GRAND FORKS, N.D. — St. Cloud State snapped No. 2 North Dakota’s 17-game home unbeaten streak behind an excellent 46-save effort by junior goalie Dan Dunn.
“He was outstanding tonight, there’s no question,” SCSU coach Bob Motzko said of Dunn’s performance.
In their 3-2 victory before 11,782 fans at Ralph Engelstad Arena, the Huskies turned the tables on the Fighting Sioux, jumping out to a 3-0 lead and then holding off UND’s late-game comeback. In Friday’s game, UND went up 3-0 and then withstood a SCSU rally.
“It’s tough to get a win in this building, I’ll tell you,” Dunn said. “But everyone came out to play tonight.”
Goaltending proved to be the biggest difference, especially in the first period when the Sioux outshot the Huskies 20-6. Freshman Aaron Dell got his second start of the season for UND, but was pulled just 14 seconds into the second period when he gave up his third goal on just seven shots. Brad Eidsness replaced Dell and stopped all 22 shots he faced.
“Last night, we fell down 2-0, and it’s hard to come back in this league,” Motzko said. “Tonight, we got up 2-0, and we played a solid game in front of that to hold it off.”
Motzko started the 6-5, 200-pound Dunn after freshman Mike Lee gave up four goals on 25 shots Friday. On Saturday, it was the Huskies turn to take advantage of a rookie goaltender.
“We were able to sneak a couple past their young guy, and that’s what happened to us last night,” Motzko said. “It’s a tough league. It’s a learning experience for all these guys.”
Between Dunn’s solid play and a more physical effort, the Huskies matched UND’s intensity after the first period, at times controlling play in the Sioux zone with tenacious forechecking. Motzko said it wasn’t so much a question of the Huskies matching UND’s physical play as withstanding it.
“That’s a tough as game as we can physically play in,” he said. “Our guys withstood it. We got stronger as the game went on.”
UND played without defenseman Chay Genoway, its senior captain and leading scorer. He left Friday’s game late in the second period after a check from behind by SCSU’s Aaron Marvin.
“He’s just one of those guys you can’t replace,” UND center Brad Malone said of Genoway. “He’s a leader on and off the ice.”
UND coach Dave Hakstol said all he could report on Genoway’s condition is that “He’s out indefinitely.”
Marvin’s penalty was later changed to a game disqualification, making him ineligible for Saturday’s game. The Huskies, however, got back their leading scorer, junior center Garret Roe, who served a one-game team suspension Friday.
Roe didn’t have a point in the game. His presence didn’t help the Huskies as much as Genoway’s absence hurt UND. The Sioux went into the game with the WCHA’s second best power play, but went 0-for-six on the man advantage without Genoway on the blue line.
As with Friday’s game, the officiating was again at issue. With SCSU up 2-0 in the first period, UND’s Brett Hextall appeared to notch a power-play goal, jamming the puck under Dunn’s pad during a scrum in the crease. Although the goal light came on, the referee immediately waived off the goal and it was disallowed after a review. The explanation given was that the whistle had blown, even though the replay didn’t appear to confirm that.
Hakstol, red faced and clearly unhappy with the call, said he was told that the referee hadn’t actually blown his whistle, but intended to.
“I don’t know; I don’t care,” he said. “I disagree with it.”
He then added, “I like consistency from night to night,” referring to a goal the Huskies scored Friday under similar circumstances that had been counted.
Although UND dominated the opening period, it was SCSU that capitalized on its opportunities and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. After the Sioux killed three straight SCSU power plays, including 40 seconds of five-on-three, UND got its first chance with the man advantage.
When UND point man Danny Kristo got caught deep in the Huskies’ zone, it created a two-on-one rush with sophomore forward Travis Novak carrying the puck down the right side. He froze Dell and fired a wrister that went in far side. The unassisted short-handed goal gave SCSU a 1-0 lead at 13:12.
The Huskies went up 2-0 at 15:40 on senior forward Ryan Lasch’s second goal of the weekend. Freshman forward David Eddy fired a hard, low shot from the top of the right circle that Dell couldn’t handle. Crashing the net, Lasch fired in the rebound to give the Huskies a two-goal lead.
The Huskies scored on their first shot on goal just 14 second into the second period, to take a 3-0 lead. Senior defenseman Craig Gaudet’s slap shot from the left point found its way through traffic and into the back of the net. That caused Hakstol to replace Dell with Eidsness.
UND got on the board at 1:23 of the second when junior center Brad Malone fired in forward David Toews’ centering pass from behind the net.
Dunn stopped two quality short-handed scoring chances by the Sioux. In the first period, he stoned forward Mario Lamoureux on a clean breakaway. In the second period, he blanked the Sioux on a three-on-one rush, stopping defenseman Jake Marto’s shot and quickly covering up the rebound.
The Sioux made it interesting at the end when center Chris VandeVelde knocked in an extra-attacker goal with 1:44 remaining. UND continued to apply pressure, but couldn’t get the puck past Dunn and the SCSU defender again. It was the first home loss for the Sioux since they lost 2-1 to Cornell on Nov. 29 last year.
Dunn said SCSU was aware of UND’s unbeaten streak going into the series.
“Our whole team knew about it right off the bat,” he said. ‘It was something we were thinking about coming in: How great would it be to break that? So we’re happy that we did and everyone came out to play tonight.”
Despite the outcome, Hakstol was satisfied overall with UND’s effort.
“We were ready to play tonight,” he said. “I thought we did that for the better part of 60 minutes, but it wasn’t enough. The end result is still a loss.”
UND, now 7-2-1 overall and 5-2-1 in the WCHA, falls to second place in the league. They next travel to Denver for a series against the Pioneers Nov. 20-21. SCSU improves to 4-4-2 overall and 3-2-1 in league play (sixth in the conference standings). The Huskies are at home for a series with Wisconsin Nov. 20-21.