Grand Forks, ND – The Huskies have been good on Friday lately and it was no different on Friday, February 3 as they upended host North Dakota 3-1 at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, ND. Sophomore netminder Jeff Smith got the job done once again stopping 96% of the shots thrown at him in this crucial league win.
Grand Forks native Jacob Benson had the honor of being announced as a starter in front of the announced sellout crowd of 11,682 and he responded in a less than hospitable way scoring SCSU’s first goal 11:25 into the first period. Benson (Wahlin) picked up his 8th goal of the season on a very bad angle shot from the right wall that got by UND starter Matt Hrynkiw for a 1-0 SCSU lead. In a period even in shots on goal at 7-7, UND had the edge in grade A opportunities but Jeff Smith held his ground as he’s done the last three Fridays.
The Huskies extended their lead in period two on Jimmy Schuldt’s 4th goal of the season at 6:05 of the second session. Schuldt (Jackson | Newell) fielded a pass at the blue line and sent a low shot that beat Hrynkiw for a 2-0 SCSU lead. Schuldt’s goal turned out to be the game-winner. The Huskies were outshot 12 to 7 in period two and SCSU spent a fair amount of time fending off the Fighting Hawks attack in the SCSU zone late in the period but again, Smith turned aside everything thrown at him.
The Fighting Hawks finally got on the board in period three following an interference penalty to the Huskies Will Borgen at 6:46. After killing off a minute and a half of the man-advantage UND finally beat Smith on a rebound shot by Tucker Poolman in a scramble in front of the SCSU goal. But, it didn’t take the Huskies long to respond as SCSU scored just 28 seconds later off an odd-man rush with Robby Jackson, Ryan Poehling and Patrick Newell leading the charge. Newell fed Jackson who wristed the puck towards the net and it deflected off the face mask of Ryan Poehling into the UND goal. Poehling was credited with his 6th goal of the season and Patrick Newell picked up his team leading 18th assist. The Fighting Hawks attempted a push with an extra attacker for the final two minutes but were unable to generate enough sustained pressure to make a comeback. Judd Peterson narrowly missed the empty net with seconds remaining as the Huskies held on for the 3-1 win.
Jeff Smith was strong once again goal stopping 28 of 29 North Dakota shots to even his record at 7-7-0. Matt Hyrnkiw who got the start in place of Cam Johnson, turned aside 16 of 19 SCSU shots on goal in a losing effort. His record falls to 1-3-0. The Huskies were 0 for 2 on the power play while North Dakota was 1 for 3. With the win, SCSU evened its overall record to 13-13-1 and conference record to 7-9-1. The win moves the Huskies into a tie for fifth place with Omaha and leaves SCSU one point back of North Dakota for fourth place.
The two teams return to the ice on Saturday at 7:07 PM to conclude the weekend series.
Stars of the Game: Jeff Smith (SCSU) Jimmy Schuldt (SCSU) Robby Jackson (SCSU)