Watchable Wildlife checkoff on state tax form

North Dakota citizens with an interest in supporting wildlife conservation programs are reminded to look for the Watchable Wildlife checkoff on the state tax form.
The state income tax form gives wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to support nongame wildlife like songbirds and birds of prey, while at the same time contributing to programs that help everyone enjoy all wildlife. The checkoff – whether you are receiving a refund or having to pay in – is an easy way to voluntarily contribute to sustain this long-standing program. In addition, direct donations to the program are accepted any time of year.
To learn more about Watchable Wildlife program activities, visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

OUTDOORS CALENDAR

Saturday – Devils Lake Volunteer Fire Dept. Fishing Derby, Six-mile Bay, Devils Lake.
Feb. 2 – New Town Chamber/Parshall Van Hook Ice Fishing Derby.
Feb. 2 – Harvey Wildlife Club Ice Fishing Derby, Goose Lake, 399-9042.
Feb. 9 – Douglas Sportsman’s Club Ice Fishing Derby, North Carlson Lake, 529-4889.
Feb. 16 – Bis-Man Reel & Rec Ice Fishing Derby, Lake Audubon, 7:00 a.m., 214-9832.
Feb. 19 – Full moon, 9:55 a.m.
Feb. 22-24 – Wild Outdoor Women, Lake Metigoshe State Park, 263-4514.
Feb. 23 – Spring Light Goose opener (proposed).
March 2 – North Dakota Bluegill Championship, Lake Metigoshe.
March 15 – Bobcat season closes.
March 15 – Mountain lion late season closes, Zone 1.
March 16 – Badlands Bass Bandits Ice Bowl, Nelson Lake.
March 20 – Full moon, 8:44 p.m.
April 13 – Spring Turkey opener (proposed).
April 13 – Maple Sugaring Day, Ft. Stevenson State Park, 9 a.m.-3p.m., 337-5576.
April 19 – Full moon, 6:13 a.m.
April 27 – ND Sport Fishing Congress Annual Banquet. Bismarck AMVETS, 223-3093.
April 27 – Badlands Bass Bandits Tourney, Lake Tschida, 6:30 a.m.

Defense lifts Bison women over UND for first series win in Division I era

By Jeff Kolpack
Forum News Service

FARGO — North Dakota State put a screeching end to several years of women’s basketball frustration against the University of North Dakota. The Bison shut down the Fighting Hawks with some good old-fashioned defense in beating UND for the first time in the Division I era.
The 69-57 win before 1,810 fans at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex ended eight straight UND wins and was NDSU’s first over the Hawks since 2004. The teams did not play each other from 2005-11.
“It feels good, it means everything,” said Bison center Emily Dietz, from Fargo Shanley. “Coming into this game, being from North Dakota, you have a lot of pride in your school and it was a good win.”
The win improved NDSU’s overall record to 6-12, but more importantly evened its Summit League record at 3-3. The Bison moved ahead of the Fighting Hawks (3-4) in the standings.
“I think everyone was a rock star in their roles,” said Bison forward Michelle Gaislerova. “Coach always talks about it, be a rock star in your role. Everybody did their job.”
Gaislerova’s job was scoring. She was 5 of 6 from 3-point range and finished with 17 points. NDSU was especially solid in the second and third quarters, turning the fourth quarter into more of a victory parade.
“We’ve grown so much as people, we trust each other, we play together and that creates a better atmosphere,” Gaislerova said.
It wasn’t a smooth afternoon at the outset for the Fighting Hawks. Head coach Travis Brewster took a time out just 1 minute, 23 seconds into the first quarter, an ominous sign that saw the Hawks drop their third straight game and fall to 8-12 overall.
“We have to get better and we have a short amount of time to do that,” Brewster said. “We’re kind of in a funk right now and we have to fight our way out of it.”
The rest of the quarter went fine for UND, but the Bison asserted themselves in the second quarter outscoring the Hawks 25-17. It led to a 40-34 halftime advantage with NDSU a sharp 4 of 7 from 3-point range and 6 of 6 from the free throw line.
That crispness didn’t last. Not to be outdone by Brewster’s early time out, NDSU head coach Maren Walseth called for one of her own 57 seconds into the second half. It worked. The Bison stopped an 8-0 UND run with seven straight of their own and never looked back.
“I just said I don’t know what happened to you guys but change it,” Walseth said. “With an older group growing together, they were able to take that harshness and immediately change it. I was pleased with how they responded.”
Heading into the final 10 minutes, NDSU led 54-43.
The Bison held UND leading scorer Lexi Klabo in check, with Klabo drawing her fourth foul early in the quarter. Meanwhile, Dietz’s three-point play with 6:31 remaining gave NDSU its largest lead at 62-47.
“I think Emily over the course of this season, just seeing her grow and gain game experience,” said NDSU head coach Maren Walseth. “We thought she was going to get one-on-one coverage and we encouraged our posts to take their time and do what comes easy. Don’t make it overly complicated.”
Dietz was solid all day underneath finishing with 16 points and 7 rebounds. The 6-foot-3 sophomore was part of a stout defensive effort on Klabo, who finished with 11 points on 3 of 10 shooting.
The country’s leader in free throws made was 5 of 6 from the free throw line.
“We knew she was a good, veteran player,” Dietz said. “And we talked constantly in practice about being physical with her and making her uncomfortable. We had to make sure to contain her because she is such a great player.”
That’s part of the game, Klabo said, noting that her team needs to adjust to that style of play. It was the last game in her hometown for the senior from Fargo Davies, admitting the loss was disappointing.
“Yeah, but we have to learn from it and keep going on,” Klabo said. “It’s a long conference season and there’s a lot left to play. We get to play them at home as well.”

