North Dakota Gets 5-1 Revenge Win over Pioneers

What a difference a day makes…

After being wiped out by #19th-ranked Denver 4-1, on Sunday, Jan. 17, #3-ranked North Dakota held a team meeting before the rematch on Monday morning, with a three-word key message delivered by the UND coaches: “Move Your Feet.” 

Hours later, the  Fighting Hawks did just that, storming on to the Covid-19-emptied Magness Arena ice and scoring twice in the game’s opening minutes, setting the tone for the night, and smashing Denver in a revenge victory, 5-1, on Jan 18th.

The win lifted North Dakota (10-3-1) into first place in the NCHC, and evened the rivalry season series between the two teams at 2-2, while the Pioneers (5-8-1) had their two-game winning streak snapped, keeping the Pioneers mired in 6th place in the league.

“We knew [North Dakota] would come out with a big push,” said DU Captain Kohen Olischefski after the first period. “We talked about it, but we obviously weren’t ready for it.”


The game was only 18 seconds old when UND’s Matt Kiersted converted a rebound of Jacob Bernard-Docker’s long shot past DU goalie Magnus Chrona for UND’s opening goal.  With Pioneers stunned and obviously rattled, North Dakota pounced again and scored the eventual game-winner about two minutes later when DU failed to clear, and UND’s Grant Mishmash whacked a spinning puck past Chrona in close to make it 2-0, North Dakota. 

The Pioneers never quite recovered.

The Fighting Hawks added a third goal to their lead in the second period when Jordan Kawaguchi fired a wicked 20-foot wrist shot high into the corner of the net at the 3:54 mark on a pretty backhand feed from Mishmash to go up, 3-0, as the Pioneers searched for answers to the UND onslaught. Chrona, who had been hit in the facemask by a hard UND shot seconds before the Kawaguchi shot may have been bothered by his mask position on the Kawaguchi goal.

The Pioneers picked themselves up and dominated the shots-on-goal chart in the second period, 16-9, and certainly had many chances to climb back into the game in the final two periods. However, DU could not convert on any of its seven power-play opportunities in the game, including a two-minute 5-on-3 advantage as part of a 5-minute major in the last eight minutes of the contest. The Pioneers were only able to score once with just 2:55 left in the contest.  DU’s Slava Demin finally beat UND goal Adam Scheel with a wrister from the slot to make the score 3-1 to give DU a slight glimmer of hope, but UND answered 30 seconds later with an empty-net goal by Gavin Hain to quash any chance of a DU comeback at 4-1.

DU outshot North Dakota overall, 33-26, led by Carter Savoie’s nine shots on Scheel, but Scheel shut the door on Denver, as he bounced back from a tough performance in Sunday’s loss to record a 32-save performance for the win on Monday.

DU goalie Magnus Chrona had to leave the game with about nine minutes remaining after being run in the crease by Mishmash, who was ejected from the contest with a charging major.  The extent of Chrona’s injury was not known Monday night . Yale transfer Corbin Kaczperski mopped-up the final nine minutes in goal for DU, allowing UND’s final goal, a power-play marker by Josh Rieger in garbage time with 13.6 seconds remaining for the 5-1 final score.

DU returns to action next weekend at Omaha.

David Carle Postgame


Top photo: Seth McConnell, The Denver Post

7 thoughts on “North Dakota Gets 5-1 Revenge Win over Pioneers”

  1. “Move your feet”. I’ve heard that before. We have lots of upper echelon players. We just don’t play well together. Still lots of hockey to be played. Dunker not as optimistic as usual.

  2. Dissapointing result. After winning the first game, DU had to know that UND would come out flying and they were not ready. DU really needed a sweep to get back into the playoff hunt. Now, DU has a must win series on the road against Omaha. A split is no longer an option unless the team wants to go the Hail Mary route in the NCHC playoffs which is highly unlikely at this point.

  3. The talent level in this league is pretty similar among many of the teams, so the difference between finishing in the top four or not usually comes down to mindset. Here’s my theory of why DU has struggled mentally this year…DU is very process-driven – here is the formula Carle follows, adapted a bit from Jim Montgomery:

    1. Win 55 percent of face-offs
    2. Give up three or fewer odd-man rushes
    3. Win the battle in front of the net
    4. Win the special-teams battle
    5. Don’t take any bad penalties

    The conventional thinking goes that when DU hits most of its procedural process objectives, the wins will follow. That’s a clinical, execution-oriented approach that works well when talented players play the system the way it is designed, but the “proscess” approach doesn’t seem to address the emotional side of the college athlete as well as the execution side. These kids are not robots.

    For example, when a great goalie (from last season) can’t stop pucks early in games this season, the team goes into a mental confidence hole and is forced to chase the game, sapping energy and willpower. It’s just deflating…

    The process also doesn’t seem to address the DU team’s propensity to start slowly in most games, which is a matter of both mental focus and inspiration. When they come out the tunnel fired up, they tend to win. And when they don’t…

    I hope DU can adapt its focus on generating a higher level of emotion and mental toughness as much as process/execution, or this season will be a lost one…

  4. I missed both games against UND, unfortunately, but I was glad DU managed a split. Sounds as though the series was emblematic of DU’s “Jekyll and Hyde” act this year. Really strong in game 1, not so much in game 2.

    Assuming the CC series from two weekends ago is played at a later date, DU has 10 games left in the regular season. 2 with UND, 4 with CC, and 4 with Omaha. I still can’t figure out the direction in which this team is going. It’s a weird season.

    1. I’ve watched the Mismash hit on Chrona several times. Just curious–any comments from Carle and/or Berry on the incident? I do have to give Mismash credit. He’s doing his part to keep this rivalry nice and hot. Too bad this isn’t pro hockey. There would be a handful of dudes lined up to bounce their knuckles off Mismash’s face the next time these teams play.

      To be fair, I don’t find the hit overly egregious. Looking at it in a vacuum, it’s a shoulder to shoulder hit or a shoulder to shoulder/chest/arm hit. No head or neck contact, and it looked as though Mismash was slightly pushed by Lee. Still, Chrona is a goalie. You can’t run a goalie, particularly one standing in his own crease. And Mismash skates well enough to suggest he could have made a much better effort to avoid contact.

  5. Mishmash got a one game, well-deserved suspension from the NCHC today, on top of the game misconduct he received at the time. You just can’t be running the goalie in this day and age. Getting rid of that kind of play is important.

    I don’t think Mishmash was intending to injure Chrona, but I do think he did decide to deliver a drive-by shoulder-shiver to send a message of intimidation that has been part of the North Dakota hockey program’s DNA for many decades.

    Did Chrona embellish it? Perhaps a little, but running the goalie and embellishing the contact are not equivalent crimes. Chrona clearly could see Mishmash coming and braced for impact, but I am sure he thought Mishmash was going to avoid the hit. That said, Chrona left the game injured on the play, which sucks, and we don’t know the extent of the injury and when/if he will be back.

  6. 18 seconds, 18 SECONDS?!! Lay that one squarely at the feet of David Carle. He obviously did NOT have the boys pumped up to play from the opening puck-drop, despite his claims to the contrary. On national TV no less.

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