Gophers tie with UND on Saturday night
GRAND FORKS -- After three straight blowouts in Ralph Engelstad Arena, UND and Minnesota finally produced a game that's expected when these two rivals get together.
There were a couple of lead changes, momentum swung back and fourth, the penalty box was standing room only at one point and both teams had golden chances to win the game. Ultimately, and perhaps fittingly, it ended with a 3-3 tie on Saturday in front of 11,898.
"I think everybody in the building needed some oxygen late in that third period," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "They had some great opportunities late in the third. I thought we turned the tables a little bit in overtime and had momentum, had some opportunities there. What it boils down to is that I thought it was just a well played, exciting college hockey game."
Sioux defenseman Jake Marto scored the game-tying goal with 6 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in regulation and made a skate save to prevent a Gopher goal with about a minute left.
UND captain Chay Genoway, who Hakstol admits was not at 100 percent this weekend, scored the other two goals to help the Sioux improve to 3-0-1 on the season and extend a home-winning streak to 16 games (13-0-3).
Minnesota (0-1-1) responded from a lackluster effort on Friday with a much better game to close the series. Coach Don Lucia lamented Minnesota's special teams struggles - the Gophers went 0-for-9 on the power play on the weekend and gave up four power-play goals to the Sioux.
But Mike Hoeffel scored a pair of goals and Jay Barriball added another as Minnesota was much sharper on offense than it was during a 4-0 shutout on Friday night.
"We played harder, we finished hits on the forecheck harder," Hoeffel said, "we're just disappointed we didn't get two points."
The Sioux outshot Minnesota 25-11 through two periods, but the tide started turning in the third. The Gophers outshot UND in the third 7-6 and had the better of the opportunities.
"I thought a tie is a fitting end," Hakstol said. "We're sloppy in some areas. We turned a lot of pucks over without having a lot of pressure coming to us. I think both teams played extremely hard. Both teams had times where they were a bit sloppy. But both teams also made a lot of good plays. At the end of the day, it was a fitting outcome."
Minnesota, now 2-9-2 in its last 13 games against the Sioux, made a change in goal. Sophomore Kent Patterson started for just the second time in his career and made 31 saves.
Brad Eidsness, who started his 38th consecutive game, made 16 saves for the Sioux.
The Gophers took their first lead on the Sioux since the 2007-08 season when Barriball scored 6:20 into the game. Barriball led a 2-on-1 rush along the right wing and took the shot himself to score Minnesota's first goal of the season.
UND responded with back-to-back power play goals by Genoway.
The defenseman blasted a shot from the point to tie the game at 2:46 of the second period and got in front of the net to score at 6:55. Danny Kristo sent a point shot to the crease, where Genoway hit the post with his backhand and finished off the rebound with his forehand.
"He's got the heart of a lion," Hakstol said of Genoway. "I thought all of our captains did a good job this weekend in a high-intensity series. Tonight was everything I thought it would be with Minnesota coming back with a much better effort. Our captains did a good job of leading our team with what was a tough hockey game."
Hoeffel then scored back-to-back goals - a shorthanded tally midway through the second and an even-strength goal at 11:52 of the third - to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead.
Marto, a Grand Forks Central graduate, threaded a point shot to tie it.
" We knew they'd come out twice as hard and they certainly did that," UND's Jason Gregoire said. "We battled back from a couple of goal deficits and showed what kind of character our team has this year. I'm really proud of us. To walk away with three points this weekend is a big deal."
Notes: Corban Knight was inserted on the fourth line in place of Brett Bruneteau for the Sioux. . . Minnesota made changes at both forward and defense. Joe Miller replaced freshman Josh Birkholz up front and Kevin Wehrs replaced Sam Lofquist on the blue line. . . A scuffle broke out about five minutes into the second period, when Eidsness was hit after the whistle. All five players on the ice for both teams ended up going to the box. Brett Hextall, one of the players sent to the box, didn't return until the third period.