UND 17 17 9 14
NDSU 15 25 14 15
UND (8-12, 3-4 Summit): Morton 5-8 3-3 13, Orth 0-1 3-4 3, Dooley 1-2 0-0 2, Strand 0-4 0-0 0, Klabo 3-10 5-6 11, Dailey 3-7 2-2 8, Leet 3-4 0-0 7, Jarnot 1-1 0-0 2, Reinke 1-3 2-4 5, Fleecs 3-6 0-0 6. Totals: 20-46 15 19 57.
NDSU (6-12, 3-3 Summit): Nudell 2-7 0-0 5, Gaislerova 6-10 0-0 17, Spencer 2-5 0-0 4, Fernandez 1-4 2-2 4, Dietz 6-11 4-7 16, Zivaljevic 2-8 2-2 6, Rimdal 3-5 1-1 8, Kvilvang 1-1 2-2 4, Voegeli 2-2 1-2 5. Totals: 25-53 12-16 69.
Total fouls: UND 18, NDSU 16. Fouled out: Klabo. Rebounds: UND 29 (Morton 5); NDSU 28 (Dietz 7). 3-point goals: UND 2-9 (Orth 0-1, Klabo 0-1, Leet 1-2, Dailey 0-2, Reinke 1-1, Fleecs 0-1); NDSU 7-13 (Nudell 1-3, Gaislerova 5-6, Fernandez 0-2, Zivaljevic 0-1, Rimdal 1-1). Assists: UND 8 (Morton 4); NDSU 14 (Nudell, Zivaljevic 3). Turnovers: UND 18 (Morton 5); NDSU 13 (Fernandez 4). A-1,810.

Keep fish caught deep

A push to encourage open-water anglers to keep fish caught from deep waters should carry over into the ice fishing season, according to the State Game and Fish Department. Catch-and-release fishing, no matter the time of year, is discouraged for fish caught in 30 feet or more of water because fish reeled in from those depths have a greater chance of dying if released.
Fish caught in deep water won’t likely survive because of the extreme change in water pressure, which causes the swim bladder to expand. Fish can no longer control their balance in the water column when this happens. Other internal injuries, such as rupturing of organs and bleeding, are also likely for fish caught from deep waters.
Devils Lake ice anglers commonly catch yellow perch in 30-45 feet of water during the winter months. This practice also translates to other deep water bodies around the state. Game and Fish recommends that anglers targeting fish in deeper water make the commitment to keep what they catch. And once they reach their limit, anglers should stop fishing at that depth to avoid killing more than their limit of fish.

Nonresident any-deer bow licenses

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will have 607 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2019. Applicants must apply online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications are not available. The deadline for applying is March 1.
Up to five hunters can apply together as a party. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. Any remaining licenses after March 1 will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
The number of nonresident any-deer bow licenses available is 15 percent of the previous year’s mule deer gun license allocation. The Game and Fish Department issued 4,050 mule deer licenses in the 2018 deer gun license lottery.

