UND HOCKEY: UND falls hard to Bemidji State in opener

The UND men's hockey team talked all fall about avoiding another slow start. But on a night that the National Collegiate Hockey Conference fell flat in nonconference play, the biggest implosion belonged to UND. Turnover after turnover led to odd-...

Bemidji's Myles Fitzgerald checks UND's Bryn Chyzyk on Friday, Oct 10, 2014, at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. (Logan Werlinger/Grand Forks Herald)


The UND men’s hockey team talked all fall about avoiding another slow start.

But on a night that the National Collegiate Hockey Conference fell flat in nonconference play, the biggest implosion belonged to UND.

Turnover after turnover led to odd-man rush after odd-man rush and eventually a decisive 5-1 Bemidji State victory over UND in front of a stunned, sold-out crowd of 11,865 in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

UND, unbeaten in the last 19 games against Bemidji State in Grand Forks dating back to 1970, gave up four goals in the span of 8 minutes, 41 seconds in the second period to put the game out of reach.


By the time the final buzzer sounded, UND had suffered its worst home-opening loss since 1975.

“Not very good,” UND captain Stephane Pattyn said. “We didn’t show up to play. Those guys showed up to play. They came out hungry and aggressive. Our team just didn’t show up.”

Junior Drake Caggiula said: “They out-beat us on every loose puck, every battle. They threw us around out there like it was kids playing against men. Definitely not good enough for us.”

UND coach Dave Hakstol said: “We got outcompeted. They were a focused, hungry team. We were not tonight. Bottom line, that’s on me.”

Hakstol said he didn’t see this type of a performance on the horizon.

“Obviously, I should have,” he said. “That’s why I say that this is on me.”

In its first regular-season action since last spring’s NCAA Frozen Four, UND looked nothing like the team that charged to Philadelphia just six months ago.

That team was suffocating defensively, limiting opponent scoring chances. On Friday night, UND handed away odd-man rushes like Halloween candy.


Last year’s team had arguably the best goaltender in the nation down the stretch in Zane McIntyre. On Friday night, he was on the bench by the end of the second period and backup Cam Johnson allowed a shallow-angle goal on the first shot he faced.

Last year’s team outworked every opponent down the stretch. On Friday, UND got manhandled for much of the game by the Beavers.

“Guys taking the easy way out on routes a few times,” Pattyn said.

“It starts with little battles,” Hakstol said. “It starts with faceoffs. It starts with 50-50 type puck battles. We didn’t win a lot of them. And we certainly didn’t take care of the middle of the ice.”

Brendan Harms opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal at 11:26 of the first period, then tacked on a second goal at 9:09 of the second to make it 2-0. Markus Gerbrandt found a rebound at 15:46 of the second for a power-play goal and Sam Rendle put it out of reach with a snipe from the high slot at 17:35.

UND replaced McIntyre with Johnson after Rendle’s goal, but he gave up a shallow-angle shot just 15 seconds into his stint to make it 5-0.

Freshman Nick Schmaltz scored UND’s lone goal on the power play at 13:08 of the third, breaking out the shutout bid of freshman Michael Bitzer. The Moorhead High graduate wasn’t tested much.

“I just thought our guys had a lot of jump,” Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said. “Our loose-puck intensity was very high. When we got to loose pucks, we made a lot of plays. I thought we had good patience with the puck and made a lot of plays. I think good fortune hits when you win races to loose pucks.”


UND left for Bemidji immediately after Friday’s game. Hakstol said the team won’t be throwing this one out and forgetting about it.

“You don’t throw this out – not at this time of year,” Hakstol said. “Absolutely not. This is a hard lesson learned for our hockey team. Now, you’ve got to turn it around and go on the road into a real tough building against a team that is playing very well and is going to have momentum going into their home opener.”

Notes: UND honored Pat Sweeney, the longtime WDAZ-TV sports director, before the game. . . UND’s scratches were Tucker Poolman, Johnny Simonson, Trevor Olson, Colten St. Clair and Andrew Panzarella. . . Bemidji State had 29 shots on goal through two periods. The Beavers averaged 17 shots per game against UND in the previous four meetings. . . The Beavers will look for their first-ever sweep of UND in tonight’s series finale in the Sanford Center (7:07 p.m.).

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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