Grand Forks, ND – Maybe it was the emotional win on Friday in overtime or the fact that this was a fairly meaningless game for the #1 ranked Huskies. In any case, the Huskies were like a piece of machinery that needed to warm up before it worked properly. They fell behind 2-0 to a team fighting for home ice in the NCHC playoffs and then turned things up in the third period to salvage a 2-2 overtime tie with the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. SCSU received another solid outing from David Hrenak, saw a number of UND shots go off the goal post and received third period goals from Grand Forks native Jacob Benson and last nights hero Ryan Poehling in the overtime draw. The tie concluded the regular season schedule for the two squads and allowed North Dakota to salvage a home ice playoff series with Omaha next weekend. The Huskies will host last-place Miami at the Herb Brooks National hockey Center.
The game started out as a replica of Friday’s game with North Dakota seemingly having a great deal more energy and thus controlling puck posession and offensive zone pressure. Almost immediately, David Hrenak had to make a goal mouth save at 18:39 and then UND placed a shot off the post just 6 seconds later. The Huskies got themselves in penalty trouble early with two penalties in the first 3:52 of the game. The second penalty to Ryan Poehling for hooking cost them as UND’s Grant Mishmash scored his 9th goal of the season at the five-minute mark. Four more penalties were whistled by 11:39 of the period – one on the Huskies and three on UND but neither squad could capitalize on the opportunities. Meanwhile, the team dodged another bullet with another UND shot off the post at 12:20 of the period and survived with just a one goal lead by the Fighting Hawks. UND outshot the Huskies 11 to 8 in the period and SCSU was 0 for 2 on the man-advantage while UND was 1 for 2.
The second period started out no better with the Huskies struggling to clear the zone and a penalty to Will Borgen just 1:55 into the period. The Huskies were able to kill that penalty then failed on the man-advantage after a penalty to Hayden Shaw at 9:05. But, another penalty to Ryan Poehling at 13:09 for charging again gifted the Fighting Hawks another power play goal by Rhett Gardner, his 7th of the season at 14:49 for a 2-0 UND lead. The Huskies were once again outshot 11-6 in the period and failed on their only power play opportunity that period.
The Huskies have been dominant in the third period all season and suddenly it was like a light switch was turned on and SCSU began to control the game. A penalty to UND’s Cole Smith at 2:21 gave the Huskies an early man-advantage and they wasted no time scoring 21 seconds later on a goal by Ryan Poehling, his third of the weekend and 12th of the season. Robby Jackson found Poehling in the slot and he beat UND’s Johnson with a one-timer to narrow the lead to one goal. Grand Forks native Jacob Benson (Ahcan | B Lizotte) then evened things up at 9:22 with a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Johnson top shelf blocker side. Regulation ended with the score tied 2-2 leading to an overtime session. But, another penalty to Will Borgen at 4:22 of overtime eliminated any chance of duplicating Friday’s result in the rematch in overtime.
In the league mandated three on three overtime session Rhett Gardner scored with 45.8 seconds left in the session for the extra league point.
SCSU was outshot 31 to 25 for the game with SCSU’s Hrenak turning aside 29 of 31 shots on goal. UND’s Cam Johnson stopped 23 of 25 SCSU shots on goal in preserving the tie. SCSU had 9 penalties for 18 minutes and was 1 for 5 on the power play. UND was whistled 7 times for 14 minutes and was 2/7 on the power play.
SCSU finished the regular season with an overall record of 22-6-6 and NCHC record of 16-4-4. The Fighting Hawks finish with an overall record of 14-12-10 and NCHC record of 8-10-6.
Stars of the Game: #1 Wolanin (UND) #2 Benson (SCSU) #3 Gardner (UND)