Carey, Saints hammer UND
GRAND FORKS — The University of North Dakota players had a meeting after Friday night’s 5-2 loss against St. Lawrence in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Captain Dillon Simpson didn’t relay the message, but it’s safe to say that it wasn’t pleasant.
“We’ll keep that in the room,” Simpson said. “But guys are upset in there. Guys are disappointed in the effort we had tonight.”
One game after UND threw 58 shots on goal in a game at Boston University, it returned home and fell flat in front of a Thanksgiving weekend crowd of 10,681 fans that didn’t have much to cheer for as UND dropped to 4-7-2 overall.
In the 10 games since upsetting then-No. 1 Miami, UND is just 2-7-1 and has run its winless streak to four games. It’s UND’s worst 10-game stretch under coach Dave Hakstol and the worst since going 1-7-2 in the second half of the 2002-03 season.
St. Lawrence, 8-5-2, never trailed and used four special teams conversions to win in Grand Forks for the first time in program history. Greg Carey, the nation’s leading scorer, lived up to his billing by racking up four points (one goal, three assists) and extending his point streak to 10 games.
UND, meanwhile, couldn’t keep up.
“Disappointing,” Simpson said. “We didn’t come out the way we wanted to. Didn’t play the first 40 (minutes) the way we should have. We have to have a better effort tomorrow.”
Hakstol had a simple explanation for Friday’s game.“Not a very good performance by our team,” he said.
It started on special teams. St. Lawrence scored on three of its first four power plays to build a 3-1 lead in the second period. The Saints also held UND to one power-play goal in nine chances, including a five-on-three for 44 seconds.
“We didn’t do very much in the first two periods,” Hakstol said. “We tried to mount a little push in the third, but it wasn’t enough.”
Simpson said the team needs a better effort.
“We have to have short shifts, guys putting it all on the line, playing with a little more pride and a little more passion,” the captain said.
UND’s goals came from junior Connor Gaarder and freshman Keaton Thompson. Thompson’s goal came at 4:36 of the third period and cut the Saints’ lead to 3-2. UND had the five-on-three power play after that, but was not sharp.
It started by losing a draw, which eliminated half of that time. Then, Luke Johnson inadvertently flipped a dump-in into the netting for another whistle. Soon, it was over.
Shortly after that, St. Lawrence netted a back-breaker, when Carey beat Clarke Saunders (20 saves) five-hole from the slot.
“We lost a lot of faceoffs on special teams on both sides,” Hakstol said. “That didn’t start with the five-on-three power play. That was pretty consistent throughout the game. That’s the first 50-50 battle of a hockey game and the start of a shift. We didn’t win very many of them.”
With three forwards out due to injury — Mark MacMillan, Derek Rodwell and Colten St. Clair — there aren’t a lot of options for lineup changes for the series finale, but Hakstol said to expect some.
“Probably,” he said. “It’s not about that. It’s not about who is in or who is out. The lineup tonight competed very well (in Boston last Saturday). So, it’s not about that. Will you (see changes)? You’ll probably see some changes. We’ll likely make a change or two.”
And UND has to hope that’s enough to change its fortunes.
“The fact is we did not carry any of that momentum forward into our building,” Hakstol said after racking up 58 shots against the Terriers. “That’s the black and white fact.”
Notes: UND used the same lineup as last Saturday except for starting Saunders in place of Zane Gothberg. . . Carey now has 28 points in 15 games to lead the country. . . UND registered five shots in its nine power-play chances. . . In the last six games, opponents are 11 for 36 (30.6 percent) on the power play against UND.