St. Cloud, MN – A quick look at the CenterIceView blog visitor metrics shows there is indeed a lot of interest in last nights contest between the Huskies and the Fighting Hawks. It makes me wonder whether it’s interest in a description of the game or curiosity about the several “controversial” sequences including the SCSU goal that was waved off and the injury to Grant Mismash. Hopefully, it’s the former. There’s no question the Huskies current top collegiate hockey rivals are North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth. However, the SCSU vs UND games seem to be a different sort of rivalry and they seem to elevate to a different level. The games are intense between both UMD and UND and recent history shows most games are closely contested. But, things seem to be a bit more “controlled” at Amsoil as opposed to REA. I’ll let you, the reader, interpret that however you wish (smile). So, yes, in my opinion it is a different environment that contributes to the intensity of the games in Grand Forks. Friday’s was no different, an intense contest on the ice with some controversy sprinkled in for good measure to blow up Twitter for about three hours. Is it true a few beer bottles were tossed onto the ice (again, smile)?
The sequence concerning the goal that was waved off occurred with 7:55 on the clock in period two. A heads up play by Jack Poehling had him distribute a backhand pass across the goalmouth that was punched toward the net by first-year defenseman Nick Perbix while he was lunging forward. Goalie Scheel was out of position and It was like a chip shot and from the overhead view appeared to cross the goal line. A number of experts on Twitter craftily created GIF images of the exact moment the puck crossed fully over the line. After the review, the officials were of the opinion there was not “definitive evidence” that the puck crossed fully over the goal line. If called good, that would have evened the game at 1-1. Disturbing at the time but Micah Miller’s goal with 13.8 seconds remaining in period two erased the frustration of the ruling and put the momentum in SCSU’s favor heading into period three.
But, more noise was generated by controversy #2 which occurred with 2:08 left on the scoreboard in period three. A collision between the Huskies captain Jimmy Schuldt and UND forward Grant Mismash along the sideboards left Mismash writhing in pain on the ice with an obvious injury to his lower leg. Yes, Schuldt was in a wide stance as they collided and yes, it appears to be a knee to knee hit. Schuldt did not lift or direct his knee. No penalty was called on Schuldt but a slashing call was assessed to the injured Mismash who took a retaliatory swing at Schuldt with his stick. Granted, it didn’t seem equitable considering MIsmash was in pain on the ice. The officials could have called a minor or major. They did neither. Mismash was helped off the ice, the Huskies subsequently scored an empty net goal and game over at 3-1. Post game interviews indicated Mismash would miss Saturday’s game. No diagnosis of his injury was given. An unfortunate injury to Mismash? Yes. It’s a contact game. Any intent by Schuldt to purposely go knee to knee? Absolutely not. He’s not that type of player. He had 4 penalties for 8 minutes heading into last nights game. I’ll defend Jimmy Schuldt’s integrity of play to the end. Will anything further come out of it? We’ll let the league and officials discuss it. But, I doubt it. Let’s just hope the injury to Mishmash is not serious.
CBS Sports Network must have been thrilled with the game they were chosen to air. It was exciting, wasn’t decided until the final period and included some controversy. All makes for a good broadcast. After a slow start, the Huskies were clearly the better team last night. It still doesn’t mean it guarantees a win as Scheel stood on his head and gave UND a chance to tie the game late in period three. So, it sets things up for another interesting game tonight. With eleven conference games left in the season, there begins to be a feeling of desperation in Grand Forks for their team. Currently ranked 23rd in the Pairwise, there’s becoming little margin for error for the Fighting Hawks. A sweep at the hands of the Huskies will be devastating considering UND has two consecutive road series at Denver and Western Michigan.
Expect UND to come out hard and desperate in tonight’s game. They can’t match the SCSU offense unless there is a blow-up of the Huskies goaltending. They also have to control their emotions which may be tough to do but it’ll do them no good to be in the penalty box watching college hockey’s 7th ranked power play go to work. Can Scheel string another effort like he put forth last night? He’ll see a lot of rubber and shot attempts again. That’s what the Huskies do.
Nothing is guaranteed. That’s why they play the games. Enjoy.