Bison men fight to the finish to knock off rival UND

FARGO — The old reliables were present on Saturday, Jan. 19, when North Dakota State hosted the University of North Dakota in men’s basketball. A festive crowd. The Fargo-Moorhead Acro Team at halftime. A recognition of a Bison national football title. And a fight to the finish.
The Bison held on in the final 12 seconds to take a 67-65 win before 4,232 fans at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex. NDSU remained almost invincible at home with its eighth win in nine games in Fargo. The Bison leveled their Summit League record at 3-3 and are 9-11 overall.
They found two money players in the second half. Junior forward Deng Geu made key plays down the stretch and 6-foot-6 freshman forward Sam Griesel finished with 9 points and 11 rebounds in his first taste of the rivalry.
“Going into this game, I heard a lot of stories of the UND and NDSU games,” Griesel said. “Obviously I knew it was going to be pretty crazy. I was impressed by the crowd and how loud they were and that really helped us.”
It was the first game between the two rivals as conference foes since 2004, when both were members of the Division II North Central Conference. Not much separated the two on the scoreboard all game.
“Rivalry game, it’s what we want, right?” said UND head coach Brian Jones. “Heated. Not always pretty. Both teams gritty and fighting and clawing for everything. Both teams didn’t exactly shoot it well, but we just competed. That’s what you want from these games.”
Geu’s inside hoop with 1:32 left gave the Bison a 67-65 lead. After a defensive stop, Geu’s hustle on the offensive boards after a Cameron Hunter miss kept the ball in NDSU’s hands with 43 seconds left.
“Play of the game,” Bison head coach Dave Richman said of Geu’s effort. “As good as he was at scoring (Geu led NDSU with 15 points), when you’re playing a conference game, it’s not going to come down to something fancy. It’s an energy-effort thing.”
NDSU, however, turned it over with 22 seconds remaining. UND took time out 10 seconds later to set up its attempt to tie, or win it with a trey.
The plan, Jones said, was for guard Marlon Stewart to take the ball to the hole, either score or draw a foul. With the rangy Griesel guarding him, however, Stewart opted for a pull-up 3-point shot with six seconds left. It hit the rim and bounced into teammate Conner Avants’ hands. His put-back attempt was off.
“The place was rockin, which helped a lot,” Griesel said. “In those moments, it’s important to stay poised and stay with what got you there.”
The Bison victory ended five straight games in the series in which the visiting team won. The loss dropped UND to 8-12 overall and 2-5 in the Summit. Stewart had 14 points to lead the Hawks, but he was also 3 of 16 from the field.
NDSU finished with one of its better defensive efforts of the season holding UND to 38 percent field goal shooting.
“One of our weaknesses has been finishing games out,” Geu said.
Each team took turns taking control in the first half. The Hawks sprinted to a 15-3 lead. NDSU responded in the last 10 minutes to take a 35-34 halftime lead.
It remained tight for the first 10 minutes of the second half. The Hawks had narrow leads starting from that point until Geu tied it with a dunk at 63-63 with 4:20 remaining.
Griesel’s hoop tied it at 65 with 3:06 left. NDSU held the Fighting Hawks scoreless from that point.
“Down the stretch, we had to make shots and make plays and we failed to do that,” said UND guard Billy Brown.

