GRAND FORKS, N.D. — North Dakota junior goalie Marc Ranfranz — the team’s only walk-on player — made the most of his first chance to start a game for the Fighting Sioux.
Although he faced just 10 shots from the Canisius Griffins, Ranfranz didn’t let one through, giving UND a 6-0 win at Engelstad Arena and a shutout in his first-ever start.
“You couldn’t write up a better story for me,” he said. “I’ve been around for three years and I finally get in there. I’m happy and hope that I’ll get another start in the future.”
The Sioux have made a habit of holding opposing teams to 20 shots or fewer a game this season, but that hasn’t always worked to their goalies’ advantage.
“It’s tough to stay focused,” Ranfranz said, “but if you want to play again, you have to stop them all.”
The first Sioux goal came on the power play at 4:59 of the first period. Junior center David Lundbohm blasted a feed from Zach Parise past Canisius sophomore goalie Bryan Worosz.
Sioux freshman center Colby Genoway scored his first goal of the season at 11:34. Stepping out in front of the net, Genoway looked to pass, then fired a wrist shot past Worosz on the short side, giving North Dakota a 2-0 lead at the end of one period.
In the second period, the Sioux capitalized on the power play again at 8:19. Sophomore forward Rory McMahon picked Jason Notermann’s pass out of a crowd in front of the net and lifted it over the prone Griffin goalie. At 14:20, Sioux forward Brandon Bochenski tipped in Mike Prphich’s shot to increase UND’s lead to 4-0 at the end of two.
In the third period, Bochenski scored his 18th goal of the season to give North Dakota a 5-0. He came from the behind the goal, got Worosz to commit on the short side, then slammed the puck through on the wide side. North Dakota closed out the scoring with junior defenseman David Hale’s first goal of the season at 18:23.
North Dakota coach Dean Blais said that even though the Sioux had played the Griffins to open the season and beat them 8-0, his team didn’t take anything for granted.
“I think the guys were as mentally ready to play tonight as any other series. We talked about working hard all year to get the number-one ranking. You don’t want to lose it just before you go home for Christmas,” he said.
“There were a lot of distractions out there for us,” said Canisius coach Brian Cavanaugh. “These are kids who aren’t used to playing in front of this many people. We were down 4-0 at the end of the second period and I don’t think that we gave up at all. We came out and tried to play as hard as we could.
“I’m proud of the effort of our guys. I think our kids showed a lot of heart. We know that we have a ways to go, but it’s going to take some time.”
Cavanaugh noted that it was good for a developing program such as Canisius to play North Dakota, and Worosz agreed.
“It’s the chance of a lifetime to play the number-one team in the nation,” Worosz said. “You think six goals is pretty bad to give up for a goalie, but it’s not really that bad, considering that they’re the number-one ranked team.”
On Saturday night at 7:05 p.m., North Dakota and Canisius will play the second game of the series in Engelstad Arena.
Blais said that Sioux captain Ryan Hale had separated his shoulder during Friday’s game and wouldn’t play Saturday. He said he hoped to have the junior forward back in the lineup for UND’s Dec. 27-28 holiday tournament.