The Huskies looked to bounce back Saturday after dropping game one against the Fighting Hawks Friday night.
After lacking energy in their play in game one, the Huskies would come out with a change of batteries to begin this contest. It was a high flying first period that remained scoreless as the clock ticked towards the 10 minute mark. Captain Jimmy Schuldt would take a holding penalty and the Fighting Hawks would gain a man advantage. Sophomore forward Brock Boeser would rip a shot above the right circle that would hit a husky defender and find junior defenseman Tucker Poolman in the high slot, getting it to sophomore forward Rhett Gardner to put it home to get North Dakota on the board at 10:35 in the first. The play was much better on both ends but the result was the same as yesterday as UND would take a 1-0 lead into the locker room after one.
In the second period the Huskies would continue their surge of energy, but would not find anything to show for it on the scoreboard, as Fighting Hawks netminder Cam Johnson was a brick wall, turning away everything he saw. The score was still 1-0 UND late in the period, but a scrum for the puck on the boards in Husky territory would result in Fighting Hawks possessing the puck. Boeser would come away with the puck and his pass would find T. Poolman standing all by his lonesome at the blue line. His point hammer shot would beat Huskies goalie Zach Driscoll high glove side to extend North Dakota’s lead to 2-0 at 16:59 in the second. With 0.9 seconds left in the second sophomore defenseman Will Borgen would take a charging penalty that Head Coach Bob Motzko would call “really questionable,” that would give another man advantage to North Dakota coming out of the break.
It would be game one hero for the Hawks, forward Shane Gersich, that would strike again for the Hawks on the power play that they drew at the end of the second. Sophomore defenseman Christian Wolanin would find fellow bluelineman sophomore Hayden Shaw in transition and he would have plenty of time to survey the ice to find none other than Gersich for the one timer that gave the Fighting Hawks the 3-0 lead 1:12 into the third period.
Name of the game for the Huskies in this one was once again special teams. Handing North Dakota a plethora of power play chances, UND was two for five on the power play this evening, and being unable to capitalize on their own man advantages zero for four on the night for SCSU. The power play for St. Cloud has been cold as of late as they started the year as a top five power play, but have dropped out of the top 30.
Motzko thought his team played better Saturday than Friday, who was optimistic coming off of the sweep, “I hate hard lessons, but we showed up to play tonight. We played extremely hard, our entire roster. We needed a goal to go in. If we had gotten one we would have gotten two.”
Driscoll played very well once again, giving up three goals on 33 shots on net, and Schuldt gave his goaltender high praise, “He played awesome, I can’t say enough good things about him. He kept us in the games both nights. It’s kind of more of a wake up call for our team. You can’t win a game without scoring and he worked his butt off.”
There are definitely some positive things to take away from the improvement the Huskies showed. St. Cloud State (6-6-0, 2-4-0 NCHC) will get next weekend off before they travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan to take on Western Michigan University (7-3-2, 3-3-0 NCHC) Dec. 2 and 3.