GRAND FORKS, N.D. — St. Cloud State came to Ralph Engelstad Arena needing a win to secure home ice for the playoffs. North Dakota needed a win to keep its hopes alive for at least a share of the WCHA title.
When it was over, all the Fighting Sioux and the Huskies had to show for their efforts was 1-1 tie. Neither team got what it wanted, although UND extended its nation-leading unbeaten streak to 14-0-2, tying the school record.
Obviously we wanted the two points, said UND captain Rylan Kaip, who scored the game-tying goal. Both teams had a lot to play for tonight and it was a hard-fought game.
Colorado Colleges 5-2 win over Denver gave the Tigers the WCHA title and means that number-one ranked UND can finish no higher or lower than second in the league. SCSU moved into a tie for fifth place with Wisconsin and will need at least one point in Saturdays game to gain home ice for the conference playoffs next weekend.
That was probably the most disappointing thing tonight, said SCSU coach Bob Motzko. I thought we had some chances to make plays and we just didnt make them.
We looked a little nervous and tentative, he said. You have to give yourself a chance to score more than one goal. We werent playing to tie. We need a win.
It was a fast-paced game with few whistles, fewer penalties and some controversial calls and non-calls by the officials. Motzko insisted after the game that an apparent goal scored by SCSU early in the third period should have counted. Sioux coach Dave Hakstol was visibly upset when UNDs Ryan Duncan was pulled down on a scoring opportunity during overtime and no penalty was called.
The first period ended 0-0 as UND dominated play. SCSU didnt generate a shot on goal until 12 minutes were gone. The Sioux outshot the Huskies 8-2 in the first period.
It would have been a shot in the arm if we would have got one in the first period and had something to show for that period, Hakstol said.
We had to weather the storm the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game, and then I thought we played a pretty good game, Motzko said.
About 10 minutes into the second period, UND appeared to score first when sophomore center Chris VandeVelde came out from behind the net and rammed home a wraparound past goalie Jase Weslosky. But before the puck crossed the line on the far side, the net lifted up and the puck came out the other side. After reviewing the play, referee Todd Anderson ruled no goal because the net was off its moorings.
The first penalty of the game came at the 16:02 mark when UND freshman Brad Malone was called for slashing. The Huskies wasted little time capitalizing on the man advantage.
Freshman center Garrett Roe faked out Sioux defenseman Joe Finley with a spin-o-ramma move to the right of goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, then passed across the crease to Ryan Lasch. He dropped a pass back to junior forward John Swanson who one-timed a shot past Lamoureux.
I dont think what Roe did was really a designed play, but he made a great move to get to the net, Swanson said. Lasch made a good heads-up play to find me in the middle and I was lucky enough to hit the open net.
On a delayed penalty with less than a minute left in the second, Weslosky bailed out the Huskies during a mad scramble in front of the net as the Sioux tried to pound the puck through a pile of bodies with the extra attacker on. SCSU held firm and killed the lone power play the Sioux received.
UND tied it up at 1:55 of the third period off a fortunate bounce. Approaching the SCSU zone with speed, senior forward Rylan Kaip fired a slapshot just outside the blue line that hit the glass behind the net. As Weslosky turned backward to play the puck, it bounced into the crease where Kaip alertly swatted it in for UNDs only goal.
You dont usually get many bounces like that, Kaip said. I was just trying to get the puck on net. I had lots of speed to go in for the forecheck. Luckily, it just bounced on my stick and I was able to tap it in.
The Huskies appeared to score the go-ahead goal at the 3:10 mark when Lasch and Swanson entered UNDs zone on a 2-on-1 rush. A Sioux defenseman tipped Swansons cross-ice pass to Lasch, who swatted it out of the air with his stick and past Lamoureux.
However, Anderson immediately waived off the goal, signaling that it was played with a high stick. After reviewing the video replay, Anderson again disallowed the goal because of the high stick violation.
After the game, Motzko strongly disagreed with Andersons ruling.
It was a goal, he said. What do you do? It was clearly a goal. I just watched it.
Motzko said that when Lasch hit the puck out of the air, it was at his waist.
It wasnt even close, he contended.
Hakstol said that he hadnt seen replays of either goal Anderson disallowed.
In those cases, you trust in the officials and assume the right call is made, he said. Im sure it was.
UND hasnt given up more than one goal in its last six games. Although the Sioux have tallied just six goals in their last four games, Hakstol isnt concerned about scoring.
Were generating opportunities, he said. We need to get a little hungrier. We need to finish on those opportunities. But we are creating opportunities, so eventually it will come.
The two teams meet for the final game of the regular season at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Engelstad Arena.