College Hockey: UND’s Slow Friday Night Starts Continue to be it’s Achilles Heel

UND fell to Union College 4-1 last Friday

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — UND Hockey turned a lot of heads and shocked a ton of fans last weekend, but not in a good way.

The Hawks walked away from their series against unranked Union College winless. Even worse than that, UND’s Friday night contest was described as a “clunker of a performance”. The team says the issue was their slow start.

“I think the biggest thing is, we’ve been saying it for a few weeks, is our starts especially on Friday nights,” Defenseman Cole Smith said. “We learned the hard way on Friday that if we don’t come to play right from the drop of the puck that we’re going to have trouble. Chasing from behind isn’t the way we want to play.”

And Smith’s right. This has been a reoccurring issue for the Hawks all season long. The team’s offensive production on Friday nights is lacking. They’ve scored just 18 goals in their 8 Friday contests in comparison to the 33 goals they’ve scored on Saturday nights this season.

So what’s the solution?

“I think the biggest thing is the mental preparation, making sure that you’re ready to go,” Head Coach Brad Berry said. “I mean you’re playing in the Ralph Engelstad Arena. You hung a national championship banner two years ago. It doesn’t take much for the other team to get up and you got to make sure that you match it or exceed that play of the other team early in the game.”

“I think it’s about everyone just having a little bit of emotion and taking pride in what this building is and what it means to the community,” Defenseman Colton Poolman added.

“I think we got to come out and play with emotion,” Smith said. “Last Friday I think we kind of just came out a little dead there and then just getting our emotions into the game right away and getting a good start is going to be huge.”

UND will look to make those adjustments this Friday against Western Michigan. The Hawks and the Broncos take the ice at 7:37 p.m.

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