There are those days when nothing seems to be going in the net.
It can be a combination of things: Scoring opportunities are down; nobody is finishing chances; there aren't many good bounces around the net; or a goaltender is playing well.
All of the above was true Thursday in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
When those days arrive during the regular season, having a defensive group that can create offense by jumping in the play or getting pucks to the net from the point can be critical. That also happened Thursday.
Junior defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker scored three times and senior defenseman Gabe Bast scored twice to move along Thursday's voluntary summer scrimmage, which otherwise was an uncharacteristic struggle to generate offense.
Bernard-Docker, the junior blue liner from Alberta, scored all three of his goals in different ways.
The first one came on a one-timer, something he's spent a lot of time practicing this offseason. That could help Bernard-Docker be a force on the second power-play unit this season.
The second goal came on a wrist shot, where he picked the corner of the net.
His final one, which ended the scrimmage, was a seeing-eye shot from the point that may have hit a defenseman on the way in.
While Matt Kiersted is UND's best offensive defenseman, Bernard-Docker has the ability to generate from the back end, too. As a rookie, he had five goals and 17 points. Last season, as a sophomore, he bumped those numbers up to seven goals and 25 points.
The only returning National Collegiate Hockey Conference defenseman who had more points than Bernard-Docker last season is Kiersted.
To this point, Bernard-Docker has generated most of his offense through his toe-drag-and-shoot move, where he changes the angle of his shot just before releasing it. He showed he can score goals in other ways Thursday, though.
Bast scores twice
The goal of the day belonged to Bast.
The senior defenseman cut from the right circle to the slot, jumping to sidestep a defender to get there. Once he arrived between the circles, Bast rifled a backhand high into the corner of the net.
That wasn't his only goal, either.
Bast also skated in on a clean breakaway and finished.
One of the biggest reasons goals were hard to come by Thursday was the play of goaltender Harrison Feeney.
Feeney made several terrific saves to frustrate his opponents. It was easily his best day of the summer.
Feeney, a sophomore, clearly sits behind senior Peter Thome and junior Adam Scheel on the goalie depth chart. Scheel was the go-to guy in 2018-19 and Thome was the go-to guy last season.
But injuries put Feeney very close to the starting lineup two seasons ago. You never know whether he could be forced into action in a season. If he plays like he did Thursday, UND shouldn't miss a beat.
Weatherby buries two
Last summer, you could see some flashes of excellence from Jasper Weatherby. The signs were there that he might have an improved sophomore season.
Sure enough, he had a breakout year.
After a three-goal, five-point freshman season, Weatherby had 10 goals and 18 points as a sophomore, while playing the middle or bumper spot on UND's top power-play unit.
This summer, those flashes of excellence are becoming far more common than they were last summer. The consistency is starting to arrive.
Weatherby scored two more goals Thursday. The first came on top of the crease. The second came on a beautiful setup by senior Jackson Keane.
- Other goals included a wraparound from Carson Albrecht, a snipe from the high slot from Gavin Hain and a breakaway by Tyler Kleven.
- The summer session is coming to an end. At this point in the summer, players usually start heading home for a couple of weeks before the fall session begins. It's possible the situation with the pandemic could change that, but it still seems unlikely there will be a full squad for the next couple of weeks.