Showing posts with label Connor Gaarder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Connor Gaarder. Show all posts

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Years End and My UND Men's Awards

In a season that looked like we were going to be where Miami ended up this season, this group of guys showed the NCAA you don't need an explosive goal scorer to have success.

Even though the season ended in a heartbreaking fashion, this UND team has a solid base for the future ahead.

Now for my team awards. I will be giving out awards for my team MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and this years Unsung Hero.

So here we go. For my team MVP, I give it to a kid who has battled in every single game he has played this season. I consider him the backbone of this very hard working team. My MVP is goaltender Zane Gothberg. Gothberg ended his season with a 1.99 goals against average after going on one of the most impressive runs a UND goaltender has put on in quite some time. He always seemed to be there to answer the bell whenever he was called upon to do so. I have a feeling many people will be agreeing with me on this one that Zane Gothberg is the most deserving for team MVP this season.

My Offensive Player of the Year isn't going to be quite as easy to pick out. There are a couple of deserving players on this team to earn this title. However, I am giving this award to Michael Parks. Parks has proven himself in every single game and has very few flaws to his game. He always goes hard on the forecheck and battles hard in the corners. It is also very hard to knock Parks off of the puck and especially inside the offensive zone. The master of the wrap around tallied up 30 points this season, and looks to be a team leader next season. Michael Parks is my Offensive Player of the Year.

For my Defensive Player of the Year I go with the obvious choice in Dillon Simpson. He was the Ryan Suter comparison for UND this year playing the big minutes and in important situations for this team. Along with his ability to block shots better than almost anyone in the NCAA, Simpson is also one of the best puck movers on the blue line as well, which is why coach Hakstol had him running things there on the power play. Dillon Simpson is the easy choice, for me, for Defensive Player of the Year.

For my ROY I go to another defenseman, and Grand Forks native, Paul LaDue. LaDue's highlight game of the season probably came in their 9-2 victory over Miami when he was an outstanding +6 on the game. LaDue also would be one of the top freshman in +/- this season, and his opponents would find it hard to score whenever he was on the ice. LaDue is looking to be a leader on the blue line for UND for the years to come making it easy for me to pick him as ROY.

Finally for my Unsung Hero. I'm sure you all can guess where this one is going. This walk-on laid it out on the line for every shift he was able to play giving it 110%. He would always make a play that seemed to get the guys fired up at key times, and either set up, or score, goals at key times in games. I give this to Edina, Minnesota's Connor Gaarder. The junior was on fire down the stretch run and into the playoffs. Gaarder would score the game winner against Western Michigan in the NCHC third place game, which ultimately sent them to the NCAA tournament. Gaarder would also score the 2OT winner against Ferris State to send UND to their 20th Frozen Four and 6th in their last 10 seasons. Gaarder could have been the poster child for this team because his play is North Dakota Hockey to a tee.

Well another season gone and another season of a lot of success, but still no big one for coach Hakstol. I see nothing but bright things in the future for this program and next season should be a fun one that's for sure.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Porter Wraparound or Gaarder 2OT Winner?

Ok UND fans, I need your help on this one. Which game winning goal was bigger in your opinion?

First we have the 2007 West Regional championship goal scored by Chris Porter. Porter scored the goal at 11:43 of the first overtime against none other then the hated Minnesota Golden Gophers. This would send the Sioux to the Frozen Four to face Boston College.

Now we have the most recent Connor Gaarder 2OT winner against Ferris State last weekend. This goal sent UND to their 20th Frozen Four in school history and the sixth one for head coach Dave Hakstol. Gaarder took the loose puck out front and shoved it five hole on the Hobey Baker finalist Motte to win the game for the good guys.

Let me hear your vote UND fans. Either comment your response here or send them to my Twitter handle @siouxhockey33. I know you all will have an opinion on this.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Connor Gaarder

Lets just take a quick glance at Connor Gaarder at UND.......
2011: Came on as a freshman walk on from Edina, Minnesota fighting for a roster spot.
2012: Sophomore season records first Hat Trick in NCAA career against Boston University
2014: Junior season scores the GWG against Ferris State in double OT to send UND into the Frozen Four

I'd say for a walk on, this kid has scored some pretty impressive goals, and pretty big goals at that. Not only does he score big goals, but when Connor Gaarder scores, he seems to do so in bunches.
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Connor Gaarder game winning goal - GIF


s/t to @cjzero What a night of hockey eh?

Gothberg and Gaarder lead team to Frozen Four


Like most UND hockey fans, I am still trying process what happened this past weekend. I don’t think that many saw this coming. Especially after they started the season 4-7-2. Since December 1, 2013, UND has been on a tear and gone 21-6-1 (.768). That's one of the best records in college hockey during that time span.

Before leaving the Wednesday press conference, Jayson Hajdu told me that UND would be playing in two weeks. "There will be a press conference next week." Maybe we should re-name him Carnac the Magnificent.

No one in the blogosphere really gave UND much of a chance to win the Midwest Regional. When I saw that UND was playing Wisconsin in the Midwest Regional semifinal game, I felt there was a “good chance” UND could advance to the Midwest Regional final. Ironically, there are a lot of similarities between last year’s Yale team and this year’s UND team. UND was the last team in the NCAA tournament, so was Yale. The Bulldogs beat a one-seed and a two-seed. Ditto for UND.

The winning goalie after the game...

