The scrimmage Monday started with quite a play.
Collin Adams forced a turnover in the neutral zone, skated up the left side and entered the offensive zone. He was well covered as he hit the top of the left circle, but Adams made a 180-degree spin and fired a cross-ice, no-look, backhand pass that landed on the tape of Jackson Keane.
The pass alone was a thing of beauty, but then came the finish.
Keane was one-on-one with goalie Adam Scheel.
Scheel stepped out to challenge Keane, but the forward from Winnipeg had another idea. He moved the puck to his backhand, walked around Scheel on the right, dipped below the goal line, snuck the puck back in the crease behind Scheel and tucked it in the net with a quick set of hands.
It was reminiscent of the goals that Nick Schmaltz and Brock Boeser scored back-to-back against Western Michigan in 2016. If you need a reminder, here you go (UND's second and third goals in the video below).
Monday's scrimmage-opening goal continued a nice run of late for Keane, and it also begged a question: What level can Keane reach this season as a senior?
So far, Keane has been a Swiss Army Knife type of player for UND, able to play in a number of different spots in the lineup. He has enough skill to fill in top-six spot if needed, yet he can also play his usual bottom-six and penalty-killing role.
It's now his senior season, and senior seasons have their way of resulting in breakout performances. We saw that last season, most notably by Cole Smith and Andrew Peski.
While Keane has been in-and-out of the lineup during his first two seasons at UND (he only has three years of eligibility, because his clock started while he was in juniors due to taking a full-time class schedule), he might get a chance to appear on a scoring line this season.
UND is loaded at center. Their lineup down the middle could be: Adams, Shane Pinto, Jasper Weatherby and Mark Senden.
Senden's line would be classified as the shutdown line, but the other three centers are going to be scorers and need to find fellow scorers or setup men on their wings. The door is open for Keane, who scored twice Monday, to try to carve out a spot on the wing of one of those lines.
Rookies have big day
Some players have started to filter back home for the final two weeks before school resumes, but most remain, including several rookies who had goal-scoring performances Monday.
Griffin Ness scored three more goals, Riese Gaber scored twice and Tyler Kleven and Jake Sanderson each buried one.
Ness finished off a terrific feed by Adams for one of his goals and he made a really nice play to pull the puck from the side of the net to the top of the crease and finish. Ness's pedigree, being from Wayzata and having captain-like qualities, will draw comparisons to Senden. And those comparisons may be apt. He's not flashy but he just consistently gets the job done.
Gaber finished off a nice pass from Carson Albrecht (who had a goal, too) and finished the scrimmage by picking a corner from the slot. Gaber had another eye-opening play on a rush when he was able to change the angle of his shot in a hurry. Gaber looks like a natural goal-scorer.
Kawaguchi buries two
UND senior captain Jordan Kawaguchi, who has spent this entire summer in either Grand Forks or the Brainerd area, continues to show that he can both set up teammates and finish himself.
Kawaguchi scored twice Monday.
The first one came on top of the crease. The second one came on a backdoor feed.