GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Looking for its first home sweep of the season, North Dakota broke out its lucky black jerseys for a rare appearance before 11,941 fans at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
It worked, as the Fighting Sioux stormed to a 5-0 first period lead against a stunned St. Cloud State team and then cruised to a 6-2 victory. Six different UND players scored, three collected their first goals of the season and 13 different players — including goalie Aaron Dell — had at least one point.
“We needed that this weekend,” said UND coach Dave Hakstol, noting that the Sioux entered the series with two of its top forwards sidelined with injuries. “We needed different guys to step up. The scoring was spread out tonight, which was obviously a key for us.”
Ironically, the last and only other time the Sioux wore their black uniforms at home was almost exactly eight years ago when they swept the Huskies. Under Hakstol, UND has lost just once in more than 20 games while wearing it black uniforms.
“This is my fourth year and we’ve never worn blacks at home,” said senior Matt Frattin. “Everybody was pretty jacked up, and I guess it showed in the first period.”
The sweep put UND (11-5-2, 9-3-0 WCHA) alone in second place in the conference, one point behind Minnesota Duluth. SCSU (5-9-2, 3-6-1 WCHA) dropped to 11th in league play after being picked to finish near the top of the conference in preseason polls.
SCSU senior goalie Dan Dunn, who’s enjoyed some success against UND, got the start for the Huskies. For nearly the first six minutes, he held the Sioux scoreless. But then the UND struck for three goals in less than three minutes to take a 3-0 lead.
Senior forward Evan Trupp got it started when he tipped in Frattin’s centering pass in at 5:57. At the 6:24 mark, senior defenseman Derrick LaPoint notched his first goal of the season by firing in a rebound. Senior forward Brent Davidson, who’s seen little ice time this season, made it 3-0 at 8:24 when he knocked in the rebound off his own shot at 8:24.
“It was sure nice to see him score a goal,” Hakstol said of Davidson. “It’s a nice reward for a guy who puts in as much or more for extra time than anyone on our team, working on his skills, keeping himself sharp and ready to go into the lineup.”
Frattin tallied his 15th goal of the season at 10:50 when he rifled in the rebound off a shot by Jake Marto to give UND a 4-0 lead. At that point, sophomore goalie Mike Lee replaced Dunn in the nets. But the Sioux upped their lead to 5-0 at 16:21 when sophomore center Corban Knight one-timed a centering pass from forward Danny Kristo to give UND a commanding 5-0 lead at the end of one period.
The Sioux received a standing ovation from their fans as they left the ice at the end of the opening stanza.
“We played good hockey,” Hakstol said. “We played hard, we played fast and we played pretty straight up. That’s the reward from it.”
SCSU coach Bob Motzko didn’t sugar-coat his words about how the Huskies opened the game.
“Holy mackerel, that wasn’t something we wanted to see,” he said. “We just let them freely come into our zone and we didn’t pick any checks up in the first period. We were standing around. It’s awfully tough to dig a hole like that.”
Neither team scored in the second period. Dunn went back in goal for the Huskies for the final 20 minutes. SCSU outscored UND 2-1 in the third period on goals by freshman forward Mitch MacMillan at 3:58 and junior forward Travis Novak at 12:35. Between those, UND picked up a power-play goal from junior forward Mario Lamoureux at 9:41, his first of the season, making the final score 6-2.
“Tonight, they (UND) came out wanting to win,” said SCSU captain Aaron Marvin. “They wanted to send a message, and they did that. The second and third period, we started playing better, but that first period, there’s no excuse for it. They just came out and outworked us.”
Hakstol said most of the Sioux goals weren’t pretty, but were the result of working hard for shots off rebound opportunities.
“You’ve got to get to some tough areas if you want to score goals regularly,” he said. “We did that tonight. The guys did a great job of that.”
Motzko said that he couldn’t put the blame on Dunn or Lee for the team’s performance.
“We had to throw both goalies in there, and you can’t fault them on anything tonight, not a thing,” he said.
UND next travels to Minnesota State for a two-game WCHA series Dec. 10-11. SCSU will host a series with Colorado College Dec. 10-11.