proud for him and the way he’s been playing this season.”
Scheel, who sees Mismash daily in practice, described why he’s tough to defend.
“He’s a playmaker,” Scheel said. “He shoots the puck. He just knows what to do with the puck. He creates offense for himself and his line. That’s when he’s at his best.”
Berry said he could sense this coming this season from Mismash.
“He’s matured in a lot of ways,” Berry said. “You know what? He made a commitment this summer in training -- not only here but also back home in Minneapolis -- of trying to get his body in better shape. The details and habits in his game have improved a lot.”
UND moved to 4-1-1 overall with the two-game sweep of Bemidji State and extended its home winning streak to six games dating back to last season. Only UMass (13), Harvard (eight) and Notre Dame (seven) have longer home winning streaks than UND.
Going back to Christmas last year, the Fighting Hawks have won 10 of 12 at home.
"Every time you get a goal or get a win, it just gives you chills every time," Mismash said of playing at home. "Our fans are so great. They're very consistent in sticking with us through the thick and thin. When it's going tough, they're tough on us, but it's good, you want fans like that who are passionate. Love to see that. It's even better when we get a sweep and do it for the fans."
The Fighting Hawks play their next three games in The Ralph, too.
Next week, they have a single game Saturday night against Michigan Tech. Then, UND hosts Miami in its National Collegiate Hockey Conference opening series.
On Friday night, it took UND 54 minutes, 13 seconds to get on the board against a defensively sound Bemidji State team.
On Saturday night, it took 36 seconds.
On the game's opening shift, Adams sent a puck behind the net, where Kawaguchi swiped it from Bemidji State goaltender Henry Johnson (25 saves) and centered to Mismash before the goalie could get back.
"One of the things we talked about was our start last night," Berry said. "We didn't start on time. I thought we did tonight. Getting that goal on the first shift was a big deal. I thought our puck management was a lot better. We gave our guys a few keys to hit home on tonight and I thought they executed them well."
There were several other positives.
Goalie Adam Scheel (19 saves) was extremely sharp, turning away several Grade-A chances for the Beavers. He didn't lose his shutout until there was just 1:17 remaining in the game.
UND's penalty kill, which has allowed just one goal on 18 chances this season, was especially sharp. Bemidji State didn't register a shot on goal on any of its three chances with the man advantage Saturday.
And, of course, Mismash delivered a big game.
"He's a guy who can make plays," Berry said. "When he has the puck on his tape, something usually happens positively offensively. A couple other guys on his line made some plays, too. I thought they have a little bit of chemistry together. It's a good start for those three and we'll see where it goes."