Grand Forks, ND – For a team that has had its share of offensive challenges this season, the Huskies ended their season in a 6-5 overtime shootout Saturday with North Dakota at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, ND. Call me an optimist, but despite the loss that ended the season it was a preview of some future good things to come for the Huskies. First-year forward, Nick Poehling scored twice as did sophomore defenseman, Jon Lizzotte and sprinkled in between was a goal by sophomore and assist leader Patrick Newell. In all, underclassmen had a potent night on offense scoring all five goals and a total of eight points in the game. Certainly a good thing to build on for next season. Unfortunately for the Huskies, it was their sixth overtime loss since January 1st and 8th loss on Saturday during the same period. They concluded the season with an overall record under .500 at 16-19-1 and in the process miss an opportunity to defend their Frozen Faceoff Championship next weekend in Minneapolis and they snapped a four-year streak of participating in the NCAA tournament.
With their back against the wall, the Huskies duplicated the Fighting Hawks effort from the Friday game – or so it seemed. Nick Poehling (Widman | J Poehling) scored his second goal of the season at 15:11 deflecting a shot from the point by Nate Widman for a 1-0 SCSU lead. It appeared that the Huskies added a two-goal margin to their lead with 1:54 remaining in the period when Robby Jackson scored battling in a scrum in front of the net. However, a review of the play indicated the Huskies had too many players on the ice waving off the goal and a lengthy review also tacked on an unsportsmanlike penalty to Blake Winiecki. The net result was a two-goal swing after UND’s Austin Poganski scored a power play goal to tie the game at 19:16 of the first period. The Huskies were outshot 13-9 and rather than a 2-0 lead the game was knotted at 1-1 after one period.
A boarding call to UND’s Cole Smith placed the Huskies on the man-advantage just thirty-four seconds into period two. But, the advantage backfired when Tyson Jost beat Jeff Smith with a shot from the left circle off a two on one for a short-handed goal 19 seconds later. Patrick Newell (Jackson | Winiecki) tied the game once again on his 4th goal of the season at 8:46. Jackson made a nice play feeding Newell from the back wall and he beat Cam Johnson with a shot from the bottom of the right circle to knot the game at 2-2. The shootout progressed when the Fighting Hawks Brock Boesser scored his 15th goal of the season at 10:37. Boesser who was parked on the side of the SCSU goal, jumped on a rebound off a shot by Rhett Gardner and tapped it in for a 3-2 UND lead at the end of two periods. UND outshot the Huskies 17 to 11 in the period.
Next, it was Grand Forks native Jon Lizotte’s (Storm | Wahlin) turn to take over the game as he netted his third goal of the season at 7:11 of period three. Lizotte battled hard in the high slot and wristed a shot through traffic that beat Johnson to tie the game at 3-3. But, UND responded once again when Blake Winiecki lost the puck in an attempt to circle high in the UND zone giving UND a two-man breakaway with Shane Gersich beating Smith one-on-one stick side for a 4-3 UND lead. Lizotte then scored his second goal of the game and 4th goal of the year a minute later on an unassisted effort. Lizotte jumped on a loose puck between the top of the circles and picked the top left corner of the net to tie the game at 4-4. Next it was Nick Poehling (unassisted) with his second goal of the game at 13:16 to give the Huskies a one-goal advantage at 5-4. Poehling cut across the top of the slot and unloaded a wrist shot that beat Johnson glove side. However, North Dakota responded once again at 15:58 with a goal by Christian Wolanin. Wolanin unloaded a shot from the blue line that appeared to have been deflected on the way to net and past Smith. But, the defemseman was awarded the goal which tied the contest and sent the game to overtime.
UND ended the game and the Huskies season at 7:38 of overtime on a deflection by Trevor Olson. UND forward, Johnny Simonson threw the puck on goal from the side wall and Olson was able to get his stick on it and deflect it over Jeff Smith for the game-winning goal and a 6-5 win for the Fighting Hawks. This was UND’s second overtime win and 5th win of the season vs the Huskies.
UND outshot the Huskies 5 to 3 in the overtime session and 41 to 35 for the game. SCSU goaltender Jeff Smith stopped 35 of 41 shots on goal in the loss ending his season record at 10-13-0. UND’s Cam Johnson turned aside 30 of 35 shots on goal while earning the win and improving his record to 19-11-3.
With the series sweep, North Dakota advances to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff next weekend at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
Stars of the Game: Trevor Olson (UND) Jon Lizotte (SCSU) Tyson Jost (UND)