With no seniors, Bison turn to junior Shahid for leadership

FARGO — The intensity meter for the North Dakota State men’s basketball team is expected to take another step forward Saturday afternoon. The University of North Dakota comes to town for the first conference matchup between the two schools since 2004.
Make no mistake, Bison head coach Dave Richman said, anytime NDSU and UND hook up it’s a bigger game. It’s the type of game that is normally made for senior leaders.
Problem for the Bison is they have no seniors.
It’s why junior college transfer Vinnie Shahid is all the more valuable in his first year playing at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex. He was voted a team captain despite being a first-year player in the program.
“I was surprised a little bit,” Shahid said, “but I knew coming in this is what they expected of me. That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life is leading — in high school, during college and now here.”
Shahid was a Minnesota all-state player at Hopkins leading the Royals to a 31-1 record and a 2016 state title. He played two years at Western Nebraska Community College averaging 18.4 points and 4.8 assists as a sophomore.
Slowly over the years, NDSU lost players who would have been seniors this year. Center Spencer Eliason chose to enter medical school and forward Dylan Miller left the team after last season. Guard Khy Kabellis transferred two years ago.
NDSU is one of nine teams in Division I basketball that doesn’t have a senior.
“We’re definitely a pretty young group and it shows at times,” Shahid said. “Definitely there is some leadership that needs to be taken place with this group.”
For instance, the Bison led Denver by six point at halftime on Wednesday on the road. The Pioneers blitzed NDSU in the second half to win going away.
The 8-11 Bison are 7-1 at home, 0-7 away and 1-3 on a neutral court.
It makes the UND game all the more important. The Hawks also come in 8-11 and are 2-4 in the Summit League to NDSU’s 2-3. The Bison have four straight road games after Saturday.
“It comes down to being mentally tougher than our opponent and on the road we tend to lack that a little bit more than we do at home,” Shahid said.
UND comes in with a similar resume with a 2-7 road record. On the other hand, the visiting team in this series has won the last five games. All were non-conference games, however.
The Bison welcomed back a pair of injured players recently in guard Cameron Hunter and guard-forward Sam Griesel, who has started the last two games. Hunter is normally one of the first guards off the bench.
“We’re not quite as far along as I had hoped because of two key injuries,” Richman said. “That said, I do feel like we’re seeing progress and moving in the right direction.”
Shahid made reference to a lake in January as to how far is away from taking another step.
“If there’s a piece of ice that is right ‘here,’” he said, using his hand to simulate a sheet of ice, “I would say we’re right under the ice on where we want to be. We’re getting that mental tough version of ourselves to break through that ice to get to where we want to be.”

Time for separation: UND, NDSU basketball in a similar place ahead of rivalry game

(FNS) — The University of North Dakota and North Dakota State men’s basketball programs are in a similar place.
They both feature rebuilt lineups, hold identical 8-11 records and are hoping to climb up from the bottom half of the Summit League standings in the second half of the season.
In fact, for years not much has separated these two programs.
Since 2000, UND and NDSU have played each other 20 times.
The teams are 10-10 against each other in that span. In Grand Forks, the record is 5-5. In Fargo, the record is 5-5.
Fans can likely expect a tight finish in the 293rd meeting between UND and NDSU on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex in Fargo.
The game, which dates back to 1905, will be the first meeting between the two teams as Summit League foes and first as conference opponents since 2004.
NDSU plans to honor the football program’s national championship on the court on Saturday, as well.
“We’re going to have to battle things outside our control like honoring a national championship team,” UND coach Brian Jones said. “If we’re not dialed in and gritty, it’s going to be a long afternoon for us.
“(The Bison) are very disciplined in what they do, so we’re going to have to tighten some things up but still try to play our style of ball.”
The Fighting Hawks beat NDSU 86-77 in Fargo last year. UND returns the top two contributors in that game as Marlon Stewart had 20 against the Bison and Conner Avants had 17.
NDSU’s big pieces from a year ago, however, were seniors. In the loss, NDSU’s Paul Miller scored 27 and A.J. Jacobson added 18.
Instead of relying heavily on Miller and Jacobson like a year ago, the Bison workload is pretty evenly balanced this season.
Tyson Ward leads the way with an 11.8 points per game average, followed by Deng Geu (11.7), Vinnie Shahid (11.2), Rocky Kreuser (10.6) and Cameron Hunter (8.0).
NDSU’s struggles this year have been tied to defense, where the team is one of the worst in the country at field-goal percentage defense (47.3 percent).
UND is coming off a 78-74 loss to Summit League preseason favorite South Dakota State, where Jackrabbits star Mike Daum went off for 34 points and 21 rebounds.
Like the Bison, UND doesn’t have a dominant scorer. Starters Cortez Seales (12.8 ppg), Avants (12.4) and Stewart (11.6) are the top scorers, while Aanen Moody (10.0) and Filip Rebraca (8.4) provide a punch off the bench.
“I’m kind of new, but I’ve heard about this rivalry and I’m expecting a good, tough game,” said Rebraca, a freshman from Serbia. “Hopefully, we can go down to Fargo and get a win. We desperately need one. I’m excited about it.”
The Hawks’ play has improved in the second half of the year with the return of Stewart, who was academically ineligible the first half of the year.
Against the Jacks, Stewart scored 19 points — all in the second half. He sat most of the first half with foul trouble.
The junior, a Creighton transfer, is now averaging 18.4 points per game in nine career games against teams in the Summit League.
The only North Dakota native to play in the game will be Moody, a redshirt freshman sharpshooter. Since the start of league play, Moody has scored at least 18 points three times.
The Dickinson, N.D., product is the only in-state player on UND’s roster, while NDSU’s only in-state player, Moody’s former prep teammate Jordan Meidinger, is out for the season. The redshirt freshman 7-footer was ruled out in October with a torn ACL.

