NorDak pounds Miami in NCHC opener

The first 14 minutes between Miami and North Dakota were scoreless on Friday.

The next 12 were another story.

The Fighting Hawks (6-1-1) scored six unanswered goals in that span en route to a 7-1 blowout win at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

UND found the net three times in a 2:02 window late in the first period to take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission and pumped in three more in the first 6:08 of the middle stanza.

Noah Jordan scored the lone goal for Miami.

RECAP: Jacob Bernard-Docker opened the scoring when he whipped a one-timer home on the short side of Miami goalie Ryan Larkin on a two-man advantage 14:14 into the game.

UND cashed in on the back end of that power play, as an uncontested Jasper Weatherby accepted a centering feed from Jordan Kawaguchi while skating uncontested through the slot and slammed it home to make it 2-0.

Wide-open Collin Adams‘ wrister from the inside edge of the faceoff circle extended UND’s lead to three.

Dixon Bowen gave the Fighting Hawks a 4-0 lead when he went in alone and beat Larkin high to the glove side.

Jonny Tychonick found the net at the 5:35 mark of the second period, chasing Larkin, and he scored again 33 seconds later off Miami backup netminder Grant Valentine to blow it open.

Noah Jordan (photo by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

Westin Michaud skated in from the left wing and beat Valentine far post 2:20 into the third peiod to give North Dakota a 7-0 lead.

Miami (2-4-2) picked up its only marker 37 seconds later when Jordan tipped home a blue line writer from Grant Frederic.

STATS: Miami was held without a power play goal for the fourth straight game. The RedHawks are just 3-for-31 on the man advantage this season (9.7 percent).

— This was MU’s worst loss by goal differential since Feb. 15, 2014. Miami lost 9-2 that night, coincidentally in Grand Forks.

— The RedHawks goal by Jordan was the second of his career.

— Frederic picked up an assist, his first point in nearly two years. His last point came on a helper he earned on Nov. 24, 2017 at Bowling Green.

THOUGHTS: The RedHawks obviously don’t play Red Rover in their down time.

North Dakota, like Team USA last week and others earlier this season, blew through the Miami blue line defense seemingly at will with stretch passes or just an aggressive skater, and the RedHawks have allowed opponents to penetrate their zone seemingly at will.

The Fighting Hawks had cart blanche from high-percentage scoring areas early in this game, and to their credit they buried the puck when presented with opportunities.

For several seasons now this team’s defense has not stood up to NCHC levels, and North Dakota made Miami pay on Friday.

– It was a bizarre first period, with Miami surviving a Category 3 surge by North Dakota in the opening minutes, thanks largely to Larkin, only to get buried later in the period and early in the second.

Larkin deserved a better fate than a 12-for-17 line on shots faced, but he didn’t help himself or the team with any crucial saves.

– Valentine was 9 of 11 in relief but shut down a breakaway and was very good overall. The first shot he faced was a wrister from the blue line that pinballed in the slot and snuck in the far side.

LINEUP CHANGES: Forward John Sladic missed his first game of the season. He has played well and has given maximum effort all season, so it’s likely his departure from the lineup is injury related.

Christian Mohs dressed in his place after sitting the last three games.

Ben Lown is out with a lower body injury and was replaced by Carter Johnson, in the lineup for the third time this season.

FINAL THOUGHTS: It was certainly a forgettable loss, and hopefully Miami won’t retain it in its memory banks, because while no reasonable person expected the RedHawks to win an NCAA championship this season, this team isn’t this bad.

Miami has had success in recent seasons vs. North Dakota, including in the REA, so hopefully RedHawks can rebound from this loss.

Preview: Miami at North Dakota

Miami opens its conference schedule this weekend, and coach Chris Bergeron makes his NCHC coaching debut in arguably the most hostile environment in college hockey.

The RedHawks will face North Dakota in a two-game set in Grand Forks two weeks after going 1-0-1 in their first two road games of 2018-19 at Colgate.

But while Colgate is No. 43 in the PairWise and owns a .313 winning percentage, UND has lost just one game and is ranked sixth in the PairWise and No. 10 in the poll.

A look at this weekend’s series:

WHO: Miami RedHawks (2-3-2) at North Dakota Fighting Hawks (5-1-1).

WHEN: Friday – 8:37 p.m.; Saturday – 8:07 p.m.

WHERE: Ralph Engelstad Arena (11,640), Grand Forks, N.D.

ALL-TIME SERIES: North Dakota leads, 14-7-3.

MIAMI RADIO: Both games – WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.

NORTH DAKOTA RADIO: Both games – KQHT-FM (96.1), Grand Forks, N.D. (flagship).


NOTES: North Dakota’s early success can be attributed to its tenacious defense.

The Fighting Hawks are first in the NCAA in goals allowed per game (1.43) as well as average shots against (17.29).

The shots against stat, as well as goalie Adam Scheel’s .917 save percentage – which is very good but not proportionate for a team giving up fewer than 1½ goals per game – shows how good the UND defense has been in front of its netminder.

Scheel has played every minute in net for UND this season, recording a shutout and holding five of seven opponents to one goal or fewer.

North Dakota’s blueline corps is led by senior Colton Poolman, who has played 121 games and notched 15 goals and 47 assists.

Jacob Bernard-Docker and Jonny Tychonick are both sophomore Ottawa draftees, and Andrew Peski, Matt Kiersted and Gabe Bast all have multiple seasons of experience for UND on the back end.

North Dakota has generated plenty of offense as well, scoring 27 goals in seven games, or 3.86 per contest.

Despite that output, no Fighting Hawk has more than three markers, with 16 players finding the scoresheet.

Seniors Dixon Bowen and Colorado College transfer Westin Michaud have identical 3-1-4 lines, tied for the team lead in goals.

Jordan Kawaguchi leads the team in points with seven, scoring twice and posting five assists.

Freshman Shane Pinto, another Senators selection, has two goals and three assists, and New York Islanders selection Collin Adams is 2-3-5.

In addition to Bowen and Michaud, forwards Harrison Blaisdell (Winnipeg), Cole Smith, Grant Mismash (Nashville) and Mark Senden all have four points.

Ryan Larkin (photo by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

Despite their offensive success, the Fighting Hawks are just 2-for-25 (8.0 percent) on the power play. They have been outstanding on the PK though, killing penalties at a 95.2 percent clip.

Ryan Larkin has played in five of Miami’s seven games this season, and with him recording a shutout in the finale at Colgate, he appears the likely starter in Friday’s series opener.