What happens when you put Jordan Kawaguchi, Collin Adams, Shane Pinto, Matt Kiersted and Jacob Bernard-Docker on the same team for a four-on-four scrimmage?
Monday morning's informal summer scrimmage in Ralph Engelstad Arena was just as lopsided as you would expect. A stacked team wearing black jerseys skated circles around the green-clad squad, winning all three games 3-1 for a total goal score of 9-3 in a contest that, yes, was just as one-sided as that Thanksgiving Day game in Minneapolis that ended with the same score.
Kawaguchi put on a show during that November 2019 weekend on the Olympic-sized ice sheet in Mariucci Arena. He did it again Monday on UND's own Olympic-sized ice.
The Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick finalist from a season ago scored in all three games -- his first hat trick of the summer -- and added a primary assist.
Although Kawaguchi is a pass-first type of player -- as evidenced by his stat line of 15 goals and 30 assists last season -- he showed Monday exactly why he's so tough on opposing goalies. Two of his three goals were snipes from the circles, flat out beating a goalie who was squared up against him.
His second goal of the day came on a two-on-one rush, the type of play where you just assume Kawaguchi is going to pass. Not this time. He picked the short-side corner with a big-time shot. With that type of accuracy and release, goaltenders can't cheat pass when Kawaguchi has the puck.
Kawaguchi, who was voted team captain earlier this month, finished off his hat trick with a goal at the side of the net in the third game.
This summer, Kawaguchi has often been that same pass-first guy we saw all of last season, but on days like Monday, he reminds everyone that his shot needs to be fully respected as well.
A new weapon for Weatherby
Jasper Weatherby, who also was on the Black Team, has been showing a new weapon this summer: the backhand.
For the second time in two weeks, Weatherby scored a top-shelf backhand from fairly high in the slot. You don't often see players score on backhands from that far out. The last UND player I remember doing it more than once was T.J. Oshie. But Weatherby proved that last week's goal was not a fluke.
The junior alternate captain cut across the slot, and when he got space, he went high glove on Harrison Feeney for a goal that had the players buzzing.
Weatherby, who has played both center and wing, took a big step last season. After scoring three goals and five points as a freshman, he had 10 goals and 18 points as a sophomore. He has been showing signs this summer that he's ready for yet another step forward.
Pinto ends it in style
Kawaguchi may have been the dominant player on his team, but Pinto made his mark at the end of the scrimmage. The sophomore from Franklin Square, N.Y., made back-to-back plays for pretty goals to finish it.
On the first play, he carried the puck in the right circle and pulled off a toe-drag-and-shot in one motion, picking the corner of the net.
Moments later, Pinto carried the puck in the zone on a two-on-one with rookie Griffin Ness. Pinto changed the angle of his stick to make the defender and goalie think he was shooting, then slipped a nifty pass to Ness, who hammered a one-timer past Feeney.
- Kiersted, a senior defenseman and alternate captain, continues to show his goal-scoring ability. He buried a feed from Kawaguchi to open the scoring. But perhaps his most impressive play of the day came on the defensive side of the puck. It appeared like sophomore Carson Albrecht was in the clear for a breakaway, but Kiersted caught him with a furious backcheck just as Albrecht was about to release his shot, preventing him from getting it off.
- Harrison Blaisdell, who suffered a lower-body injury Week 1, returned Thursday and got on the board Monday. Cutting toward the net on the inside of the left circle, he one-timed a nice pass from Adams, who was below the goal line, for his first goal of the summer.
- Judd Caulfield, who is hoping to establish himself as a top-six forward, keeps scoring. The sophomore from Grand Forks appeared to get one at the side of the net, though Jackson Keane and Ethan Frisch were in the neighborhood, too.
- Frisch, a sophomore from Moorhead, for sure got another one, hammering a rebound home from the side of the crease.
- Senior Grant Mismash was the only player to beat goalie Peter Thome on an initial shot Monday. Mismash had a breakaway early in the scrimmage, made a deke on top of the crease and slipped one past the senior goaltender.
- Overall, Thome was excellent, making a couple of sprawling saves.