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A destination game dud in Las Vegas – The Rink Live




LAS VEGAS – The Vegas Strip is supposed to be the place for big performances and shows under the bright lights.

UND has no place on Saturday.

The Fighting Hawks delivered a failed destination game in T-Mobile Arena, losing 3-2 to Arizona State in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game.

The crowd of 15,503 – almost all dressed in green – enjoyed themselves in the opening 10 minutes as UND took a 2-0 lead on goals from Gavin Hain and Jake Schmaltz.

But fans, who traveled from at least 43 different states and seven different countries, spent the next 50 minutes groaning as the Fighting Hawks conceded three straight goals to Matthew Kopperud, Lukas Sillinger and Robert Mastrosimone, while struggling to generate anything. .

“We have to identify with who we want to be,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “Do we want to be a cohesive team with an attacking mentality? Or do we want to be a team that’s up and down and inconsistent? We have certain things that we need to understand here and make sure everyone is on the same page Tonight we left a lot on the table.

UND traveled to Vegas on Thursday with the intention of making it different from last year’s destination game, when it lost to Penn State in Nashville.

The Fighting Hawks had a more reserved itinerary this time around, trying to stay away from pre-game fan festivities. They said all week that it was going to be a business trip.

But none of that worked.

After winning destination games against Clarkson in Winnipeg (2012), Omaha at TD Ameritrade Park (2014), Boston College at New York’s Madison Square Garden (2016) and Minnesota at Las Vegas’ Orleans Arena, the Fighting Hawks now have lost consecutive matches. to two newcomers to the college hockey scene.

Saturday’s performance was even more lethargic than last year in Nashville.

Playing against an Arizona State that started the weekend allowing an average of 37.2 shots on goal per game, UND managed just 15 shots on Sun Devils goaltender TJ Semptimphelter.

In the third period, while leading by one goal, UND went almost 18 minutes without registering a single shot on goal.

“We have to be better in a lot of different areas and we have to address that,” Berry said. “In order to win games – it doesn’t matter who you’re playing – everyone has to bring their A-game. It’s a situation where some guys aren’t playing their best. Guess what? Half your team isn’t going win you a game. It has to be everybody together.”

UND fell to 3-3-1 this season as they continued to be an unpredictable team.

At times, the Fighting Hawks easily generated an attack. UND have scored three goals in less than five minutes in half of their first six games. At the same time, he has now gone 10-minute stretches without a single shot on goal in back-to-back games, while building a lead in five consecutive games.

“Guys spread out and we weren’t supporting the puck either,” Hain said. “There were a few missed passes in the neutral zone. You can’t really play in the offensive zone if you don’t play as a group.”

UND rarely pressured Semptimphelter in the back half of the game until he pulled keeper Drew DeRidder (18 saves) for an extra striker.

“In order to play against a team that locks it down defensively, you have to make sure you’re playing together and you’re on the same page,” Berry said. “We crossed the neutral zone and we missed two or three passes. Execution has to be better to play in the offensive zone. I thought our execution wasn’t as good tonight.”

Arizona State, which won the Ice Vegas tournament at T-Mobile Arena five years ago, is now 3-0 in the building.

“It’s obviously a benchmark win,” Arizona State coach Greg Powers said. “We had some really great wins. But with this environment, against this team, against this great program, in front of their fans who are amazing – hats off to them for traveling here and making it such a great environment – it’s a benchmark victory of the program. It really is.

UND opens National College Hockey Conference play next week in Omaha.

“As a team we have to come together and play as a team,” Hain said. “We need to unite and be on the same page.”

As for destination games, there will now be a break.

The UND schedule for 2023-24 is already set and it is close to finalizing 2024-25 without a destination game. Because the UND is unlikely to get the Hall of Fame Game two years in a row — it will play Providence in Grand Forks in 2024 — it may be at least 2026-27 before that happens again.

“We want to thank (our fans) for coming,” Berry said. “It was not the result we wanted tonight.”

Remarks: UND played without injured defender Luke Bast and injured forwards Dane Montgomery and Carson Albrecht. Forward Ben Strinden was injured in the first half and did not return. UND’s extra skater was a defender, so the Fighting Hawks couldn’t fill his spot on the fourth line.