Friday Game React: UND vs. Michigan Tech

Midway through the second period, Michigan Tech and North Dakota were tied at 1-1 and Sioux defenseman Robbie Bina was headed to the penalty box, yet another in a series of UND penalties through the first 30 minutes of the hockey game.

The Sioux used a tenacious penalty kill to fire up the crowd, and shortly after the penalty expired, UND rode that momentum to goals by Joe Finley (10:53 of the second) and Matt Watkins (11:50) to take the Huskies by storm. It was all North Dakota after that, as Taylor Chorney added a third period tally and North Dakota won, 4-1.

So many positive things to note in this edition of the Game React. Evan Trupp, Darcy Zajac, Watkins, and Finley all played possibly their best games of the season, and Jean-Phillipe Lamoureux was solid yet again, allowing only an early second period goal on 15 shots.

After a first period in which shots from the point were slow to develop, UND began shooting quickly during the final forty minutes, and the result was goals from defensemen Joe Finley and Taylor Chorney and numerous other scoring chances. The assignment for the blueliners seemed to be “shoot and shoot again”, a trend I would like to see continue.

Junior forward T.J. Oshie continues to display amazing hands and all-out effort on every shift, qualities that remind me of Zach Parise during his two seasons at North Dakota.

One note about Darcy Zajac. After being held in the offensive zone early in the first period, his retaliation, which was called a two-minute minor for roughing, could have been a five minute major for cross-checking with intent to injure. I’m surprised UND escaped this exchange without a shorthanded situation.

Sophomore forward Chris VandeVelde had another strong game, and is playing like an upperclassman. He tallied two assists and won 14 of 18 faceoffs on the night. For the season, he has now tallied 7 goals and 11 assists in 20 games.

UND finished 1 for 5 on the power play tonight; MTU was 0 for 5 with the man advantage. North Dakota also continues to play well in 4 on 4 situations.

The Sioux improve to 11-8-1 (8-7-0 WCHA) on the season; the Huskies fall to 9-10-2 (5-7-1 WCHA). North Dakota is now 2-1-0 against Michigan Tech this season; UND has outscored MTU 11-4 in the three games.

North Dakota remains in third place in the WCHA, one point ahead of fourth place Minnesota-Duluth, who capped a furious comeback with an overtime winner at home against MSU-Mankato to keep pace with the Sioux.

The same two teams face off at Ralph Engelstad Arena at 7:07 on Saturday night. For more on the matchup between the two teams, click here.

I thank you for reading, and welcome your comments and suggestions. Check back after Saturday’s contest for more reaction, news, and notes.

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