HOUGHTON, Mich. — The top-ranked North Dakota Fighting Sioux came in Friday nights match-up knowing theyd have to battle the No. 14 Michigan Tech Huskies for every inch. The Huskies wouldnt back down from the Sioux, and both teams skated to a stalemate through 25 minutes of play before the Huskies got the decisive tally en route to a landmark victory at MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
Every game were just getting better and better, said Huskies captain Jimmy Kerr. Guys just really beared down, and we are getting more and more consistent.
Sophomore defenseman Drew Dobson broke a 1-1 tie when he received a pass from junior winger Justin St. Louis and fired a long wrist shot through traffic past Sioux goaltender Jean-Philipe Lamoureux at 9:56 of the third period. Sophomore winger Ryan Bunger got the play started by beating a Sioux defender to the puck in the right corner before moving the puck to St. Louis. The goal was Dobsons first of the season.
We knew it was going to be a tight-checking game, said Huskies assistant coach Pat Mikesch. Drew did a great job of not letting his shot get blocked, and the puck just found a way in and really turned the tide for us.
The Sioux (2-1-1 overall, 0-1-0 WCHA) had a golden opportunity to jump on the Huskies right off the bat as Kerr went to the penalty box just 29 seconds in. But netminder Michael-Lee Teslak stood his ground for the Huskies and kept the Sioux off the board.
Then, a little over five and a half minutes in, freshman center Eric Kattelus nearly got the Huskies on the board after a bad giveaway by the Siouxs Lamoureux. Fortunately for North Dakota, he was able to recover in time, turning away Kattelus shot from the boards.
The best chance of the games first 20 minutes went to Huskies senior center Peter Rouleau, who stole the puck from assistant captain Taylor Chorney. With both teams down a man, Rouleau swiped the puck and skated in unabated to Lamoureux, but his wrist shot was turned away.
The second frame started much like the first with Kerr taking a penalty within the first minute of play. The Sioux had a golden opportunity to score when last seasons Hobey Baker winner, Ryan Duncan, fed junior winger T.J. Oshie in the slot near Teslak, but Oshie redirected the puck over the net.
We need better playmaking, said Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol. We had several outnumbered opportunities that we didnt make good on.
On their second man advantage of the game, Huskies had a chance that didnt get past Lamoureux when junior defenseman Geoff Kinrade fed the puck across the front of the net to Shelast, but Lamoureux got across the ice quickly to make the stop on the Huskies leading goal scorer.
On that same power play, the Huskies broke through as freshman winger Bennett Royer notched his first collegiate goal at 5:20. Freshman winger Jordan Baker took the puck from behind the Sioux net behind Lamoureux, and fed a pass across the front of the crease to a waiting Royer, who beat Lamoureux to the short side. Junior winger Malcolm Gwilliam also assisted on the goal, giving Gwilliam six points in his last two games.
The goal ended Lamoureuxs streak of 185:20 to start the season without a goal.
The Huskies (4-1 overall, 3-0-0 WCHA) nearly extended their lead to two about three minutes later when senior winger Jordan Foote skated in alone on Lamoureux, but his wrist shot was stopped by the senior netminder.
The Sioux evened the game when sophomore defenseman Chay Genoways shot from the point was stopped by Teslak, but the puck found its way back into the slot where junior winger Andrew Kozek pounced on it, and buried it in the back of the net. Kozeks third of the campaign was also assisted by Chorney.
Shortly after scoring, with the Huskies back on the power play, the Sioux had another golden shorthanded chance as junior Matt Watkins and captain Rylan Kaip got loose in front of Teslak, but Teslak was up to the task.
Just after the Huskies fifth power play of the game, the Sioux had two great chances to take their first lead of the game, but both Duncan and Oshie were stopped within seconds of each other by Teslak a minute into the third period.
The Huskies and Sioux went back and forth controlling the play early in the third, with the main difference being that when the Sioux had the puck, they fired it on net. Kaip bounced the puck off the boards past freshman defenseman Deron Cousens to a streaking Watkins. Watkins skated in alone, but Teslak stopped his wrist shot.
With just over five minutes to go, Chorney misplayed the puck near Lamoureux, nearly giving Gwilliam a chance to open a two-goal lead, but he recovered in time to force him to shoot from a bad angle.
Mike really played fantastic for us, said Kerr. We knew they were going to come out hard in the third.
Teslak was tested again and again as time wound down for the Sioux. The Sioux line of senior Kyle Radke, freshman Evan Trupp, and junior Ryan Martens had a couple of chances with Teslak sprawled out on the ice, but somehow Teslak managed to make the stops he needed to.
They really came hard at us, said Teslak. I just battled in there for the guys.
After another Grade A chance from the Sioux line of Duncan, Chris VandeVelde and Oshie, Huskies freshman center Eric Kattelus fired the puck over the net at the other end of the rink with about five minutes remaining.
The Siouxs top line had another golden opportunity as a shot from Oshie got
behind Teslak with two and a half left, but sophomore defenseman Mike VanWagner knocked the puck away from the open net and out of the zone.
Were really happy with our young kids, said Mikesch. We dont have many other guys we want out there in that situation.
Hakstol burned his time out with 1:53 remaining, trying to rally his troops who were getting visibly frustrated by the Teslaks excellence in the third period. He managed to get Lamoureux pulled in lieu of an extra attacker with 1:25 to go, but the move backfired as Kerr took a breakaway pass from Foote and buried the puck into the yawning net with just 40 seconds remaining in the game. The goal was Kerrs third of the season.
(Our effort) wasnt good enough to get a win, said Hakstol. We have to come tomorrow night and work our tails off to get the split.
The Huskies finished 1-5 on the man advantage while holding the Sioux to no goals in four opportunities.
With 14 pucks fired at Teslak in the third, the Sioux finished the game outshooting the Huskies 27-16.
The last time the Huskies defeated a No. 1 ranked opponent was December 9, 2005, when the Huskies beat Wisconsin in Madison.
The teams will meet at the MacInnes again tomorrow night at 7:30 pm.