GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Scoring early and often was the formula North Dakota used to down Colorado College 5-2 and remain tied for the WCHA lead.
“The story of the game was the quick goals they scored to start the second period and the third periods,” said Tigers coach Scott Owens. “Not only is it a goal on the scoreboard, but it just takes a lot of wind out of the sails.”
In the first period, it appeared as if the matchup between two of the WCHA’ s better defensive teams would become an offensive shootout. Just 1:59 in, UND junior center Colby Genoway knocked in a pass from wing Drew Stafford to give the Sioux a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers evened it 1-1 at the 3:00 mark. Forward Braydon Cox passed to linemate Scott Thauwald, who was all alone in the slot. He held the puck until Sioux freshman goalie Jordan Parise went down and then put it over him.
Genoway scored his second goal of the game at 5:02. Once again, he was set up by a pass from Stafford for a shot from the slot that he fired past CC junior goalie Curtis McElhinney.
Tiger sophomore defensemen Mark Stuart blasted a shot past Parise off a faceoff at 11:40 to end the period tied 2-2.
“It was a lost faceoff in the defensive zone — something we talked about not doing — and they capitalized on it,” said Sioux coach Dean Blais.
The only goal of the second period came just 13 seconds in and proved to be the game winner. McElhinney couldn’t control the rebound off UND center David Lundbohm’s a sharp-angle shot. Junior wing Quinn Fylling took a whack at the puck and it found its way across the goal line for a 3-2 Sioux lead.
Nobody was quite sure how the puck got into the Tigers’ goal, including the player who got credit for scoring it.
“Lundbohm made a play and threw the puck at the net pretty hard,” Fylling said. “It seemed like the goaltender had a tough time with it. I got a good swat at it and from there on, I didn’t even see what happened.”
“I think Curtis got out of the net and the puck ended up getting behind him,” Owens said. “As he scrambled back to the net, I think he kicked it in.”
UND pulled away with two more quick goals to start third period. Just 17 seconds in, Lundbohm intercepted Tiger defenseman Lee Sweatt’s outlet pass, walked in alone on McElhinney, faked a shot and flipped a backhander over the goalie’s outstretched pad.
Lundbohm credited his father for teaching him how to score on breakaways.
“It’s probably from practice back in the day with the old man on the north rink,” he said “He taught me that move.”
“Once we got the fourth goal, everyone on the bench felt good about a two-goal lead,” Blais said.
Less than a minute later, Lundbohm left a drop pass for junior defenseman Matt Jones, trailing the play. His quick wrist shot from the right circle beat McElhinney cleanly and gave the Sioux a 5-2 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“The third goal was kind of a fluke goal, but the fourth and fifth were vintage North Dakota,” Owens said. “They hang there, pick off a bad pass and it’s in the back of your net.”
Although North Dakota’s top line of Zach Parise, Brandon Bochenski and Brady Murray was held without point, Blais was pleased with four goals from the team’s second and third lines.
“We basically went with three lines rolling,” he said. “It didn’t matter who we put out there, they were doing the job.”
After giving up two goals on eight shots in the first period, Jordan Parise stopped all 15 shots he faced the next two periods, including three point-blank attempts in the third. McElhinney stopped 28 of 33.
Neither team scored on the power play. The Tigers went 0-5 while the Sioux were 0-6.
The Sioux are 19-5-3 overall and 13-4-3 in the WCHA. The Tigers are 15-10-3 overall and 8-10-2 in the WCHA. The two teams will play the second game of the series at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Ralph Engelstad Arena.