GRAND FORKS, N.D. — North Dakota freshman forward T.J. Oshie played Santa Claus early, giving Fighting Sioux fans something they hadn’t seen for more than a month and a half — a win at home.
Oshie’s first-ever collegiate hat trick and his second game-winning goal in two nights not only enabled UND to sweep Bemidji State in a nonconference home-and-home series, but it also prevented the team from setting a school record it didn’t want. Another home loss would have made this season’s Sioux team the first ever to lose six consecutive home games.
“You don’t want to set any records that deal with losing, so it was really good to come out here and get a win,” Oshie said.
“We did talk about it,” said UND coach Dave Hakstol, who’d seen his team swept at home by Minnesota and Wisconsin after losing to Denver on Oct. 29.
“It’s not something you can dwell on, obviously,” he said. “We needed to end that. Now it’s at least off the table. You have to have success in your own building to put yourself in good position.”
After a scoreless first period that saw BSU outshoot UND 10-5, the Beavers took three straight penalties in the second period and the Sioux scored three straight power-play goals to grab a 3-0 lead.
“We lost a little of our discipline and I wasn’t happy about that,” said BSU coach Tom Serratore. “You can’t do that — ever. But obviously against a team like North Dakota, they’re going to kick you when you’re down. And they kicked us.”
Oshie scored his first goal at 3:52 when he fired in a rebound off Rastislav Spirko’s shot. At 5:39, Oshie was on the receiving end of some puck luck when his centering pass hit the skate of BSU defenseman David Deterding and crossed the line just before goalie Layne Sedevie got his glove on it.
UND junior forward Chris Porter followed that up with a power-play goal at the 9:36 mark. His sharp-angle shot somehow found the back of the net and the Sioux took a three-goal lead into the third period.
“The third goal, I would like to have back,” Sedevie said, who saw his unbeaten streak end at 6-0-1. “The guy walked out of the corner and put it five-hole. It really baffled me how it went in.”
The Beavers put themselves in position to make a game of it when just 1:03 into the third period, Blaine Jarvis capitalized on a two-on-one rush with Rob Sirianni to make it a 3-1 game.
That’s where the score stayed until late in the third period. Oshie picked up the hat trick at 17:31 when he got his stick on defenseman Taylor Chorney’s shot from the point to tip the puck past Sedevie.
“It was just a heck of a play by T.J. Oshie,” said Hakstol of the St. Louis Blues’ first-round pick in the 2005 draft. “He’s capable of doing those sorts of things, and that’s what makes him a game-breaker.”
With 1:39 left in the game and the Beavers on the power play, Sioux junior forward Drew Stafford scored his nation-leading fourth shorthanded goal of the season to make the final score 5-1 in UND’s favor.
Sedevie, a native of Bismarck, N.D., who had once committed to play for UND before injuries changed his plans, had hoped for a better showing in front of his family and friends.
“Coming back into my old stomping grounds, I wish it would have [gone] a little different, but that’s how it goes sometimes,” he said. “Sometimes you just don’t get bounces. It’s why we play 33 games. We get another chance to get them back.”
For his efforts, Oshie was presented with a hard hat, a North Dakota team award given to the player who works the hardest in the game. The last time he received the honor was UND’s last home victory on Oct. 28 against Denver.
On Sunday, Oshie leaves with freshman defensemen Brian Lee and Chorney to play for Team USA in the World Junior Championships in Vancouver, B.C.
“It’s definitely good to leave on a good note,” Oshie said. “I’m ready to go there, represent my country and the Sioux.”
Sioux forwards Travis Zajac and Spirko each had three assists. Sioux goalie Jordan Parise stopped 25 of 26 shots he faced. Sedevie had 21 saves on 26 shots. UND was 3-6 on the power play while BSU was 0-5.
UND, which next plays Harvard at home Dec. 29-30, improves its overall record to 12-7-1 (6-6 WCHA). BSU falls to 9-6-1 overall (4-2-0 CHA) and next takes on Clarkson at home.