St. Cloud, MN – The Huskies will look at this game and see lots of opportunities wasted as they skated to a 2-2 overtime tie with North Dakota at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on Friday. The Huskies squandered six man-advantage opportunities including two 5X3 power plays allowing North Dakota to escape with a tie and ultimately a shootout win to move into a tie for first place in the NCHC with the Huskies. In this game, the Huskies third-ranked power play was shut down by UND’s eighth-ranked penalty kill and that was the difference in the game. It was a cat and mouse contest with both teams trying to capitalize on mistakes with both goaltenders making some outstanding saves and both with a little luck on their side in this classic battle.
Period one was fairly evenly matched with opportunities on both ends of the ice. The Huskies were given two consecutive man-advantage opportunities in the first period but couldn’t capitalize on either as the positionally sound Fighting Hawks withstood the potent power play of the Huskies. North Dakota also failed on a late period power play as well as the squads skated to a scoreless first period. UND outshot the Huskies 12-10 in the period.
The Fighting Hawks found themselves in penalty trouble in period two being whistled for four penalties in the first 8:21 of the period. This included handing the Huskies two 5X3 advantages but the Huskies were unable to take advantage and really struggled to get anything going on any of the power plays. Easton Brodzinski (Newell | Fitzgerald) finally got SCSU on the board with an even strength goal at 11:31. Parked in front of the North Dakota goal Brodzinski somehow tipped a puck in traffic off a shot by Patrick Newell from just outside the right circle. This was Brodzinski’s fifth goal of the season. With Judd Peterson and UND goaltender Cam Johnson penalized for roughing Rhett Gardner knotted the game at 1-1 with his fourth goal of the year at 15:16. Again, in a tightly contested period punctuated by stellar penalty killing by UND the Fighting Hawks outshot the Huskies 9-8.
Ryan Poehling jacked up the SCSU faithful with an unassisted goal at 6:15 of period three on a lone break. Poehling cut up the middle of the ice and outskated the UND defenders and beat UND’s Johnson with a backhand shot for a 2-1 SCSU lead. However, North Dakota who battled hard all night despite quite a bit of adversity tied the game once more on a goal by Cole Smith at 9:14. Regulation ended with the game tied at 2-2 and the Huskies outshooting UND 13-7.
The overtime session found the Fighting Hawks on the power play, only their second of the game after a holding call on Robby Jackson 2:08 into the session. But, the Huskies withstood the challenge and skated out the balance of the period with a 2-2 tie.
The extra 3X3 session of also found the teams skating to a scoreless session despite a man-advantage opportunity for SCSU. In the obligatory shootout for the extra conference point, Jake Wahlin was stopped on his shootout attempt but Christian Wolanin buried his opportunity for the shootout win. The tie gives the Huskies an overall record of 11-2-1 and a NCHC conference record of 6-2-1. North Dakota lifted themselves to a tie in the NCHC standing with the shootout win and their record stands at 10-4-5 overall and 5-2-2 in the NCHC.
Without editorializing I think coach Motzko summed it up appropriately by commenting ” you get into the silly shootout…for the fans and we lose a (conference) point and that hurts”.
Stars of the Game: #1 Wolanin (UND) #2 Brodzinski (SCSU) #3 R Poehling (SCSU)