UND goalie Scheel learned how to shoulder a heavy workload with Penticton

GRAND FORKS — When the Penticton Vees hit the stretch run in the British Columbia Hockey League last season, they repeatedly started goaltender Adam Scheel.
Scheel made 19 starts in the span of 51 days — an average of one start every 2.68 days.
The move paid off.
Scheel went 15-3-1 in those starts as his injury-plagued Vees team charged past Vernon in the standings to win to a division championship.
The University of North Dakota hockey team is hoping for a repeat this season.
With sophomore goalie Peter Thome out longterm with an upper-body injury, Scheel is about to shoulder a heavy workload down the stretch for the Fighting Hawks.
Scheel, a rookie from Lakewood, Ohio, is the only healthy goalie on the roster with college experience.
His backups are senior walk-on Ryan Anderson, who has only appeared in exhibition games to this point, and freshman walk-on Harrison Feeney, who was just added to the team roster this week.
“Nothing changes,” Scheel said. “You come to the rink every day and you work your hardest. You prepare for the weekend. It’s the same as every week. It’s a tough circumstance for Peter being injured, but it could be a good opportunity for me. I’m just trying to make the best of it.”
The heavily workload shouldn’t bother Scheel after his experience last season.
Even if he starts every game the rest of the regular season, it would be 14 games in 51 days — an average of one start every 3.64 days. That’s far less than what he did a year ago.
“It was a good experience,” Scheel said of playing in Penticton. “I think it was the first time I’ve ever rolled like that and played a lot of games. It was a good experience all around.
“A lot of times, it’s about what you do off the ice — recovery, stretching, doing what you have to do with the trainer.”
Prior to Penticton, Scheel spent two years with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. Dylan St. Cyr, now at Notre Dame, started the majority of games over Scheel in both of those seasons with the U.S. Under-17 and U.S. Under-18 teams.
Scheel could have gone to school in the fall of 2017 like most of his NTDP teammates, but he decided to spend one more year in juniors.
“Sometimes, patience is the best thing to do, and that’s what Adam did,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “Getting to go to Penticton and being the guy and playing 60-plus games and going deep in the playoffs, that experience is very beneficial. Now, (Scheel) has to rely on it going forward with us.”
Scheel has been sharp this season for UND, starting 16 of the team’s 21 games. Among rookie goaltenders, he ranks second nationally in wins (10), second in goals-against average (1.97) and fifth in save percentage (.907).
He has some big wins under his belt, too, including ones over No. 3 Denver, No. 5 Minnesota Duluth, No. 6 MSU-Mankato and rivalry victories over Wisconsin and Minnesota.
“He doesn’t get too high, he doesn’t get too low,” Berry said. “He’s very composed and calm in the net. He has a lot of confidence with the puck, playing the puck. Whether we’re up or down in games, there’s not a variance or panic or nervousness. He remains even-keeled and makes big saves at big times.”
Feeney arrives in Grand Forks
New UND goalie Harrison Feeney arrived in Grand Forks on Tuesday night, Jan. 15, and has already started to acclimate to his new surroundings. Itt is unlikely he will make the trip to Omaha for this weekend’s National Collegiate Hockey Conference series, though.
“He seems to be a really good guy,” Scheel said. “He seems comfortable already. A lot of the older guys are doing a really good job bringing him in and showing him the ropes. We’re just going to make him part of our group here.”
UND was originally recruiting Feeney to replace the graduating Anderson next season, but the Fighting Hawks bumped up the timeline because of Thome’s injury.
“We’ve watched him extensively,” Berry said. “We were planning on bringing Harrison Feeney in to replace Ryan Anderson at the end of the year when his eligibility will be exhausted. We not only like the way he plays, but we like his character. To be in that position that Ryan Anderson is in, that (Feeney) is going to fill, you have to be a special person and check a lot of boxes. He did.”
Although his junior team, the Lone Star Brahmas of the North American Hockey League, is losing its starting goaltender midseason, the Brahmas were supportive of Feeney’s move.
“We are incredibly proud of Harrison,” Brahmas owner Frank Trazzera said in a statement. “He has been an exemplary leader on and off the ice for our team and we have no doubt he will continue to excel. We are looking forward to watching his continued success as his career progresses.”

