GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Forty-four seconds in the second period destroyed any hope that Canisius College had of rallying for a comeback against North Dakota.
Sioux goals by Kevin Spiewak at 11:10, Matt Jones at 11:29 and James Massen at 11:54 gave UND an 8-2 lead that it held until game’s end.
“When you have a lapse — a shift here or a shift there — the difference in the teams is that they’re going to make you pay for it,” Canisius coach Brian Cavanaugh said of North Dakota’s second-period scoring outburst.
Although the top ranked Sioux were heavily favored to sweep the series, North Dakota assistant coach Dave Hakstol said the players and coaches wanted to avoid a letdown against Canisius, a nonconference opponent.
“We talked about how hard we’ve worked to gain the number-one ranking. For whatever that means this time of year, we’ve worked extremely hard. Let’s not let that slip,” he said. “The trademark of this team has been showing up and working hard. We wanted to do that this weekend. I thought we did it. We did it all the way through.”
UND scored three goals in the first period before Canisius got its first goal of the series. Spiewak scored unassisted 11 seconds into the game when he gathered in the rebound off his own shot and put the puck past Griffs goalie Bryan Worosz. Massen scored at 12:19 and nine seconds later, Brandon Bochenski netted his 19th goal of the season.
Griffs sophomore center Todd Bowler scored on the power play at 13:14 to make it a 3-1 game. The Sioux responded with a power-play goal from Andy Schneider at 13:38 and a shorthanded goal by Zach Parise — his third of the year — at 15:30.
Less than two minutes into the second period, Canisius cut North Dakota’s lead to 5-2 when senior wing Jeff Street beat Sioux goalie Josh Siembida. The goal gave a lift to the Griffs, who played the Sioux even for most of the period. But the three quick goals shattered any illusions of a Canisius comeback.
With the Sioux up 8-2, seldom-used Ryan Sofie started the third period in goal for North Dakota. He stopped all eight of the shots he faced. Sophomore goalie Jeremy Redquest played the final 3:15 of the game for Canisius.
Aside from a roughing incident that resulted in game misconduct penalties to North Dakota senior Jason Notermann and Canisius freshman wing Jon Durno, the period ended with no further activity and the Sioux in total control.
Hakstol was pleased that North Dakota’s eight goals were spread among six different players.
“A lot of guys got involved tonight. We need to keep developing balance scoring-wise and I think that’s something that’s come all the way through since the start of the year,” he said.
Cavanaugh said his team talked about the distractions of the Friday night’s first game before 11,000 fans in Engelstad Arena, and played with more intensity Saturday night. Said Cavanaugh, “You need to focus and block out all the things that are going on — the hype, the circumstances, the laser lights, the girls on skates and everything else. The rink’s the same size. The goal posts are the same size. You just need to go out there and play.”
North Dakota remained undefeated at home and improved its overall record to 16-1-1 (8-1-1 WCHA). Canisius falls to 6-10-0 overall (6-4 MAAC). The Sioux play next when they host the Subway Classic Holiday Tournament at the Engelstad Arena Dec. 27-28. The Griffs play a two-game series with Quinnipiac Jan. 3-4.