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MILLER: UND power play whiffs against Colorado College

UND's Andrew Peski and Colorado College's Trevor Gooch collide during the first period Friday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

The Ralph Engelstad Arena trotted out an inflatable blimp to float around the complex Friday night for the first time in years.

The aerial attraction might have been more entertaining to watch than UND's power play in a 4-2 loss to Colorado College.

The Tigers entered the NCHC series with the worst penalty kill in the country, coming into the weekend clipping along at a 73 percent success rate.

Colorado College did UND a favor, gifting the Fighting Hawks with six power-play opportunities, taking 10 penalties for 20 minutes.

The Fighting Hawks, however, put up a goose egg with the man advantage.

"It's a challenge sometimes when guys are in and out of the lineup, but we practice a ton, so it's not a surprise when you get on there," UND coach Brad Berry said. "It's about keeping it simple, moving pucks fast and getting pucks to the net ... a good net front—all the staples you have to do on a consistent basis."

UND did put 15 shots on net during the six power plays but couldn't get one past Tigers goalie Alex Leclerc, who finished with 34 saves.

"I think it goes back to what kind of shots are they," Berry said. "If you have quality shots with a net front ... but if you're shooting with no one in front ... I think it's about the quality of shots. We need to make some adjustments."

UND's power play looked like a unit in desperate need of a pair of key contributors—defenseman Gabe Bast and center Nick Jones.

Bast missed his fourth-straight game with an injury, while Jones has been sidelined for three.

Jones and Bast are tied for third on the team in power-play points with five each.

"We had good power plays and had bad power plays," UND defenseman Christian Wolanin said. "It's about creating momentum and creating shots and making them panic a little bit. We had certain power plays where we were all over them but the puck wasn't going in.

"We also had some power plays where we weren't making crisp passes and getting shots through. We have to find a way to do the little things right, and we'll get better results."

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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