Trevor Olson's sacrifice fuels UND's 5-1 win over Bemidji State
BEMIDJI, Minn.—University of North Dakota players filed out of the locker room at Sanford Center on Friday night, Jan. 12, after a 5-1 win over Bemidji State.
As Trevor Olson made his way into the hallway, teammates gathered around to see his battle scars.
Olson, a senior assistant captain from Duluth, scored an empty-net goal for his first of the season, but it was his play in the defensive zone that sparked the Fighting Hawks in the series opener.
Olson had a team-high three of UND's 15 blocked shots. At least two of those blocks forced Olson to struggle to his own bench.
But once there, the Fighting Hawks celebrated Olson's efforts.
"We can expect that from him every game," said Austin Poganski, who had two goals against BSU. "He's laying out his body. He took one off the head last game. The guy's been crazy. It's things like that that gets the guys going. It comes back to doing the right things and getting rewarded."
With UND's deep group of forwards, coach Brad Berry has been forced to make tough lineup decisions every weekend.
That isn't lost on the decision-making process of Olson.
"To be honest, the big conversation this week was fighting for a spot in the lineup," Olson said. "If that's what I've got to do to be in the lineup, that's what I'll do. I saw a couple of opportunities to step in front of big shots and I did so.
"It's fun to do when you come back to the bench and everyone is hooting and hollering. That's why I do it. That's what it takes to win games."
Berry couldn't agree more.
"Blocking shots is contagious," Berry said. "When guys do that on a consistent basis, other guys buy in. Blocking shots is so important in winning games."
Olson was rewarded in the third period when he scored an empty-netter from the neutral zone to ice the win.
"Oh my God, it feels great," Olson said. "I had one (chance) early on in the second from Cole (Smith). I wish I could have it back. I owe him one. But it was nice to get the first one off your back."
Nick Jones, who scored twice, said it was fitting for Olson to finish off the scoring.
"He's a leader in our dressing room," Jones said. "He brings the boys together. Last weekend, he blocked one with his face. He's that kind of guy."