SUBSCRIBE NOW AND SAVE 3 months just 99¢/month

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Weekend rewind: With Jackson Kunz back, UND's fourth line turns into an advantage

The former Red River player had points both nights in St. Cloud, while linemate Griffin Ness had his first two-point game and Nick Portz set up a goal.

KunzNessSCSU.jpg
UND forward Jackson Kunz (29) scores during the first period of UND's 5-3 win over St. Cloud State as Griffin Ness (11) looks on. Photo by Jason Wachter / The Rink Live
www.jasonwachter.com

The injury came at a bad time for Jackson Kunz.

The former Grand Forks Red River player and his linemates Griffin Ness and Nick Portz had perhaps their best weekend of the year at Miami on Nov. 12-13. They didn't tally any points, but were dominant with puck possession, generated chances throughout the weekend and even hit the post.

But during the final period of the weekend, Kunz suffered an upper-body injury that kept him out of the lineup for four games.

Add in the arm injury to forward Ashton Calder and the illness that kept Matteo Costantini out for two weeks and the Fighting Hawks were forced to jumble their forward lines.

They never found the same effectiveness on the fourth line.

ADVERTISEMENT

But Kunz returned to the lineup this weekend, the coaching staff reunited him with Ness and Portz, and that line gave UND a huge boost during a weekend split at St. Cloud State.

Kunz, a freshman, had a point each night. He set up a goal Friday with a heavy shot that created a rebound for Connor Ford. On Saturday, after UND fell behind early, he scored a key goal on top of the crease to get the Fighting Hawks going.

Ness, a sophomore, ended his 22-game point drought Saturday with his first multi-point game in college.

"It feels good, but I'm happier with the win," Ness said after UND's 5-3 victory. "Credit to my linemates. We've been playing well the last few games. It feels good to get rewarded, but we're happy with the win and we're trending in the right direction. We've just got to finish off these last few games before break."

Portz, a freshman from St. Cloud, set up a goal on a backdoor feed to Ford on Saturday. It brought back memories of former UND captain Austin Poganski, also a St. Cloud native, who always seemed to get on the scoresheet back home.

PortzSCSU.jpg
UND forward Nick Portz carries the puck during a game Dec. 4, 2021, against St. Cloud State in the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. Photo by Jason Wachter / The Rink Live
www.jasonwachter.com

ADVERTISEMENT

UND

What to read next
The Fighting Hawks open their two-game series at Lawson Ice Arena on Friday night.
Minnesota preparing to play the Knights at Williams Arena, but COVID test results will make final call
The transfer from Bowling Green has impressed in his first year with the Fighting Hawks.
The Fighting Hawks play highly ranked Western Michigan and St. Cloud State before Jake Sanderson heads to the Olympics.