WORCESTER, Mass. — In NCAA tournament action, North Dakota goaltender Jordan Parise has given opponents a whole lot of nothing.
In 180 minutes of tourney play over the last two years, the sophomore has now surrendered just one goal.
Friday, Parise stopped all 29 shots and senior right wing Colby Genoway notched two goals and an assist to lead the Sioux to a 4-0 win over the Terriers in front of 8,360 at the DCU Center in the NCAA East Regional. Rory McMahon added a goal and two assists, and North Dakota pulled off the shutout despite 10 Terrier power plays and a 29-27 shot margin for BU.
“I don’t think that there’s any way to explain that stuff,” Parise said of his remarkable record on college hockey’s big stage. “Everybody picks up their play around playoffs; I’m just fortunate enough that our team picks it up as well. So it’s not entirely me giving up one goal in three games; it’s definitely our team and our defensive corps and everybody buying into the system. I can take a little bit of credit for that, but mainly it’s our team that’s gotten the job done.”
North Dakota — which beat Boston University in the 1997 title game the last time the teams squared off in the NCAA tournament — now owns an 11-6-1 series record against the Terriers.
“There’s an awful lot of tradition and history between these two programs,” North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said. “I thought that maybe the difference in the hockey game tonight was the fact that we were able to capitalize on some of our opportunities.
“I think both teams came out a little tentative and really didn’t get rid of some of that nervousness until the end of the first period. From there, it was a pretty good hockey game. We got back on our heels a little in the second period but were able to survive three penalties in a row and get through that period with a good lead.
“It was a good hockey game. It ended up four-nothing, but it was probably a little closer than that.”
Terrier coach Jack Parker reflected on his team’s power outage on the scoreboard.
“Overall, I thought we played a pretty good game,” Parker said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t score any goals, and you’re not going to win a hockey game without scoring goals. I don’t think we were as sharp as we could’ve been in a couple of areas.
“In general, it was a pretty good effort for us. We were around their net and had some opportunities. We went oh-for-100 on the power play, it seemed, but we had a lot of shots and good looks.”
In the early going, it looked like a trademark Terriers performance, as BU came out hitting hard and forechecking aggressively. Unfortunately for the Terriers, some of these hits led to penalties, as CCHA referee Matt Shegos unsurprisingly called the game tightly. With help from two power plays, the Sioux had the game’s first six shots, most notably a consecutive pair by blueliner Matt Smaby at 6:00.
At 7:20, Terrier goalie Curry looked vulnerable, leaving a fat rebound off a right-wing shot, but no one could pounce on the rebound. Shortly thereafter, a steady parade to the penalty box led to a smorgasbord of combinations on the ice: four-on-threes, five-on-threes, four-on-fours, you name it. The Terriers’ second unit — headed by captain Brian McConnell — had some of the most sustained pressure halfway through the period.
“There were so many penalties. It seemed like the game slowed down a lot,” McConnell said. “It was choppy with all the power plays and penalty kills.”
Late in the period — just after a five-on-three expired — North Dakota right wing Drew Stafford took an innocuous-looking shot from the left-wing faceoff circle. It turned out to be a croquet shot, going through the wickets of defenseman Jekabs Redlihs as well as Curry. Thus the first “ten-hole” goal in recent memory gave the Sioux a 1-0 edge with a scant 54.7 seconds left in the period.
A pretty play in the opening minute of the second period didn’t foreshadow what was to come for the Terriers. BU’s second line passed nicely, culminating with a behind-the-back from Bryan “Boomer” Ewing to McConnell for a good chance at 0:50.
At 2:40, Stafford intercepted a Bryan Miller pass to set up a backhand chance that Curry stopped. At 4:01, though, the Sioux made it 2-0. First-line centerman Ryan McMahon got the puck at the left point and threw a long pass to Genoway at the far corner. Genoway, North Dakota’s leading scorer, wisely one-timed the puck, chipping it up and over Curry’s left arm before it went into the net.
Twenty-nine seconds later, Curry kept the Terriers in the game for the moment by thwarting star freshman Travis Zajac on a breakaway. BU responded with increased pressure on a subsequent power play, leading to a goal that was disallowed after video review.
Kenny Roche had thrown the puck on net, while falling down, and Parise appeared to pounce on the rebound but somehow missed it. The puck squirted out to McConnell, who flipped it in high, only to have the goal waved off because John Laliberte was in the crease.
“I saw it up on the screen, and I thought it was the correct call,” Parker said.
“The guy who put it in — that was a heck of a shot putting in like that,” Parise said. “I was just fortunate enough to have that go my way. I think it was some sort of a backbreaker for them. Even though they played hard after that, you could tell that demoralized them quite a bit. We fed off that, and we came out and finished the game early in the third period.”
“Obviously, it was the turning point in the hockey game,” Hakstol said.
Less than two minutes later, North Dakota made it a three-goal margin. Genoway picked up the puck behind the goal line and fed it to McMahon crashing the net for a low shot that beat Curry again.
The Terriers looked deflated for several minutes, but played fairly well later in the period. Freshman forward Chris Bourque had one of his great end-to-end rushes, beating a man, before slipping a slick behind-the-back pass to set up a shot. All the same, the period ended 3-0, and it looked apparent that the Terriers would miss an opportunity to play against archrival Boston College in the regional final.
For the third period in a row, BU came out looking good. David Van der Gulik had a chance in the opening minute, and Bourque and MacArthur looked great on a four-on-four. Yet again, North Dakota proved to be opportunistic, scoring on its first chance of the period at 2:40. Defenseman Nick Fuher made a great read, threading a long pass from his own zone to Genoway breaking over the red line. Genoway went in alone and handily beat Curry, moving the puck to his backhand before flipping it past Curry, stick-side.
Between the solid play of Parise and strong team defense, BU never could erase the goose egg from the scoreboard.
“No question about it, they’re a big, strong team,” Miller said of the Sioux. “All six of their defensemen seem like they’re monsters out there. We came after them as hard as we can.
“They’re a good team; I wish them luck.”
For the moment, the teams have almost identical records. BU ends the season at 23-14-4, while North Dakota heads into the East Regional final with a 23-14-5 record.
“Their pucks went in the net and ours didn’t. That was the only difference,” Parker said.