ST. PAUL, Minn. — He may have only scored two points (one goal, one assist) in North Dakota’s 4-2 victory over Colorado College, but junior forward T.J. Oshie continues to be a dominant presence on the ice.
“We’ve heard he’s banged up and this and that,” said CC coach Scott Owens. “He didn’t look like anyone banged up out there.”
Oshie is officially “banged up,” suffering a lower-body injury in the Sioux’s last regular-season contest against the St. Cloud State Huskies, where he played only two shifts in the Saturday game.
Still, he played in the Sioux’s quarterfinal series against the Michigan Tech Huskies, scoring three goals and one assist during the weekend to help his team advance to the WCHA Final Five.
The Denver Pioneers kept Oshie off the scoring sheet, perhaps one reason why the Sioux lost that match.
However, Oshie scored against the Tigers and helped aid his Sioux to victory.
“He’s explosive, he is. He’s got the puck on his stick, he’s dangerous, he wants to score, [it's] hard to get the puck away from him — he played like a first-rounder [in the NHL draft] and he played like a man,” said Owens. “Every time he was out there he was effective.”
Though Oshie is known for scoring skill goals, the goal he scored against the Tigers was a grinding effort. Granted, it was still one that proved his deadliness around the puck, as he was alert on the ice and took advantage of Tigers’ defenseman Jake Gannon’s mishandling of the puck and knocked it past an out-of-position Richard Bachman.
Still, it was an inspirational and much needed goal for the team, coming with a mere 39.5 seconds remaining in the first period, to knot the game at one and give the Sioux momentum going into intermission.
The Hobey Baker finalist also drew several penalties — something that also ended up being beneficial for North Dakota, as three of the four goals that the team scored came on the power play. The knack for getting calls is something in which Oshie takes pride.
“Yeah, I do,” he said. “With the way the rules are shaping up these days, moving your feet you draw a lot of penalties and it usually ends up being a momentum builder for your team, getting the power play. So, I just try to keep my feet moving.
“I don’t necessarily try to draw penalties,” he added. “I’m just trying to get to the net and score a goal. But if they take me down, I’ll take the power play as well.”
It’s little things like that which make him such a big sparkplug on the UND roster.
“It’s becoming a habit for him,” said UND coach Dave Hakstol. “He’s like any good athlete. He took to heart the loss yesterday and overall as a leader, he’s always a guy that takes responsibility. Not only the guy, but he takes responsibility for the team’s performance.
“It looked a little bit like in certain cases tonight it was, “Hey guys, get on my back. I’ll take you in the right direction.”
Though it was only a third-place game, Oshie helped lead the Sioux back to their winning ways and aided them in getting a number-one overall seed in the tournament.