Rink Report: UND Hopeful to Return to NCAA Tournament in 2018-2019

The Fighting Hawks miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in 16 years

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Tune into any UND hockey game over the last two decades and it probably came as no surprise seeing the green and white prevail.

In fact it was even more shocking to see the Fighting Hawks miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in 16 years.

“If you look back at the year this year it’s not ideal, it’s not what we’re expected to do here at the University of North Dakota,” senior forward Austin Poganski said.

“It was one of those seasons where every time you thought you had it going something would happen where you’d take a step back and then the next time you’re missing something in that game,” head coach Brad Berry added.

Looking back, the Fighting Hawks say it’s all the little things that kept them from their goals this year.

“I thought we were playing really good hockey the last few weekends, but it was just a few games too late,” Poganski said. “I think we had ten or eleven ties this year. If we had one more win out of those it would’ve been huge for us.”

“I think it goes back to day one as far as when you step on the ice knowing that each and every game means something and you can’t let it come down to the very end and hope for other teams to help you,” Berry said.

But if looking for a silver lining …

“You have to take the good with the bad and I think it really resets you,” Berry said. “It really makes you hungry and more focused. This isn’t going to happen again and we have to do everything in our powers to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

And with Rhett Gardner, Colton Poolman and Nick Jones already confirming their return next season, the future of UND hockey remains bright.

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