COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — After Friday night’s game between Colorado College and North Dakota, Sioux coach Dave Hakstol said his team could come back the next night and play a better game.
Though Hakstol didn’t believe his team actually performed as well as he hoped they would, his Sioux managed to beat the Tigers anyway, 3-2, completing the Sioux’s second consecutive weekend sweep.
“For portions of the game, I thought we played very well, but I think [when we didn't] some of that has to be attributed to CC,” said Hakstol. “We knew coming in what their team speed was like and it gave us troubles.”
The Sioux spent most of the first period in the box with a string of three Andrew MacWilliam penalties which they were able to kill successfully, which frustrated the Tigers.
“They were very aggressive, tenacious and they gave us a lot of pressure in breaking the puck out,” said CC coach Scott Owens. “We weren’t very crisp in our passing [and] they were in our zone.”
The fourth penalty called in the frame, though, was on the Tigers, and UND capitalized. The Sioux peppered CC goaltender Joe Howe with shots before Chris VandeVelde was finally able to poke a rebound past Howe for the power-play marker with 3:17 remaining in the period.
The Tigers responded in the beginning of the second period, however. Matt Overman cranked a shot off the post 40 seconds in and then a minute later, Mike Boivin netted his first career goal to knot the game at one. Tyler Johnson fed Boivin with a drop pass, and he shot it stick side past Sioux goaltender Brad Eidsness (27 saves).
UND took the lead back however, about halfway through the period when Matt Frattin one-timed a centering pass from Evan Trupp past Howe (28 saves).
“The first six, seven minutes of the second period, I thought we got into trouble because I thought we tried to get fancy with the puck coming out of our own zone and I thought that played into their team speed,” said Hakstol. “As soon as we cleaned that up, I thought we kind of slowly took the momentum back in the second period, we scored the second goal, and it carried the momentum through the rest of the second period.”
About four minutes later, the Sioux scored again to take a 3-1 lead. Brett Hextall, fresh out of the penalty box for serving an interference penalty, got the puck and fed Danny Kristo. Kristo broke in alone on Howe, deking him to the right before backhanding a shot stick-side into the net.
Owens pulled Howe with 2:25 left in the third period to try and generate some more offense and the gamble paid off 16 seconds later when Ryan Lowery took a shot from the right circle that got deflected by Johnson in front past Eidsness to make it 3-2.
Owens pulled Howe a second time with 1:28 remaining, but the Tigers couldn’t score the equalizer.
“We competed, we battled, we skated well, [but] it’s a good opponent we’re playing,” said Owens. “[They're] good defensively; best defensive team in the league and we had trouble getting anything going.”
With the win, the Sioux clinched home ice for the WCHA playoffs.
“We’ve had to fight hard to do that and I think when you start a season, I know for us, we had a series of goals and home ice in the WCHA playoffs is always your first goal,” said Hakstol. “We’ve done a good job fighting through some adversity throughout the year.”
The Sioux closes out the season at home against Michigan Tech next weekend while the Tigers finish the regular season with a home-and-home series with in-state rival Denver.