COLLEGE HOCKEY: Jones, North Dakota down Miami 4-1
GRAND FORKS -- There may be one downside to Nick Jones.
The University of North Dakota hockey team doesn't get to have him for four years.
"But you know what?" UND coach Brad Berry said. "We'll make the most of the two we have, right?"
Jones continued the impressive start to his UND career by scoring a pair of goals, drawing a power play that created a third goal and leading the Fighting Hawks to a 4-1 win over Miami on Friday night, Nov. 10, in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Jones, who transferred to UND from Ohio State after spending a year and a half in juniors with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League, now leads the team in goals with five and is second in points with nine.
All five goals and nine points have come in the last six games.
Jones has multi-point games in four of the last six games and is one of the top 10 scorers in the nation during that span.
"When he was in the BCHL, when he went back to junior from college, he was used on the power play and in high offensive situations," Berry said. "He was a vital force in the BCHL. We knew that. We also knew he was an unbelievable two-way player. But scoring goals, that's always something he's had in his bag."
Berry said he knew Jones could contribute in a number of ways immediately.
"When you have someone coming new into your organization and having success like he's having, sometimes that's surprising," Berry said. "But he's an experienced guy. He's already been to college and went back to junior and has that experience. He's invested in his game in whatever he does -- whether it's in the weight room or on the ice for practice -- before or after -- he invests in his game. So, there's no surprise there."
Jones helped spark a UND (7-2-2 overall, 2-1 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) team that was outplayed by a speedy Miami squad in the first half of the game.
UND generated just four shots on goal during the opening period -- and just one at even strength.
But as a holding penalty to Jones expired, UND defenseman Colton Poolman flipped a puck down the ice. It happened to land directly in front of the penalty box as Jones stepped out and he carried it to the net on a partial breakaway.
Jones protected the puck on his backhand, carried it across the top of the crease and scored on Miami goalie Ryan Larkin (22 saves) with his forehand as he was falling down.
"He's real good in shootouts," said UND goalie Peter Thome, who stopped 27 shots in his third start for the injured Cam Johnson. "I hate going against him in practice. He's real crafty, so I figured there was a good chance that one was going in the net."
Later in the period, defenseman Gabe Bast -- a junior teammate with Jones last season in Penticton -- connected with him on a long pass to send him on another breakaway. On this one, Jones drew a hooking penalty and UND scored on the ensuing power play.
Shane Gersich zipped into the zone on the left side with speed, circled the net and tried a wraparound. Miami goalie Ryan Larkin made the save, but kicked the rebound to Rhett Gardner, who made it 2-0.
The Fighting Hawks added to the lead before the end of the frame when rookie forward Grant Mismash held the point after a strong shift, sliced through the middle of the zone and snapped a shot from the high slot. Larkin made the save, but Jones slid a backhand in the net at 18:07 for his second goal of the game.
Karch Bachman ruined Thome's bid for a shutout early in the third when he buried a rebound at 7:26, but Mismash tacked on a fourth UND goal during a goal-mouth scramble.
"I thought the second and third periods, we played really well," Thome said. "That (first) goal definitely kick-started everything."
Notes: UND senior forward Trevor Olson (upper body) and sophomore forward Ludvig Hoff (upper body) both missed their third game in a row. . . UND's regular public address announcer Darrin Looker was out of town. Josh Jones, who used to serve as the UND women's hockey public address announcer, filled in.