GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The St. Cloud State Huskies kept their unbeaten streak alive Friday, stunning the No. 1 North Dakota Fighting Sioux 2-1 before 11,107 fans at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Junior wing Dave Iannazzo scored with 1:53 left in the game to break a 1-1 tie, propelling the eighth-ranked and WCHA-leading Huskies to an 8-0-1 record overall and 6-0-1 in the conference.
“Any time you come in the Engelstad and win a game, it’s a big win,” said SCSU coach Craig Dahl. “We hadn’t won eight in a row here, so it’s obviously a big win for us.”
SCSU junior goalie Adam Coole was nothing short of sensational in stopping 32 of 33 shots he faced. The Sioux entered the game as one of the top offensive teams in the country, averaging 5.7 goals per game.
“We knew we couldn’t get into a run-and-shoot battle with them. There’s no way. They’re too high-powered up front, so obviously we played our game plan,” Dahl said.
Iannazzo’s shot from the bottom of the right circle appeared to have no way to get in as Sioux goalie Jake Brandt hugged the post. The players were as surprised as anyone when puck plopped to the ice behind Brandt.
“I came up around the short side and just tried to shoot it at the net. I guess I got a lucky bounce and it went in,” Iannazzo said. “I was surprised after because I didn’t see a reaction for like a good five seconds and then, finally, the light was on.”
“It actually got me in the glove,” Brandt said of Iannazzo’s shot, “and I think it deflected up. I was in tight hugging the post. It came up over my shoulder and I had my glove up there.”
The Huskies jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 2:26 of the first period on senior wing Matt Hendricks’ power-play goal. Left alone at the top of the left circle, he fired a wrist shot that might have deflected off a Sioux defenseman before going in.
“I thought it did because I thought it was going wide,” Brandt said. “I’m still confused. I want to watch the videotape to see how that one went in.”
In a penalty-filled game (SCSU 10 for 20 minutes, UND 9 for 18), the Sioux power play continued to struggle, going 0-9 on the night. With the Huskies on their heels, the Sioux couldn’t capitalize on a crucial 5-on-3 advantage for two minutes in the second period. UND’s power play is now 3-46 on the season.
Sioux junior wing Brandon Bochenski scored at 15:37 of the second period to knot the game 1-1. Near the center of the left circle, he blasted a drop pass from defenseman Matt Jones past Coole for UND’s only goal of the game.
Despite outshooting the Huskies 14-7 in the second period, UND couldn’t get the puck past Coole. The few rebounds he left were quickly cleared by SCSU’s tenacious defense.
The third period was even until Iannazzo’s goal at the 18:07 mark. Brandt compounded UND’s problems by taking a slashing penalty in the final 1:04 of the game.
“We expended a lot of emotion last week, but you’ve got to get it back,” coach Dean Blais said of his team’s performance. “You get that number-one for a reason. You work so hard so hard to get there. In a WCHA game, you’ve got to be ready to go.”
The Sioux are now 6-2-0 overall and 2-1-0 in the WCHA. SCSU and UND will play the second game of the series 7:05 p.m. Saturday night at Engelstad Arena.