GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Two goals by North Dakota sophomore forward David Toews helped the second ranked Fighting Sioux survive a St. Cloud State rally as they posted a 4-2 win over the Huskies at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
In a game of strange bounces and rather peculiar officiating, UND extended its home unbeaten streak to 17 games (14-0-3) and improved its overall record to 7-1-1 (5-1-1 WCHA). The victory enabled the Sioux to remain tied for first with Colorado College in conference standings.
Its a character win, said coach Dave Hakstol, a victory earned after team captain and leading scorer Chay Genoway left the game with an injury late in the second period as the Sioux were clinging to a one-goal lead.
Thats probably a good way to sum it up, Hakstol continued. Its a good two points; its an important two points.
Genoways status for Saturdays game is unknown.
UND jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead off goals by third-line forwards Darcy Zajac and Mario Lamoureux — each tally set up by sophomore defenseman Ben Blood. At 6:23, SCSU freshman goalie Mike Lee stopped Bloods shot from the point, but the rebound went into the slot where Zajac found it and fired it in low stick side.
The Sioux struck again at 13:16 when the 6-4, 220-pound Blood carried the puck deep into the SCSU zone, using his body to protect the puck from Huskies defenseman Garret Raboin. Bloods centering pass from behind the goal line deflected up the slot. Lamoureux got his stick on the puck and shot it through Lees pads, giving the Sioux a 2-0 lead.
A bad first period, was how SCSU coach Bob Motzko summed up the opening stanza. When you fall down 2-0 on the road to this team, youve got yourself a hole. We never recovered.
UND went up 3-0 on a goal by Toews at 7:50 of the second period. He rifled a wrist shot from the top of the left circle off a drop pass by freshman Carter Rowney, beating Lee cleanly short side. The goal stood as the game winner.
Of Toews performance, Hakstol said, Were seeing a continuation of what hes been able to build over the early part of the year. He looks like a very confident player; he looks like a strong player. Were starting to see him do things naturally out there.”
Down three goals, the Huskies refused to buckle, and senior forward Ryan Laschs goal at 11:09 energized SCSU. The Sioux killed a penalty, but were tired and unable clear the zone. Lasch threw the puck on goal from behind the net.
A scramble ensued, and Eidsness appeared to cover the puck. But there was no whistle and the puck ended up in back of the net. After a replay review, the goal stood, and Lasch got credit for it.
Hard work by SCSU in UNDs zone resulted in a hooking penalty to Chris VandeVelde. It took the Huskies just 14 seconds to cash in when junior forward Tony Mosey fired in a rebound off Travis Novaks shot from the point to make it a 3-2 game at 16:42.
The game turned ugly with 2:33 left in the period and the Huskies pressing for a tie. After leading a Sioux rush into the SCSU zone, Genoway took a hit along the boards behind the net and lay motionless on the ice for some time before being helped to the locker room by UNDs trainer. He did not return.
Initially, it appeared there would be no penalty assessed on the play. After a scrum broke out and players from both teams were sent to the penalty box, the officials conferred and then gave junior defenseman Chris Hepp a 5-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind.
However, during the intermission, a tape replay revealed that SCSU junior forward Aaron Marvin was actually the guilty party. The penalty was changed, and Hepp rejoined his team for the third period while Marvin sat out the remainder of the game.
UND appeared disorganized after losing its top defenseman and couldnt generate any good scoring opportunities from 3 minutes of power play time that extended into the third period. But SCSU couldnt take advantage, and the Sioux began to regroup.
Toews gave UND some breathing room with his second goal of the game, scored on the power play at 5:13. Lee stopped a shot from the point by UND defenseman Derrick LaPoint, but gave up a rebound that led to a melee in front of the net. The puck squirted to Toews at the side of the goal where he banked it in off the prone goalies pad to give UND a two-goal lead it wouldnt relinquish.
Actually, I was trying to chip it back door to (Jason) Gregoire, Toews said. I was lucky to get a bounce off (the goalies) leg. Youre always lucky to get those bounce. Ill take that one and run with it.
Hakstol said he wasnt surprised that the Huskies nearly rallied from three goals down.
I give St. Cloud some credit, he said. We knew they were a quick team that would come at us with speed and put puck pressure on us. They did a good job of that.
But in the end, it wasnt enough.
We got back in the game at 3-2, making a cute little story because we did play very hard tonight after the first period, Motzko said. I was really happy with how hard we played.
SCSUs overall record falls to 3-4-2 and 2-2-1 in the WCHA. The two teams will meet for the second game of the series at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Engelstad Arena.