Tonight’s game demonstrated what can happen when North Dakota competes at a high level for 60 minutes.
The Fighting Sioux scored four even-strength goals in Friday’s opener after going more than 13 periods of hockey without a 5 on 5 tally. UND went 3 for 7 with the man advantage after Cornell had allowed only one power play goal all season (in 30 opportunities). And North Dakota chased Cornell goaltender Ben Scrivens from the game after scoring five goals on 26 shots. In six games prior to tonight, Scrivens had given up 5 goals TOTAL.
Here were Scriven’s numbers coming into the weekend series:
Four wins, two ties. 0.81 goals-against average, .971 save percentage, 2 shutouts.
And tonight: A 6.34 goals-against average and a save percentage of .808.
Don’t get me wrong, Scriven’s season numbers are still stellar (1.44 GAA, .949 SV). But it’s a good sign that North Dakota got to Scrivens early and often.
The key moment in the hockey game was UND forward Matt Frattin’s second goal. Cornell had pulled to within one on Riley Nash’s breakaway goal less than five minutes into the third period, and the Big Red had all the momentum. Two and a half minutes after Nash’s goal, Frattin and Gregoire came down the wing together, and Frattin beat Scrivens over the shoulder to make the score 5-3 and chase Scrivens from the hockey game.
“When we got down 4-3, we had some really good scoring chances,” Cornell head coach Mike Schafer said. “Hopefully, we learned our lesson that if we do get down (Saturday) night, not to play the way we did in the third, trying to open it up rather than sticking with things a little bit longer in order to get ourselves back in the game,” he added. “It was a tighter game than the score would indicate. It’s just one of those things where you regroup, revamp, and get ready to go again tomorrow.”
North Dakota junior defenseman Chay Genoway has been everything for the Sioux this season. Genoway scored a goal and added three assists to take over the team scoring lead. I have no idea how he was not voted Player of the Game. (For those of you who were not at the arena, Matt Frattin was not one of the choices despite having two goals at the time of the voting).
Genoway was noticeably absent during the starting lineups, even though he was announced as a starter. Maybe he had a wardrobe malfunction.
It’s worrisome that Sioux defensemen Matt Jones, Jake Marto, Derrick LaPoint, and Ben Blood are still scoreless on the season. The four have played a combined 50 games without a point.
The line of Jason Gregoire, Evan Trupp, and Matt Frattin was very effective tonight. For the game, the three forwards tallied 4 goals and 5 assists.
I thought it was a shame that Frattin’s hat trick only garnered a single cap on the ice. I understand that there is a lot going on at the arena, but come on, people! One hat?!? If I thought I could have made it over the netting, I would have launched mine from 306.
Before tonight’s game, Cornell had not allowed a hat trick to any player since January 15, 1999, a streak of 328 games. Incidentally, 1999 is also the last year Cornell surrendered seven goals in a game, losing 7-5 at Rensselaer on February 26th. As you might have guessed, the Big Red last had a losing season in 1998-99 (12-15-4).
North Dakota played a solid first period and then took over the hockey game, outshooting Cornell 25 to 11 over the final forty minutes of play. After trailing 2-1 late in the first, the Fighting Sioux outscored the Big Red 6-1 to close out the game.
UND (5-7-1) handed Cornell (4-1-2) its first loss of the season. With the victory, North Dakota moves to 1-2-0 in non-conference play. The two teams meet again at Ralph Engelstad Arena on Saturday night. The puck drops at 7:07 p.m.
Thank you for reading. As always, I welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions.