MANKATO, Minn. — North Dakota, mad after a 6-2 loss to Minnesota State-Mankato on Friday night, came out Saturday and controlled the game from the drop of the puck. The Sioux received stellar performances from junior Bryan Lundbohm, who recorded a hat trick, and goalie Andy Kollar, who stopped 28 of the 29 shots on net in a 6-1 victory for a series split.
After a slow start this season and losing to the Mavericks on Friday, the team held a meeting before the game to get things under control. The Sioux came out with a total reversal in performance, dominating almost every aspect of the game.
“I thought we had more consistent play from everyone from the start of the game to the end of the game,” said UND head coach Dean Blais.
One key difference in the game was Lundbohm’s move from centering the second line Friday night to playing right wing on the first line with senior Jeff Panzer. Panzer entered the game as the Sioux’s leading scorer with five goals and 10 points.
Blais said the move was to generate more offense. “Yeah, we’re putting all our eggs in one basket, but from the way things went last night, we needed three guys to carry the offense,” he said.
The move worked from the beginning. After MSU goaltender Todd Kelzenberg made several key saves to keep the Mavericks in the game, Lundbohm finally found the net. Panzer made a great pass across the ice to an open Lundbohm who sent a wrist shot towards the net. Kelzenberg was able to get a piece of the puck, but it flew high into the air and dropped in behind the goalie to make the score 1-0.
UND controlled the rest of the first period until senior Wes Dorey went to the penalty box for hooking. The Mavericks looked strong on the power play, taking six shots on goal during the two-minute span. However, Kollar was there to stop every shot. His most impressive came when junior Nate Mauer, who tallied three points the night before, one-timed a pass from winger Josh Kern. Kollar snagged the shot with a spectacular glove save.
The first period ended with a huge brawl, which ended with 11 total penalties in the final 25 seconds of the period.
The Sioux poured on the offense in the second. After killing off one of the Mavericks’ eight power plays, Sioux center Tim Skarperud let a slap shot fly from the top of the faceoff circle. Kelzenberg made the initial save, but Dorey was there to put the rebound in the net 8:32 into the second.
The Sioux never let the Mavericks get a chance to comeback. Lundbohm netted his second goal of the night, aided by another assist from Panzer, with 12:28 left in the period. Panzer finished with three assists on the night. Sophomore Ryan Bayda scored two minutes later to make the score 4-0. Lundbohm assisted on Bayda’s goal.
Things continued to go downhill for the Mavericks in the third. Kollar made key saves on chances by MSU’s Jesse Rooney and Cole Bassett, and the Sioux continued to tighten their defensive grip. Lundbohm tallied his third goal of the night on the power play with 9:08 left in the game. UND finished 1-for-3 on the power play and held MSU scoreless on all eight of its chances.
Kollar’s shutout bid was ended at 14:55 of the third period. After the Sioux scored again to make it 6-0, MSU defenseman Peter Runkel took a slap shot from the point. Kollar was able to make the save, but Mauer was there to put in MSU’s only goal of the game.
“We had some great saves tonight by Andy Kollar, especially on the penalty kill,” Blais said. “He played great, and anytime you get goaltending like that, it inspires your team.”
The Sioux’s offense was definitely inspired, putting 46 shots on goal. The top line of Panzer, Lundbohm, and Bayda combined for nine points in the game. Lundbohm was happy with his team’s performance.
“Obviously we were really disappointed with our game last night, so we came back with a real strong performance tonight. We were strong offensively, and we got some really nice bounces.”
MSU head coach Troy Jutting also commented on Lundbohm’s move to the top line. “Three great players played very well tonight,” he said. “You give great players room and they’ll hurt you. And they did.”
Jutting was upset with his team’s lack of work ethic as compared to Friday night. “We didn’t work very hard,” he said. “We didn’t want it bad enough tonight. Their goaltender made some big saves early for them. We didn’t keep after it like we needed to.”
MSU-Mankato (1-5-0) will head to Michigan Tech next weekend to face the Huskies. North Dakota (3-2-3) will travel to Denver to take on the Pioneers.