(GRAND FORKS, ND) — The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team opened up the 2021-22 regular season with a two-game sweep of the Niagara Purple Eagles at Ralph Engelstad Arena, as the arena celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Friday: UND 6, Niagara 2
Friday night was a night for the making as the Fighting Hawks scored six unanswered goals, en route to a 6-2 win in the regular season opener for the Fighting Hawks.
It only took a little over three minutes for the team to find the back of the net, as Matteo Constantini set up Ethan Frisch, who sent one home, making it 1-0 UND. Then, just four-and-a-half minutes later, Riese Gaber found Jake Schmaltz, who found an open spot and increased the lead to 2-0. Ashton Calder would extend the lead to 3-0 less than 10 minutes later, scoring his first of back-to-back goals.
Calder would make it 4-0 just 3:57 into the second period on a pass from Jackson Kunz.
UND made it 5-0 with just under three minutes left in the second period, when Judd Caulfield found Jake Sanderson.
The rout continued five minutes into the third, when Gaber found Tyler Kleven, a Fargo native, for his first goal of the season.
Shane Ott and Ryan Naumovski scored goals for Niagara in the latter part of the third.
Zach Driscoll stopped 18 of 20 shots faced for his first win as a Fighting Hawk.
Saturday: UND 4, Niagara 0
The Fighting Hawks looked to sweep the Purple Eagles Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena, and sweep they did, as they downed Niagara 4-0 in the second game of the regular season.
It took just 1:09 into the first period for the Fighting Hawks to get on the board, as Schmaltz scored his first of two on Saturday night on a pass by Caulfield.
Schmaltz made it 2-0 at the 6:28 mark of the second period, when Chris Jandric fed him on a man-advantage. Schmaltz made a move and increased his point total for the season.
Jake Sanderson pulled the Fighting Hawks ahead even further with a pass by Connor Ford. Sanderson found the net for his second goal of the season at the 11:43 mark of the second period.
Riese Gaber finished the scoring late in the third period on a power play goal with 2:59 to go.
Driscoll picked up his second straight win, stopping all 18 shots he faced.
UND will now take to the road next Friday for a home-and-home series against the Bemidji State University Beavers. The Beavers will host UND on Friday night, and the Fighting Hawks will host Bemidji State on Saturday night.
Friday night’s face-off is set for 7:07 p.m., while Saturday’s game will be held at 6:07 p.m.