UND defenders do the heavy lifting against Colorado College – The Rink Live
GRAND FORKS – Ethan Frisch is used to playing a lot.
The junior UND defender from Moorhead averages about 23 minutes a night for the Fighting Hawks.
But he and the rest of the blue liners had a whole new experience in UND’s two-game sweep against Colorado College last weekend.
Due to Jake Sanderson’s absence from the Olympics and an injury to Brady Ferner, the Fighting Hawks entered the weekend with six defensemen available. That number quickly dropped to five when Cooper Moore was sent off eight minutes into the weekend for contact with the major in chief. Moore was then suspended for the series finale.
This meant heavy burdens for the other five.
Frisch played 30 minutes and 57 seconds on Friday, eclipsing his previous season record by more than four full minutes, as UND clung to a 3-2 win over Colorado College.
On Saturday, the other four defensemen – Chris Jandric, Tyler Kleven, Luke Bast and Brent Johnson – all recorded season highs in ice time in UND’s 4-0 victory.
The workload was a particularly big jump for Bast and Johnson, a pair of rookies who have played limited minutes this season. Bast played 10 minutes longer than his average; Johnson played nine more.
“It was fun,” Johnson said. “Obviously at the start of the season I didn’t play a lot. I was just waiting for my chance and we had a few injuries this weekend, unfortunately, and he’s the next player. So I was excited to get in and gain experience, that’s for sure.”
Bast said, “At the end of the day, it’s an opportunity and you just have to take it and roll with it.”
Johnson, who has often been the seventh defenseman, said he is working to stay ready for an opportunity like this weekend.
“I’m just a competitive person,” he said. “I always want to win. I’m motivated by that stuff.”
Not only did Johnson eat minutes, but he also scored his first college goal in the second period on Saturday, netting a point shot through a screen and past Colorado College goaltender Dominic Basse.
“I will remember it forever,” Johnson said.
Johnson didn’t even see the puck go in.
“I just shot it, a guy fell on top of me and I just saw the crowd get up and the horn sounded,” Johnson said. “So I thought he walked in, obviously.”
His teammates were delighted to see him.
“I was excited,” goaltender Zach Driscoll said. “I can’t remember if I raised my hand or not, but he’s a great boy and he’s worked hard all season. He hasn’t necessarily seen the other guys’ minutes, but he’s a very good player. I was really, really happy for him to see that come in.”
It’s not just the forwards who have to adjust their game when they’re short on players.
UND’s fifth-year senior center Connor Ford said the forwards also made slight changes to their style knowing the Fighting Hawks were shorthanded at fullback.
“We’re trying to get pucks fast, not have too much fun with it over there in defensive end so we can go the other way and the forwards can carry the load and do the heavy lifting. said Ford. “Other than that, it’s the same thing, the same North Dakota hockey.
UND defender time on the ice vs. CC
|Defender||Average of the season||Friday||Saturday||Sum of the weekend|
|Chris Jandric||21:58||26:36||11:50 p.m.*||54:26|
* Indicates the high ice time of the season