GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Grand Forks native Robbie Bina scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to lift North Dakota to a 5-4 exhibition victory over the visiting U.S. National Under-18 Team.
The U.S. team came from two goals down in the third period to tie the game 4-4 and send it into overtime. On a 3-2 rush led by Sioux center Jonathan Toews, defenseman Bina trailed the play and rifled in a shot from the slot that beat goalie Josh Unice to give UND the win at the 2:36 mark.
After breaking a three-game WCHA losing streak last weekend, North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol wanted his team to approach the exhibition game in a businesslike manner. With their next two series at home against conference opponents Wisconsin and Michigan Tech, the Sioux couldn’t afford to rest on the laurels of a 5-2 victory over Colorado College.
However, the U.S. team came into the game with a 3-4-2 record against NCAA Division I teams, including victories over Michigan State, Clarkson and Alaska, as well as two overtime losses against Michigan and Boston College. Behind outstanding goaltending by Unice, the young U.S. team gave the Sioux all they could handle.
Team U.S. got on the board first at 9:41 of the first period. Sioux goalie Philippe Lamoureux left a rebound off a shot by forward James van Riemsdkyk that was knocked in by center John Albert.
After failing to capitalize on a 45-second 5-on3 advantage, UND knotted the game 1-1 with a 5-on-4 power play goal by captain Chris Porter at 14:39 mark. His wrist shot through traffic from the top of the right circle beat Unice cleanly along the ice. The period ended with UND out shooting Team U.S. 13-8.
The U.S. took a 2-1 lead at 7:50 of the second period. Forward Jimmy Hayes broke away from a Sioux defender behind the net and attempted to jam in a wraparound. Lamoureux blocked that, but the rebound came to center Colin Wilson who put the puck in the net.
At 9:50, UND cashed in on the power play again when Bina’s wrist shot from the point beat Unice through the pads. The Sioux then had to survive three straight U.S. power plays, including two 5-on-3 advantages. The period ended in a 2-2 with the Sioux owning a 23-16 shots on goal advantage.
In the third period, UND stormed out to a 4-2 lead behind goals by forwards Brad Miller at 3:47 and T.J. Oshie at 6:06. Toews set up UND’s third goal by starting in the Sioux zone and weaving through defenders before dishing a cross-crease pass to Miller. Oshie went around two defenders and fired a wrister from the slot that beat Unice high glove side to give UND a seemingly commanding two-goal lead.
But the young U.S. team wouldn’t be denied. They got their first power play goal of the game at 10:43 when forward Mike Hoeffel tipped defenseman Ian Cole’s shot from the point past Lamoureux. Center Matt Rust won a face-off deep in UND’s zone that went to defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who blasted a slapper past Lamoureux to knot the game 4-4 with 3:23 left in the game.
Unice made some of his best saves in the last minute of regulation to preserve the tie, robbing Sioux forwards Rylan Kaip and Miller on point-blank shots. In overtime, it was Bina — the hometown favorite who returned this season after suffering a broken neck during the 2005 WCHA Final Five — who brought Sioux fans to their feet with his game-winning goal.
UND was 2-5 on the power play while the U.S. was 1-8. The Sioux outshot the under-18 team 38-29.
The U.S. is now 15-6-3 on the season and, on Saturday, plays the Fargo-Moorhead Jets of the North American Hockey League. UND, 7-6-1 overall and 5-4-1 in the WCHA, next takes on Wisconsin in a two-game series Dec. 8-9 at Ralph Engelstad Arena.