Goal-starved UND team gets swept at Canisius
BUFFALO, N.Y.--UND broke out its lucky black jerseys for Saturday's series finale against Canisius. It threw 93 shot attempts and 49 shots on goal at a freshman goalie who has been on campus for just a couple of weeks. Not even that worked. Nothi...
BUFFALO, N.Y.-UND broke out its lucky black jerseys for Saturday's series finale against Canisius.
It threw 93 shot attempts and 49 shots on goal at a freshman goalie who has been on campus for just a couple of weeks.
Not even that worked. Nothing seems to these days.
A UND team that has struggled all season to finish off scoring chances hit rock bottom Saturday night in HarborCenter with a 2-1 loss to Canisius College.
Golden Griffins rookie Matt Ladd, who was added to the roster at Christmas break, stopped 48 of 49 shots, allowing just a single power-play goal to Nick Jones in the first period.
UND outshot a Canisius team that entered the weekend ranked 59th of 60 college hockey teams in save percentage 49-16 for the game and 82-30 on the weekend. But as the case has been so many times this season, the puck possession advantage and shots-on-goal disparity didn't matter at all.
The Fighting Hawks lost both games anyway, sinking their Pairwise Ranking to No. 22 and damaging their hopes of making the NCAA West Regional in Fargo.
"It's pretty hard right now," UND captain Colton Poolman said. "I wish we had the answers. For whatever reason, it's not going right now. We're struggling to find goals and it sucks. But I couldn't be more proud of our guys. I'm more proud to be a Sioux tonight than some other nights when we win, because that's one of the most complete games I've seen us play. We're not getting rewarded right now.
"That's kind of life sometimes. We do all the work and maybe the other person gets the promotion or something. It's not getting rewarded for us right now. And that's something we've got to get back to work with on Monday."
UND entered the weekend 26-0-0 all-time against teams currently in Atlantic Hockey, but ended its nonconference schedule with two losses to the Atlantic Hockey squad.
"The biggest thing is remaining strong in our group right now," UND coach Brad Berry said. "Our group is a strong group. We're going to stay together and we're going to grind this out, because that's what we do at North Dakota."
If UND (9-9-1) is going to make a run, it has to find ways to finish off scoring chances.
UND has outshot its opponent by 10-plus in seven of its nine losses this season.
In more than a third of their 19 games this season, the Fighting Hawks have been held to one or zero goals. They rank 49th nationally in shooting percentage.
"I don't know what the answer is," Poolman said. "I don't think guys are snakebitten at all or holding our stick too tight. We're all shooting pucks. We're all doing everything we can. It's really hard. Once we get out of this hole, I love the way we're playing. It's about finding that last little bit of play. Maybe it's working harder a bit. Maybe that's what we've got to do."
UND returns home next weekend to play Colorado College in a National Collegiate Hockey Conference game-and it needs to quickly start putting together wins if it wants to rise far enough in the Pairwise to get back in the NCAA tournament.
"It's going to be really hard," Poolman said. "These were our last two nonconference games. We knew how critical they were. And we lost. At the end of the day, whatever excuses, we don't do that here at North Dakota. That's not part of our program.
"Now, we have to do it in conference. We're going to have to battle our way through some pretty good competition and they're not going to look down on us. They're still really tough games. They're not going to give it to us and say, 'Hey, these guys are down.' That's not how it works."
UND played without forwards Grant Mismash (undisclosed) and Joel Janatuinen (illness) as well as defenseman Jonny Tychonick (lower body), but started the game pressuring Canisius. UND outshot the Golden Griffins 23-2 in the first period, but even with that, the Fighting Hawks weren't able to build a lead.
UND got on the board first, scoring just four seconds into a power-play chance late in the period. Rhett Gardner won a draw back to Jacob Bernard-Docker, who took a couple of steps and hammered a slap shot. Ladd made the initial save, but Jones fired a rebound home with his backhand at 15:12.
The Golden Griffins evened it just two minutes later on a two-on-two rush.
Although UND appeared to be set up to defend it, Canisius forward Matt McLeod skated past Bernard-Docker on the right wing and got enough space to fire a pass backdoor. Chamberland got behind Matt Kiersted and tapped home the tying goal.
Canisius scored the winner in the third on a harmless looking play, where Grant Meyer threw a shot from the right circle that appeared to surprise goalie Adam Scheel (14 saves) and beat him five-hole.
"Coming here to get two wins and to come out with nothing is obviously disappointing," Jones said. "To get all those chances and get only two goals all weekend is frustrating. But we've got to go back to work on Monday.
"I don't know what to say about it. We were around the net a lot tonight. Not even the shot attempts. We were around the net and the puck was bouncing around the net with numbers there and we had the opportunities."
There was a scary moment early in the second period, when Canisius defenseman Matt Stief appeared to be cut in the neck area with a skate. Stief was near the bench when it happened and the Canisius coaching staff immediately began yelling for assistance.
UND team doctor Greg Greek and athletic trainer Mark Poolman ran over to the Canisius bench and put pressure on the apparent cut with towels.
Canisius public relations staff said that Stief was taken to Buffalo General and his injury was non-life threatening.