In a battle of backup goaltenders, UND junior Aaron Walski outdid his Bemidji State counterpart, fellow junior Orlando Alamano. Walski stopped all 13 shots he faced on the afternoon in his first career start for North Dakota. The amount of action was a far cry from the legendary 73 shots he turned aside in a 2-1, triple overtime loss in the North Dakota state high school championship game exactly seven years earlier.
Alamano made 31 of 32 saves for the Beavers, allowing only Andrew Kozek’s game winner with under five minutes to play. The game was Alamano’s sixth start of the season.
Kozek’s game-winning goal was a product of T.J. Oshie’s effort behind the net.
“(Oshie) is just a heck of a hockey player,” Bemidji head coach Tom Serratore noted. “He had people draped all over him. I mean, what do you do? It’s just a heck of a play.”
Andrew Kozek also appreciated Oshie’s effort.
“T.J. just put it in a great spot for me to kind of step into it,” Kozek said. “He had three guys all over him, like he usually does. It was just a great play by him.”
Kozek leads the team with 14 goals. Oshie has 20 assists this season, second only to Robbie Bina’s 21.
North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol said Oshie’s play elevates his teammates.
“His play is at a very high level, and that has a tendency to bring the level of play of the team up,” he said. “It also has the effect of bringing up the confidence level of our hockey team. He did a tremendous job tonight with his effort and playmaking in all areas.”
The number 13 was lucky for Walski, as he turned aside all 13 shots he faced. 13 was also lucky for the entire North Dakota program, as the Sioux are now unbeaten in their last 13 games (12-0-1), a streak that leads the nation. That stretch has seen North Dakota’s record go from 9-8-1 to a stellar 21-8-2. UND also extended its home winning streak to eight games, the longest streak in the new Ralph Engelstad Arena.
UND senior goaltender Jean-Philippe Lamoureux saw his string of 55 consecutive starts (a school record which ranks third all-time in NCAA history) come to an end.
North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol collected his 98th and 99th career victories against Bemidji State, and will look to hit the century mark when the Sioux travel to Duluth to take on the Bulldogs next weekend. Only three other coaches in UND history (Rube Bjorkman, John “Gino” Gasparini, and Dean Blais) have collected 100 wins. Of those three, only Dean Blais (.679) holds a better career winning percentage than Hakstol’s .639 (99-53-13).
Thank you for reading. I welcome your comments and suggestions. For more on the matchup between the teams, click here. For reaction to Saturday’s series opener, click here.