Overtime goal hands UND rare home loss in Ralph Engelstad Arena
The Fighting Hawks battled back after giving up three first-period goals, but lost in the extra session.
Just 88 seconds into Saturday night's game, Brad Berry called a timeout.
The UND coach huddled the team on the bench and spoke. Above him, the scoreboard read 2-0 Bemidji State.
"That was a critical time to reset your team and get back into sorts again," Berry said.
It was an unsightly start for a team that entered the night with wins in 31 of the last 33 home games, and it ultimately led to a rare Ralph Engelstad Arena loss.
The Fighting Hawks battled back to send it to overtime on two goals by Ashton Calder and one by Riese Gaber, but Bemidji State's Ross Armour got behind the UND defense and roofed a shot from in tight on goaltender Zach Driscoll to give the Beavers a 4-3 victory in front of 11,314 fans.
With that, Bemidji State joined Omaha as the only teams to beat UND at home since March 2019.
"In college hockey, you're playing against really, really good teams and you have to play a 60-minute game," Berry said. "It's critical to have a good start to gain momentum in the game, just because you want to try to sustain that. If you have to play catch-up hockey, it just throws you off."
UND has been pretty good at playing catch-up hockey, though.
The Fighting Hawks have only pulled their goalie at the end of four of the last 27 games. All four times they scored an extra-attacker goal. Once, UND scored twice with the extra attacker.
That happened again Friday night with UND trailing 3-2.
In the final 30 seconds of regulation, freshman Jake Schmaltz centered a pass from behind the net to Calder, who snapped his second goal of the game five-hole on Beaver goalie Michael Carr.
"A lot of emotions, obviously, in a building like this," said Calder, who has four goals in three-career games in The Ralph.
That goal will end up being valuable for UND.
The game goes down as a loss, but in the Pairwise Rankings, Bemidji State gets 55 percent value of a win, and UND gets 45 percent. That's closer to a tie (50-50) than a regulation decision (100-0) in the formula that's used to select and seed the NCAA tournament.
"It's good to know guys are battling all the way until the end," UND captain Mark Senden said. "That's going to come in handy down the road at the end of the season."
In three-on-three overtime, UND started with puck possession, but didn't generate any good looks on the initial shift. Defenseman Jake Sanderson had the puck in the offensive zone and put a low percentage shot on net from beyond the faceoff dot while UND's forwards changed.
Bemidji State caught UND in that line change and Armour got behind Judd Caulfield and flipped a shot high glove side.
"Sometimes, when you play a lot of minutes, you try to put a puck on net, just because the overtime principles are sometimes just get pucks to the net," Berry said. "But there's got to be some traffic there, guys going to the net, to have a productive opportunity. We gave up possession, we didn't have very good coverage on the change, they got a lane to the net and made a play. We're proud of the way we battled back and got the equalizer late, but we have to learn from this going forward and we will."
UND (3-1) has marquee nonconference games the next two weekends.
The Fighting Hawks play at unbeaten Quinnipiac in Hamden, Conn., next weekend. Then, they go to Nashville to play the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game against Penn State.
The emphasis in those games will be starting fast.
Although UND won Friday night's game at Bemidji State 4-3, it fell behind in the first period 1-0 and got outshot 14-7 in that frame. On Saturday, it was more of the same as the Fighting Hawks trailed from the game's first minute.
"We're a good team, but give them credit," Calder said. "Bemidji State's a good team. They come out hard. They start hard every game. We showed we could play really well, especially in the last two periods. We've just got to start better. Obviously, we gave up two right away in the first minute and a half. You can't spot teams, especially a team like that, two or three goals right away in the first period. If we clean that up, I think we'll be really good."
UND is now 31-3 in the last 34 home games. Two of those three losses have come in overtime.
"That was definitely not the start we wanted," Senden said. "You can't let that happen in college hockey. You always have to start fast and have a good start. That's not what happened tonight. We kind of came out slow and it came to bite us there at the end. But I'm proud of how the guys battled back the entire game. I'm really proud of how we battled all the way to the end. It was unfortunate there in three-on-three, but I'm proud of the way we battled back."