St. Paul, MN- Nick Poehlings game-winning goal 1:47 into the overtime session catapulted #1 SCSU into the title game of the Frozen Faceoff on Saturday. The Huskies will face Denver University on Saturday at 7:38 PM CT. The Pioneers defeated the UMD Bulldogs 3-1 in the Friday evening matchup. Not unexpected it was a hard-fought battle between the Fighting Hawks and the Huskies who met for the fifth time this season. The loss by UND places their fate for the NCAA tournament in the hands of others. A loss in the third place game combined with a win by Princeton in the ECAC tournament championship would most certainly end the season for North Dakota. The Huskies already a lock for the NCAA tournament and most likely the #1 seed look to add additional hardware to the trophy case following the regular season championship and Penrose Cup.
The Huskies scored early in the contest on a goal by Patrick Newell (Ahcan | B Lizotte) just 5:54 into the game. Jack Ahcan attacked the UND zone and made a nice back-handed feed to Patrick Newell who beat UND’s Johnson with a wrist shot from between the circles. This was Newell’s 6th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead for SCSU. David Hrenak preserved the one goal lead with a huge save on a Trevor Olson breakaway late in period one. North Dakota outshot the Huskies 8-6 in period one and both squads were 0/1 on the man-advantage in the period.
UND got right back into the game on a wrap-around goal by Nick Jones 4:39 into period two. Jones circled counter-clockwise behind the SCSU goal and somehoe stuffed the puck past Hrenak to tie the game at 1-1. This was Jones 15th goal of the season. But, the Huskies responded less than a minute and half later on Easton Brodzinski’s 14th goal of the season at 5:53. A turnover by North Dakota inside the UND blue line was picked up by Easton Brodzinski (unassisted) who wristed the puck past Johnson from the top of the circle for another one-goal lead by the Huskies. That was the extent of the scoring in period two as the Huskies controlled play and outshot the Fighting Hawks 15-6. Again, both teams were unsuccessful on the power play with SCSU 0/1 and UND 0/2.
Period three saw a determined (and desperate) North Dakota team ratchet up the pressure and they clearly dominated play as they attempted to get the equalizer in the final period of regulation. The Huskies did eventually succumb to the UND pressure with Jordan Kawaguchi getting the game-tying goal at 10:10 of the third period. A nice three-way pass culminated with the puck on Kawaguchi’s stick as he was positioned to Hrenak’s right and he spun and beat Hrenak with a wrist shot to tie the game at 2-2. Despite the advantage in territorial play by UND the Huskies did outshoot them 12-9 in period three as the game headed to overtime.
The overtime session ended quickly with Poehling (unassisted) scoring a mere 1:47 into the session. Another UND turnover inside the Fighting Hawks blue line along the boards ended up on a forechecking Poehling’s stick who charged the UND net and fired the puck past Johnson from between the circles for the OT win. This was the lone shot of the overtime session and Poehling’s 7th and most important goal of the season. Poehling commented “I tried to cut into the middle and just shot it – I guess I got a little lucky”.
SCSU outshot UND 34-23 for the game and was 0/2 on the power play while North Dakota was 1/5. SCSU’s Hrenak stopped 21/23 shots on goal while UND’s Johnson turned aside 31/34 to see his record drop to 11-9-7.
Coach Motzko commented “I liked the way we played tonight. We had great legs. Unfortunately the penalties in the third period took us out of our game. Our staff feels our team is very fresh right now.”
UND coach Brad Berry summarized things up by saying ” Tonight through the first two periods we were out of sorts. this time of year you have to play 60 minutes. Tomorrow we have to win one game and we need some help.”
Stars of the Game: #1 Nick Poehling (SCSU) #2 Brodzinski (SCSU) #3 Trevor Olson (UND)