MANKATO, Minn. — The North Dakota-Minnesota State rivalry is quickly becoming one of the most intense in the country. After 60 minutes, three power-play goals and one fistfight, the Fighting Sioux (13-8-1 overall, 9-7-0 WCHA) emerged with a 2-1 win in front of 4,685 people at the Alltel Center.
“We had a greasy road win tonight,” said Fighting Sioux forward Ryan Duncan. “It’s our first road win on a Friday night for us, so I think it’s a big step.”
Chay Genoway’s power-play tally at 5:05 gave the Fighting Sioux a 1-0 advantage. Matt Watkins and Joe Finley earned assists. The goal was the only offense for either team in the opening period, as the two teams combined for only nine shots in the period.
“[MSU] is a great team and you don’t want to let them get ahead of you because they do a great job of controlling the game,” Duncan said. “We wanted to get a quick lead and then outwork them the rest of the game.”
It appeared MSU tied the game at the 8:04 mark of the second period when sophomore forward Kael Mouillierat broke in on Sioux goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux. The senior netminder made the initial save, but MSU captain Joel Hanson followed the rebound hard to the net. Backchecked by a UND defender, Hanson hit the puck and the goalie simultaneously and the puck squirted into the net. The goal was disallowed immediately, however, and a video review concluded the net was partially dislodged.
MSU had another goal disallowed at 11:01 when it was ruled that Mouillierat interfered with Lamoureux. Mouillierat was assessed a penalty on the play.
Neither team produced another quality chance in the period, as MSU outshot UND 13-6 in the period for a 16-12 edge after two.
“I thought we had four or five other great chances in that period,” said Mavericks’ coach Troy Jutting. “When you get opportunities like that, you have to find a way to get it into the net.”
The Sioux capitalized again on a power play at the 5:52 mark of the third period. Following a high sticking penalty on MSU’s James Gaulrapp, UND controlled the puck and worked it to the point and onto the tape of Robbie Bina. His wrister sailed over Mike Zacharias’ glove to give North Dakota a 2-0 edge.
“We got two power play goals and they got one,” said Sioux coach Dave Hakstol. “Other than that, there wasn’t much difference in the game.”
Perhaps the most exciting moment of the night came just two minutes later when UND’s Rylan Kaip and MSU’s Trevor Bruess dropped the gloves NHL-style following a face-off.
This wasn’t the first time these two have hooked up in a fight; Kaip and Bruess mixed it up last season at Ralph Engelstad Arena (made famous on YouTube). A definitive winner in this match-up may not be decided until a potential playoff match-up, as Kaip seemed to avenge last season’s embarrassing defeat Friday night.
The scrum seemed to ignite the Mavericks, who pulled within one at the 10:29 mark of the period on a wrist shot by Mick Berge.
Zacharias made a pair of big saves down the stretch to keep the UND lead at one, but the Mavericks could not get the puck out of their zone to pull their netminder until 10 seconds remained. By then, there was not enough time for MSU to produce a quality chance.
“I thought it was a hard-played, tense college hockey game,” Jutting said.
UND won the battle on the shot chart, firing 28 pucks at Zacharias while MSU was credited with 25. The Sioux finished 2-for-6 with the man advantage while the Mavs finished 1-for-3.
Minnesota State and North Dakota will faceoff in game two of the series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at the Alltel Center in Mankato.