GRAND FORKS, N.D. — North Dakota got goals from six different players and junior goalie Jordan Parise posted his second straight shutout as the Fighting Sioux blanked visiting Northeastern 6-0.
After being shut out 3-0 last weekend by Michigan State in the Lefty McFadden Invitational, the Sioux offense came alive and the defense held the Huskies to 19 shots on goal. UND started nine freshmen, who delivered three goals and six assists.
“A lot of young guys made plays in all three zones of the rink,” said Sioux coach Dave Hakstol. “That’s a real positive side.”.
A pair of true freshmen led UND’s scoring with three points each as 17-year-old forward Jonathan Toews recorded a goal and two assists and center T.J. Oshie picked up three assists. Freshman defenseman Brian Lee scored a power-play goal and freshman center Ryan Duncan had a goal and an assist.
“We were a totally different team today than we were last weekend,” Toews said. “In that regard, we’re making big steps already.”
Although it was the regular-season opener for the Huskies and UND’s third game, Northeastern’s new coach, Greg Cronin, didn’t make any excuses for his team.
“They just outclassed us,” he said. “It was not a good effort all around. It could have been 10 goals. It was an ugly game.”
With his sixth career shutout, Parise also got on the scoresheet with an assist. Despite seeing few shots in the first half of the game, the Sioux goalie preserved the shutout with some outstanding saves.
“It was another rock-solid performance,” Hakstol said. “He didn’t have a lot of work, but he had some quality work. That shows some very good mental focus on his part.”
Junior Chris Porter got the Sioux on the board at 8:20 of the first period when his shot trickled through the pads of Northeastern freshman goalie Doug Jewer and just crossed the line. Junior defenseman Matt Smaby put UND up 2-0 with a power-play goal at 9:54.
Less than two minutes into the second period, senior forward Mike Prpich got behind the Huskies defense and beat Jewer through the five-hole. Duncan put the Sioux up 4-0 at the 18:21 mark with a wrist shot from the slot that beat Jewer glove side just under the crossbar.
With the teams skating four-on-four and the final seconds of the period ticking away, Parise made the save of the night.
“They had a guy that sprung free. One of our defensemen when down to block the shot. I thought he was going to shoot, too, so I bit on it as well,” Parise said. “He just pulled it across and I dove and tried to throw equipment in front of that puck. I was lucky enough to get a piece of it.”
Cronin thought that if Northeastern had scored then, it would have helped the team build on the rhythm it had begun to establish midway through the game.
“That, to me, was an unbelievable save,” he said. “In the third period, they just turned it up a notch.”
Toews dashed all hopes of a Huskies rally just 57 seconds into the final period. His wrist shot from the right faceoff dot caught the inside of the far post. Lee closed out the scoring with a power-play goal at 16:18, giving the Sioux a 6-0 victory and improving their record to 2-1.
Northeastern forward Dennis McCauley was assessed a five-minute major penalty for running over Parise seven minutes into the third period.
“This is the second game in a row that I’ve been pretty viciously run,” Parise said. “It’s just too bad that we can’t do anything about it. It is difficult to stay in the game. I got my head rung a little bit.”
UND sophomore forward Rastislav Spirko left the game early in the first period and did not return. Hakstol said he didn’t know the seriousness of the injury.
“It was a tough, hard-fought hockey game tonight,” Hakstol said. “I thought we made a few more plays offensively to score some goals, but by no means was this an easy game. I expect the same tomorrow. I expect a tough, physical game tomorrow night, maybe more so than tonight.”
UND outshot Northeastern 32-19 and was 2-8 on the power play while the Huskies were 0-5.
The two teams will meet for the second game of the series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday in Ralph Engelstad Arena.