GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Sometimes goal scorers just have one of those nights.
In the second game of the Subway Holiday Classic at Ralph Engelstad Arena on Friday, North Dakota forward Brandon Bochenski had one of those games. In scoring four of five Sioux goals in a 5-2 nonconference victory over visiting Brown, it seemed as if everything he put on net went in — whether intended or not.
North Dakota coach Dean Blais called Bochenski, who has two four-goal games on the season and 23 goals in 19 games, a “one-man wrecking crew.”
“He’s got a way of finding the net,” Blais said. “I’m sure that’s all he sees when he gets into the offensive zone. He sees net. Playing with him, you have to yell for the puck and communicate with him, otherwise he’s going to shoot it every time.”
The only goal Bochenski scored that appeared ordinary was his first of the game at 3:58 of the opening period. In a 2-on-1 rush with forward Jason Notermann, Bochenski one-timed Notermann’s feed past Brown goalie Yann Danis.
His second goal came at 7:07 of the first period. Nearly parallel to the goal line, Bochenski fired what appeared to be a centering pass through the crease, only to have it deflect off Danis and into the net to give the Sioux a 2-0 lead.
“I got some bounces tonight that don’t happen very often,” Bochenski said. “I’m going to sit on this for a night and be pretty happy about what happened.”
Notermann’s power-play goal at 17:37 on a deflection of forward Kevin Spiewak’s shot gave North Dakota a 3-0 first-period lead.
“He (Spiewak) got open, walked across the top of the circle and shot it,” Notermann said. “I had my stick on the ice and it found the back of the net.”
The Bears came out in the second period with new fire and a potential upset in mind. Brown got on the board at the 8:07 mark when Keith Kirley circled behind the Sioux goal and found defenseman Paul Ezdale coming down the slot to slam the puck past goalie Josh Siembida.
An upset seemed possible when Brown junior defenseman Scott Ford scored on the power play at 15:40. At the end of the second period, North Dakota held a 3-2 lead. In the last period, the Sioux refused to be outworked and outshot the Bears 9-1.
Bochenski got the hat trick at 8:51 on a goal that was initially awarded to junior forward David Lundbohm, who appeared to shoot in Bochenski’s behind-the-net centering pass. However, replays showed that Lundbohm’s shot deflected of Bochenski’s stick before going in.
“He shot and I was just going to the net. He was behind me and I was turning. Plunk — right off my stick and into the corner,” Bochenski said. “When you’re scoring, it just happens.”
Brown coach Roger Grillo said the fourth Sioux goal changed the game’s momentum.
“The turning point was when he had two power plays and didn’t get a shot. The momentum swung back in their favor. Right after that second power play, they scored. That was a backbreaker, no question,” he said.
Bochenski’s fourth goal came on the power play at 17:04 and appeared just as improbable as two others. Down low and with his back to the Brown goal, forward James Massen fed Bochenski, who was standing near the left faceoff dot. He took a look a fired a low wrist shot. Somehow, the puck found its way through two Brown defenders before beating Danis five-hole.
“You’re going to get breaks like that when you’re a good player and things are going your way,” Ford said.
If there’s any question whether Bochenski misses freshman linemate Zach Parise, who’s playing in the World Junior Championships in Canada, the answer for now is no.
Blais said, “I asked him before the game, ‘Is Bochenski making Parise or is Parise is making Bochenski?’ He said he was making Parise. I guess he proved it tonight.”
With the win, the Sioux are 17-1-1 and remain undefeated at home. Brown falls to 5-6-1 on the season. North Dakota will play the Bemidji State Beavers at 8 p.m. Saturday at Engelstad Arena for the tournament championship. Brown will play the Manitoba Bison at 5 p.m.