MANKATO, Minn. — Just 24 hours removed from scoring two power-play goals in a 2-1 win over No. 20 Minnesota State, the North Dakota power play was the difference once again.
The No. 6 Fighting Sioux (14-8-1 overall, 11-7-0 WCHA) scored a goal with the man advantage in each period and added a shorthanded tally en route to a 5-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association sweep of the Mavericks (9-10-4, 3-9-4) in front of 5,087 at the Alltel Center.
“We did what we wanted to this weekend,” said Mavericks’ coach Troy Jutting. “If you look at it, three or four of their power play goals were shot in from the blue line. There is not much you can do to defend that. When they have five and you have four, you want those shots to come from outside.”
“We got rewarded, especially tonight, for shooting the puck,” said Fighting Sioux coach Dave Hakstol. “All the power-play goals were point shots or rebounds. Our guys did a great job of playing smart, simple hockey and using their hockey sense.
“We got enough pucks to the net, and fortunately they found holes.”
North Dakota scored first on their third power-play goal of the weekend at 8:34 of the first period. Taylor Chorney fired a perfect pass to Chris VandeVelde in the slot, who fired a wrist shot past MSU goalie Mike Zacharias.
UND went up 2-0 less than two minutes later, this time on a shorthanded tally. T.J. Oshie won a faceoff to Ryan Duncan, who pushed the puck past Zacharias at 9:58.
The Mavericks narrowed their deficit to one at 15:47 of the first as Mick Berge took the puck out of the right corner, wheeled to the slot, and fired a wrister past Jean-Philippe Lamoureux. The goal was the first even-strength tally of the weekend for either team and Berge’s second goal of the weekend.
UND went back on top by two at 15:55 of the second. Chay Genoway blasted a slap shot from the point that Zacharias thought he had, but the puck trickled between his legs and lay in the crease, where a pair of Fighting Sioux forwards were waiting on the doorstep to bang it home. Andrew Kozek was credited with the goal.
As time wound down in the second period, the Mavericks made it 3-2 on an even-strength goal by Jon Kalinski. The puck was seemingly buried in the corner to Lamoureux’s right, but it somehow squirted free to Kalinski, who slipped it past the netminder with 0.5 seconds remaining in the period. Kael Mouillierat and Berge had assists.
“Any time you get a goal with less than a minute left, it should be a big momentum boost.” Berge said.
However, as they had done all weekend, the Sioux capitalized on yet another power play early in the third. Genoway blasted a slap shot from the blue line that found its way through traffic at 2:48.
“They took the momentum back after that,” said Jutting. “And then to give up another one right away, that just takes the wind out of your sails.”
North Dakota added an insurance goal just 12 seconds later on Evan Trupp’s fifth goal of the season. Matt Frattin chalked up his third assist of the evening.
“I was just finding the open guy on the power play,” Frattin said. “The shots were just getting through and going in.”
The goal also chased Zacharias from the game in favor of Dan Tormey, who saw his first action since a Nov. 17 game at Denver.
The Mavericks added a late power-play goal on a wrister by Jerad Stewart at 18:37.
Minnesota State will continue WCHA play next weekend with a home-and-home series against in-state rival St. Cloud State. Friday’s 7:37 p.m. face-off will be at the Alltel Center in Mankato. UND returns home for a weekend set against Alaska-Anchorage. Friday’s face-off is scheduled for 7:37 p.m.