Grand Forks, ND – Ryan Poehling scored twice including the overtime game winner and David Hrenak stopped 29 of 32 shots on goal as SCSU defeated UND at Ralph Engelstad Arena on Friday, March 2. Hrenak made a number of game-saving stops on goal in the first period turning aside all 15 shots on goal to allow the Huskies to withstand an early onslaught in a back and forth game.. Poehling, on the other hand, had perhaps his finest game of his early career scoring the go-ahead goal in period two on a crazy stick move and then out muscling his opponents in a strong shift in overtime to score the game-winner for the #1 ranked Huskies. SCSU is now undefeated in their last six road games and have improved their overall record to 22-6-5 ( 16-4-3 NCHC). They maintain their #1 Pairwise ranking heading into their final regular season game of the season.
The game started out as expected with North Dakota pushing the play and clearly out playing the Huskies in period one. Offensive zone play was certainly in the Fighting Hawks favor and Hrenak was called upon to make a number of key saves including two consecutive point-blank saves at 7:34 that could have broken the game open for UND. SCSU also struggled on the only penalty kill late in the period failing to clear the zone for the entire two minutes. UND placed a shot of the post on an odd-man rush and in the ensuing commotion the puck slid into the goal. But, under review the play was whistled dead.When all was said and done, Hrenak stopped all fifteen shots on goal in the first period and SCSU weathered the storm completing the period in a scoreless tie. Hrenak was clearly the MVP of the game through period one.
North Dakota finally took a lead in the contest on a goal by Jordan Kawaguchi at 10:37 of period two. Kawaguchi snared a rebound in the goalmouth and beat an out of position Hrenak for a 1-0 UND lead. the Huskies responded less than five minutes later with a goal by Grand Forks native Jon Lizotte at 15:05. Lizotte retrieved the puck after an attempted shot by Jack Poehling and slid the puck under UND’s Cam Johnson through traffic from about 15 feet out to tie the game at 1-1. A little over two minutes later at 17:19 the Huskies capitalized on their second power play of the game on a blast from the point by Jimmy Schuldt (Jackson | Brodzinski). Robby Jackson slid the puck to Schuldt laterally along the blue line and Schuldt beat Johnson over his right shoulder for a 2-1 late period lead. This was Schuldt’s 8th goal of the season. However, Blake Lizotte who was whistled for three penalties in the game gave UND the advantage with his second penalty at 19:14. UND converted on a shot from the point with just 3.4 seconds left in the period by Christian Wolanin who beat Hrenak stick side through traffic. This tied the game at 2-2 and set the tone for an interesting third period.
Period three saw three penalties whistled in the first eight minutes including a five-minute major on SCSU’s Will Borgen for interference (hit to the head) at 7:39. A subsequent penalty to UND’s Trevor Olson for roughing netted UND a three-minute power play but the Huskies were able to kill the man-advantage. An outstanding play by Jon Lizotte sprung Ryan Poehling loose for a highlight reel goal. Lizotte blocked a shot from the point and alertly saw Ryan Poehling streaking up the left boards and connected him with a pass at the blue line. Poehling charged into the UND zone and attacked the goal left to right and making a crazy between the legs shot that caught Johnson off guard as the puck was placed over the blocker side of the UND goaltender. This was possibly the most entertaining goal this writer has seen in all my years of watching hockey (see Poehlings remarks below). This gave SCSU a 3-2 lead at 8:39 of period three but was not the end of the scoring. North Dakota rallied again at 15:42 to tie the game at 3-3 on a goal by Nick Jones, his 11th of the season. This sent the game to an overtime session, the 4th in the last six games between the two teams.
A high-sticking penalty to UND’s Gabe Bast, his third penalty of the game just 1:41 into overtime gave the Huskies the break they needed. They made the best of the overtime gift with Ryan Poehling scoring the game winning goal about a minute into the man-advantage at 2:48. In a terrific shift by Poehling he was knocked down behind the net but recovered to position himself at the goalmouth and out muscled UND’s Hayden Shaw for a rebound off a shot from the left circle by Easton Brodzinski for the overtime game-winner. Final score: SCSU 4 UND 3.
The Fighting Hawks outshot the Huskies in each period and had a 32-25 advantage for the game. In a strong outing by David Hrenak, he stopped 29 of 32 shots on goal to earn his 11th win of the season. UND’s Cam Johnson stopped 21 of 25 shots on goal and saw his record drop to 9-8-6. The SCSU power play was clicking having success on 2/4 opportunities. UND was 1/4 on the man-advantage. A multiple point game was earned by Robby Jackson (0-2-2), Jimmy Schuldt (1-1-2), Ryan Poehling (2-0-2), Jon Lizotte (1-1-2) and Easton Brodzinski (0-2-2).
The two squads conclude the regular season schedule with a rematch at 7:05 PM CT Saturday.
Stars of the Game: #1 R Poehling (SCSU) #2 Wolanin (UND) #3 Hrenak (SCSU)