GRAND FORKS, N.D. — If the WCHA hoped to put the recent controversy about its officiating behind it, the outcome of North Dakota’s 3-1 win over visiting Alaska-Anchorage won’t help.
After the Seawolves outshot the Fighting Sioux 36-13 and dominated the game for long stretches, UAA coach Dave Shyiak harshly criticized the officiating. He was particularly incensed after referee Todd Anderson disallowed an apparent goal by the Seawolves in the second period.
Initially, Shyiak said he hadn’t seen the replay, but he thought the goal should have counted.
“In my mind, it should have been a goal,” Shyiak said. “He (Anderson) said our guy entered the crease before the puck and he was interfering with the goaltender. I haven’t watched the video. It’s his responsibility. He thinks differently.”
However, several minutes later, after reviewing the tape, Shyiak came out of the UAA dressing room and said,
“Terrible call. It should’ve been a goal.”
Fighting Sioux coach Dave Hakstol said he didn’t ask for or receive an explanation for why the goal was waived off.
“I didn’t talk to him (Anderson); I haven’t looked at it,” Hakstol said. “He made his call, and to be honest with you, I was more concerned about other things at the time. I was more concerned about what was going on with our team.”
The disputed play came at 12:27 of the second period with UND up 2-0. UAA, however, dominated the contest at that point, out-shooting UND 16-3 in the period. Sioux defenseman Chay Genoway’s turnover in the UND zone led to a Seawolves scoring opportunity.
Goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux stopped UAA’s initial shot, but with the puck just outside the crease, Seawolves’ center Craig Parkinson fell into the crease while going to the net tied up with a Sioux defender. From his knees, Parkinson reached out with his stick and swept the puck into the net, apparently making it a one-goal game.
Anderson immediately reviewed the goal with the help of an assistant referee. After a few minutes, he waived off the goal. A WCHA replay official in the press box said she was not allowed to say why the goal was waived off.
From the goalie’s perspective, Lamoureux immediately questioned the goal.
“I got a good look at it,” he said. “As soon as it went in, I looked at Andy (Anderson) and asked if he was going upstairs (for a replay review). He went upstairs right away.”
Lamoureux believed that Parkinson had pushed the puck in with his hand, although he wasn’t told why the goal was disallowed.
Fourteen seconds after the disallowed goal, UAA scored a goal that counted. With the teams skating four aside, UAA senior forward Merit Waldrop picked defenseman Taylor Chorney’s pocket as he was carrying the puck from behind the Sioux net. Waldrop punched in the puck on a wraparound before Lamoureux could react, making it a 2-1 game.
Waldrop, who also thought Parkinson’s goal should have counted, said the referee’s decision motivated him to play harder.
“I beat my guy to the back of the net, stripped the puck and I saw an opening in his five hole and slipped it through,” he said. “I think I was so fired up, I picked it up to another level.”
UAA, however, would get no closer. Lamoureux made 35 saves, repeatedly stopping the Seawolves on quality scoring chances. The Sioux goalie and UND’s penalty killers held the Seawolves 0-6 on the power play and did not allow a UAA power play goal for the series.
“At the end of the day, you still got to score goals and we had our power play opportunities,” Shyiak said. “I thought we had chances that we just didn’t convert on.”
Although UAA came out with more jump and outshot UND 9-5 in the first period, the Sioux scored two goals on their first three shots. Junior forward T.J. Oshie opened the scoring when he carried the puck out of UND’s zone, skated around Seawolves’ defenseman Luke Beaverson and fired a wrist shot from near the right dot, beating freshman goalie Bryce Christianson short side at 3:45.
At 8:23, junior forward Matt Watkins gave the Sioux a 2-0 lead with his sixth goal of the season. From the right corner, center Chris VandeVelde spotted Watkins uncovered in the slot and hit him with a centering pass. Watkins rifled the puck past Christianson.
After giving up two goals, Shyiak pulled Christianson, who was solid Friday night in his college debut, and replaced him with sophomore Jon Olthuis. The only goal Olthuis gave up on the 10 shots he faced came at 2:36 of the third period.
Just as time expired on a UND power, Oshie held the puck in at the blue line and then fired a pass to VandeVelde, all alone in front of the goal. The sophomore center got Olthuis to go down and swept the puck in behind him, making the final score 3-1.
Hakstol, who usually refrains from singling out individual players for praise, made an exception for this game, giving Oshie and Lamoureux much of the credit for the win.
“Individual efforts make a big difference,” he said. “Phil Lamoureux had a huge individual effort and stole two points for us. Individual efforts like T.J. had scoring the goal and on the penalty kill, those make the difference on a night like tonight where, as a team, it’s just not there.”
In his post-game comments, Shyiak also criticized Anderson for not calling more penalties on the Sioux, although he admitted that it might have worked to the Seawolves’ advantage.
“I think our emotions actually got going after all the missed calls from the officiating,” he said. “In this building, I thought they (the Sioux) got away with a lot of stick work, and our emotions, because of the non-calls, actually got us going a bit.”
With their seventh consecutive victory and third straight sweep, UND improves to 16-6-1 overall and 13-7-0 in the WCHA. The Sioux also moved into sole possession of second place, two points ahead of Denver. The Pioneers, however, were idle this weekend and have four games in hand on UND.
UAA remains in last place in the WCHA with a 2-12-4 record (6-12-6 overall). The Seawolves next play a series at home Feb. 1-2 against Michigan Tech while the Sioux go on the road for a series at Minnesota Feb. 1-2.
Despite failing to earn a point on the weekend, Shyiak said the team’s performance gives him reason for optimism.
“I’m real proud of our effort. I thought all 20 guys contributed. It just wasn’t our fate. If we play like that and have that type of competing and execution, sooner or later we’ll start winning hockey games.”