HOUGHTON, Mich. — In a span of just 4:39, the No. 1 North Dakota Fighting Sioux put a stranglehold on their final regular season victory of the season by putting up four goals to just one by the Michigan Tech Huskies.
The Sioux went on to strike seven more times before the night was over to come away from the MacInnes Student Ice Arena with a 11-2 win on Saturday night. Sioux forward Jason Gregoire finished with a hat trick and four points.
“We wanted to really focus on what we were doing,” said Sioux coach Dave Hakstol. “We wanted to get out and get everybody into the game, get a couple of good shifts under our belt, and try to set a tone for our game.”
Forwards Brad Malone and Gregoire both tallied in the first 49 seconds of play to give the Sioux an early advantage before Huskies fans could even find their seats. Malone’s goal, which came just 23 seconds in, redirected off a Huskies defender past starting goaltender Josh Robinson. Gregoire’s tally came on a one-timer from Robinson’s left.
“Obviously we didn’t get a good start,” said Huskies coach Jamie Russell. “They scored on their first shot … it put us back on our heels. We didn’t have good composure and they scored on their next shift.”
The Huskies managed to cut the Sioux lead to one just 34 seconds later when freshman center Patrick McCadden found the back of the net behind Sioux netminder Brad Eidsness. Freshman winger Tyler Gubb and Aaron Pietila both assisted on the goal, McCadden’s fourth of the season.
Gregoire regained the two-goal lead for the Sioux (26-8-3, 21-6-1 WCHA) at 2:32 when he beat Robinson with the Sioux’s third shot of the net. Forwards Corban Knight and Brett Hextall both assisted on the goal.
Sioux forward Matt Frattin ended Robinson’s night when he scored the fourth goal of the night for the visitors at 4:39. Forward Mario Lamoureux picked up one of his four assists for the night on the goal.
Sophomore Kevin Genoe replaced Robinson and had to deal with four minutes worth of a five-minute major after junior forward Ricky Doriott took a checking from behind penalty while the Huskies (4-28-4, 2-24-2) were on the power play. Just over two minutes into the penalty, the Sioux struck as Hextall scored his first goal of the night at 9:46. Gregoire and Frattin both picked up assists.
Things didn’t get much better for Genoe as late in the period Sioux forward Evan Trupp took a pass from Malone and beat Genoe with a one-timer at 17:43. Knight notched his second assist of the night on the power-play goal.
Gregoire netted his third goal of the night just 59 seconds into the second period when Lamoureux lost control of the puck in the offensive zone. Gregoire picked it up and beat Genoe with a wrist shot.
The Huskies’ second goal of the night came off the stick of sophomore defenseman Carl Nielsen, who blasted a slap shot that beat Eidsness at 7:58 of the middle period.
Sioux forward Brock Nelson scored twice on separate power plays in a 3:10 span in the latter stages of the second period to put the Sioux up 9-2. His first goal, which came at 13:54, was assisted by captain Chay Genoway and Hextall. Genoway was playing in his first game after missing eight with an injury.
“[Chay] did a good job,” said Hakstol. “The biggest thing is just fitting back in with the team and doing his part. Obviously, he’s an important player to us.”
Nelson’s second goal was the result of a rebound after forward Brent Davidson attempted a wraparound at 17:04. Lamoureux assisted on the goal.
Russell called on junior Corson Cramer to backstop the Huskies in the third period, and Cramer held his own for the first 11 minutes of play, coming up with key saves on Malone and Genoway about 30 seconds apart.
Sioux forward Derek Rodwell beat Cramer at 11:05 by redirecting a shot from defenseman Derek Forbort past him. Lamoureux also assisted on the goal.
Hextall capped the scoring with a tip off another Forbort shot at 17:42 with the Sioux on the man advantage. Sioux forward Joe Gleason assisted on the goal.
Eidsness made 18 stops to earn just his second win of the season. Robinson, Genoe, and Cramer combined to stop 25 of 36 Sioux shots.
The Sioux finished 5-for-7 on the power play while holding the Huskies scoreless in five tries.