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Defensive issues arise in UND's loss to Quinnipiac

The Bobcats scored six goals Saturday night and 11 on the weekend.

UND Fighting Hawks vs. Quinnipiac -- Oct. 15, 2022.jpg
UND alternate captain Ethan Frisch kicks the puck away from Quinnipiac forward Joey Cipollone (17) as Fighting Hawks goaltender Jakob Hellsten (32) tracks it in the first period of a men's hockey game at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks on Saturday, October 15, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — Iivari Rasanen raced to the corner late Saturday night, picked up the puck and threw it down the ice.

The puck bounced twice in the neutral zone, landed flat and slid right into the empty net.

That goal solidified Quinnipiac's 6-2 win over UND in Ralph Engelstad Arena, and highlighted a big question mark that has arrived for this year's Fighting Hawks team two weeks into the season.

Coupled with Friday's 5-5 tie, UND allowed 11 goals on the weekend — an uncommon total for a traditionally strong defensive team.

It marked the first time the Fighting Hawks have allowed 11 on a weekend since a split last season in St. Cloud. It was the first time it happened at home since Minnesota State-Mankato did it on Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2001. That was the first year of The Ralph.


On Friday, the No. 8 Bobcats chased UND starting goalie Drew DeRidder after one period.

On Saturday, they scored goals on a wrist shot, two deflections of point shots, a deke on top of the crease, a power-play backdoor tap-in and an empty-netter to drop Jakob Hellsten's save percentage from .914 to .857.

"We didn't play to the standard we usually play," UND coach Brad Berry said. "It's at home. It hurts at home here. This is a loss we're going to remember and make sure that this week we're going to get the habits and details down that we want to play consistently for a 60-minute game."

It doesn't get any easier for the No. 3 Fighting Hawks.

Next up is a road trip to Minnesota, which will likely be the nation's No. 1 team come Monday.

"Obviously, it starts in your end of the rink, playing harder and being more responsible and just playing as a team," Berry said. "You can probably count on one hand the number of goals we give up in the slot area with the way we play, and we gave up a number of them this weekend. We've got to make sure we stamp that out going into Mariucci next weekend, for sure."

UND defenseman Ethan Frisch said: "It wasn't acceptable by us that we came out pretty good in the first period, unlike yesterday, then took a period off. The effort, the juice, it wasn't acceptable. You can't beat good teams if you don't play 60 minutes. That's really what it came down to."

The Fighting Hawks (2-1-1) led Saturday's game 2-1 at the midway point on goals by rookie Jackson Blake and junior Riese Gaber.


But everything unraveled late in the second period. T.J. Friedmann, Desi Burgart and Ethan de Jong scored goals in the span of 4:01 to put the Bobcats ahead 4-2. De Jong and Rasanen added goals in the third to ice it.

"I didn't think we played a full 60," UND defenseman Chris Jandric said. "We've just got to tighten up in our D-zone, know where to grab sticks when shots come from the point. I think it's just the urgency for us and the intensity and that goes back to practice. I think we're going to have to tighten that up. I think that's going to start Monday here. It's going to be a pretty intense week here because of what happened this weekend."

UND also has to make a decision on starting goaltender.

Neither DeRidder or Hellsten has taken control of the No. 1 job early this season.

"You play one game, then decide what the goaltender is going to look like the next night," Berry said. "Jakob Hellsten came in (Friday), got the tie and the win in the shootout and he earned the opportunity to play tonight. I thought he's been doing well in camp the first part of the year. We always talk about guys earning their chance. He earned it tonight. Now, we'll evaluate the week going ahead here again."

There's plenty of other things to evaluate and clean up, too.

"We'll definitely be addressing (team defense)," Frisch said. "It's already been addressed going into practice this week — not getting pucks out of our zone and not cleaning things up in the front of our net in critical areas. It's not acceptable letting them get so many sticks on pucks and second chances and opportunities. It's not the way we play. We take a lot of pride in that. We'll be addressing that heavily this week."

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 bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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