“Growing up, you hear about North Dakota hockey and it is just tradition,” UND sophomore goalie Zane Gothberg said. “It’s something we take pride in practice or in games. A lot of it starts with the coaching staff instilling that level of competition and pride. It feels great and all of our hard work has gone for a good cause.”

On scoring the game winning goal.

“We were scrumming in the corner and it just came to a point out there,’ junior forward Connor Gaarder said. “I knew I had to get to the net. The rebound came right to me and kind of just slid it in there.”

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

NCHC Hockey: Connor Gaarder checks in with the fifth best goal of the week



North Dakota junior forward Connor Gaarder's scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season on Friday night, leading UND past Saint Cloud State 5-2. For his efforts, Gaarder checks in this week with the fifth best goal in the NCHC.  Gaarder has (5g-7a—12pts) in 32 games this season. Gaarder’s five goals is a career high for the junior from Edina, Minnesota.   
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Saturday, November 03, 2012

North Dakota bites Terriers 4-2.

Originally posted at the Hockey Writers - Combine.

Grand Forks, ND – Earlier this week, Ben Rosen tweeted upon arriving in Grand Forks, “just landed in North Dakota… nothing out here but 4 points.”  That’s not going to happen because UND took game one from the Terriers 4-2.

After the game Rocco Grimaldi was asked about the tweet in question.
“I don’t know, I guess they can say what they want, Grimaldi said.  “Obviously, it’s a little added motivation, I know I retweeted it because it’s something that I look at – we all saw it – we want four points – so obviously I wouldn’t want any of our guys on our team saying that. That’s what social media does, you can say things you want and get blasted for it and I know how that goes, it’s not that big of deal and he can say what he wants I guess that’s fine.”

It had been a long time since the University of North Dakota had last played BU in Grand Forks.

How long you ask?

The last time the two teams played a series at the “old” Ralph Englestad Arena in Grand Forks; Chris Drury was a member of the Boston University Terriers (December 26th & 27th, 1996).

UND would go on to win 6-4 and tie 2-2 against the Terriers in an exciting two game series.  The two teams would play again during the final game of the 1997 NCAA Frozen Four where UND would again win 6-4.

Since the 1996-1997 season UND has a 3-2-1 record against the Terriers.

Make that 4-2-1 after UND’s win tonight.

Over the fifteen year period, UND and BU played to some great games along the way and tonight was no different, as the game was a hard fought contest from start to finish.

Boston University came out of the gate pretty hard and took the play to UND and got a lot of chances early. The Terriers took an early lead on goal by Danny O’Reagan at the 16:52 mark of the first period.

UND junior goalie Clarke Saunders would keep UND in the game as BU was pressing and he made some big saves when UND needed him to early in the game.

After coughing up an early lead, sophomore walk-on forward Connor Gaarder would go on a tear as he started the scoring for UND early in the second period at the 01:11 mark.

But Gaarder wasn’t done – he scored two more goals – one more in the second period and then added the game winning goal in the third period after BU freshman Ahti Oksanen (Kirkhonummi, Finland) had tied game in the second period on the power play with a goal while UND was killing a five minute power play.

 That was all the scoring that the Terriers would get as the UND forward kept the Terriers pinned in their own end.

If you had over looked or are unfamiliar with Connor Gaarder, he is a walk-on player that committed to UND after J.T. Miller de-committed from the University of North Dakota during the 2011 summer. Last season, Gaarder played in 33 games for UND and scored  (4g-6a—10pts). This season, Gaarder is off to a great start and is second on the team in points with (3g-2a—5pts).

During the postgame press conference, Connor Gaarder came out holding onto a Vancouver Canucks hat that was thrown on the ice by one of the 11, 589 fans after the scored his third goal of the game.

“I got my pick of one hat, so I got that here and I will see if I like any others,” Gaarder said. “I got this for Knighter [Corbin Knight], I probably give that to Knighter… he is a big Canucks fan.”

This was Connor Gaarder’s take on getting a hat trick in tonight’s game.

“It felt good,” Gaarder said. “BU is a great team, nice to get the win tonight, it was a big battle and were looking forward to tomorrow night and we’re going to have to match the intensity.”

UND head coach Dave Hakstol was impressed with his walk-on’s effort tonight.

“He’s a good hockey player,” Hakstol said.  “He goes to those hard areas – he’s not the only one that played a good hockey game tonight – but obviously he was a key player – that’s the type of player he is, he’s just a hockey player – he’s a gritty kid that goes to those greasy areas. Coming off of probably not his best game Saturday night he had a good week of practice and he carried it over to a good game tonight.”

UND also dodged a bullet when they had to kill a five minute major penalty that lead to BU’s power play goal. Head coach Dave Hakstol said that he was pleased that they only gave up one goal on the five minute major to Captain Andrew MacWilliam.

BU head coach Jack Parker thought that his team took too many penalties and it wore them down.

“Really exciting game obviously,” Parker said. “There was a lot of great chances. I thought the penalties wore us down as the game progressed. We got the five minute major on the power play and I got the feeling some of the calls might go the other way for them once they gave us a five minute major. I thought we just had to kill too many penalties the game winning goal was on a five on three; they had other really good chances though too. I thought as the game progress we got a little tired, it seemed to me a couple of time we killed penalties on them, just as the penalty was over we got our fifth on the ice or sixth skater on the ice and we never got out of the zone for another thirty seconds or forty seconds we really struggled with that so we made a couple of mistakes with the pucks that kept them alive and kept them alive and that kind of just wore us out. We didn’t generate much offense the second half of the game.”

The same two teams play tonight, but only one team has a chance at “4” points.