UND goalie Thome injured; Hawks to bring in new goalie immediately

GRAND FORKS — University of North Dakota sophomore goaltender Peter Thome is out longterm with an undisclosed injury and UND will bring in a new goaltender immediately to help give depth to the position, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
Thome was injured last Thursday, Jan. 10, in practice and missed last weekend’s series against Colorado College. He isn’t expected back soon.
Instead of sticking with the remaining two goaltenders — freshman starter Adam Scheel and senior walk-on Ryan Anderson, who has yet to play in a regular-season game — UND will bring in another goalie to help balance workload in practices and to provide insurance in case another goalie goes down with an injury.
Harrison Feeney of the Lone Star Brahmas of the North American Hockey League is expected to drive from Fort Worth, Texas, to Grand Forks today to join the team. He has been accepted into the school.
UND plays a two-game series at Omaha on Friday and Saturday. It seems unlikely — though not impossible — that Feeney will make the trip. The Fighting Hawks are scheduled to leave for Omaha on Thursday.
Feeney, a 6-foot-2, 213-pound goalie from Lafayette Hill, Pa., is having an outstanding season for Lone Star. His .931 save percentage ranks third in the NAHL and his 2.05 goals-against average ranks fifth. He was named the NAHL’s player of the week for his division Monday.
“Harrison has stuck with the process of development and has been getting better every week,” Lone Star coach Dan Wildfong said in the NAHL’s release. “He has been one of our best players all season long and this weekend was a great example of that. He has been a great leader on and off the ice.”
Feeney, 20, is in his second season with Lone Star. He briefly spent time in the United States Hockey League during the 2016-17 season.
UND was already recruiting Feeney prior to Thome’s injury as a possible replacement for Anderson, who will graduate this spring. Feeney previously made a visit to UND’s campus.
This isn’t the first time UND has added a goalie during the middle of the season in recent years.
In 2001-02, then-coach Dean Blais brought in Josh Siembida at semester time to compete with UND’s struggling goalies. Siembida started 11 games in the second half of that season and spent one more season at UND before transferring to Quinnipiac.
During the 2007-08 season, UND picked up Brainerd, Minn., goalie Landon Snider out of the student population to fill the third goalie role after backup Anthony Grieco left the program midseason. Snider did not return the following year.
During UND’s 2015-16 national championship season, UND coach Brad Berry added Anderson to the goalie mix in late September after goalie Matej Tomek’s recovery from offseason surgery was set to keep him out during the first semester.
That ended up being an adept move as starter Cam Johnson was injured during the second week of the season. Anderson was quickly thrust into the backup role behind one-time third-string goalie Matt Hrynkiw.
Anderson, of Roseau, Minn., has stuck as the team’s popular third goalie since then. He’s now in his fourth year with the program.
Scheel has emerged as UND’s No. 1 goalie, starting 16 of 21 games for UND this season. He has posted a 10-6-1 record with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.
Thome was an experienced sophomore, having started 11 games last season and five this season. The Minneapolis product struggled in the first half (1-3, 3.75 goals-against average, .838 save percentage), but put together a terrific performance in the team’s first action after Christmas, an exhibition against the U.S. Under-18 Team.
Thome stopped stopped 17 of 18 shots in 16:16 against the U18s.
“The first half, personally, probably didn’t go the way I had wanted it to and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth,” Thome said after the exhibition. “So, having a good first outing is definitely a step forward and hopefully there’s more to come.”
Thome’s rebound control was excellent in the exhibition.
“That just goes back to a confidence thing,” Thome said. “Instead of just worrying about making the save, you’re confident you’re going to make the save. So that becomes: ‘Where do I put this puck?’ It’s such a mental position that when you don’t really have confidence, it seems like everything’s going wrong. And when you do have confidence it seems like you can do no wrong. I’m just trying to get back to that state.”
UND is trying to make a second-half push to get into the NCAA tournament. The Fighting Hawks currently sit at No. 23 in the Pairwise Rankings and are 11-9-1 overall. They’re coming off of a sweep of Colorado College in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
UND’s next five series are at unranked Omaha, home against No. 2 St. Cloud State, at No. 3 Denver, at No. 10 Western Michigan and home against No. 5 Minnesota Duluth.