BUFFALO — The first game of the Xerox College Hockey Showcase looked at lot more like an imbalanced pick-up game than a battle between two Division I programs.
North Dakota pretty much did whatever it wanted in an 8-0 win over Canisius at HSBC Arena.
If not for the efforts of Griffs sophomore goalie Bryan Worosz, the final score would have been worse. He finished with 40 saves. North Dakota is the first ranked team, and the first WCHA team, that MAAC-member Canisius has played in its history.
“It’s an honor playing against a team like that. I thought we played well. We stuck in it, worked hard in our end and kept working hard even though they were putting goals up on the board,” Worosz said. “I don’t think we ever gave up and that’s a positive.”
Zach Parise scored a hat trick in his collegiate debut, while Andy Schneuder, Quinn Fylling, Nick Fuher, Ryan Hale and Brandon Bochenski also scored for the Fighting Sioux. Jake Brandt earned the shutout, getting credited with 18 saves.
“We’ve seen Zach score a lot of goals the last couple of years, but there haven’t been many freshmen to score a hat trick in his first game,” North Dakota coach Dean Blais said.
The game was the season opener for both teams.
“We didn’t know much about Canisius. We just wanted to come out and play our game and that’s usually one of puck pursuit and cycling when we get on the forecheck,” Blais said. “We generated probably 15 or 20 shots off it and three goals off just the cycles down low. That something we work on a lot and hopefully get a chance tomorrow night off it, too.”
The tournament is the biggest college hockey event to date to set foot in Western New York. It features two teams that have combined for 16 national championships in North Dakota and Michigan, which plays Niagara in the second game of the event.
Canisius was whistled for five penalties in the first period and eight for the game. The Fighting Sioux converted 2-of-6 power plays.
Said Griffs coach Brian Cavanaugh, “When you play a team as talented as you tend to get to a point where maybe you’re a step or two behind and maybe you’re reaching, maybe you’re hooking, maybe you’re holding them because you’re trying as hard as you can to not let the guy go. It was more because of just trying as hard as we possibly could.”
Canisius also lost captain Rob Martin at 3:57 of the second period to a game disqualification after earning a spearing penalty.
“I didn’t see it. It was deep in the corner on my right hand side,” Cavanaugh said. “We will get a chance to talk about it.”
“It was a spear, but I don’t think he intentionally did it,” Blais said. “The referee had to call it, just like he had to call [Kevin] Spiewak shooting the puck after the whistle.”
North Dakota will play the winner of the Niagara-Michigan game at 7 p.m. Saturday in the championship game. The consolation game is at 4 p.m.