ST. CLOUD, Minn. — In gaining an important split, the University of North Dakota righted all the wrongs that coach Dave Hakstol pointed out from the night before to avenge their first road loss of the season.
Trevor Olson lit the lamp less than three minutes into the game, and his second goal proved to be the game-winner as No. 2 North Dakota edged No. 16 St. Cloud State 3-2 Saturday night to split their NCHC series.
“I think we did everything better,” Hakstol said.
Huskies coach Bob Motzko thought so too.
“They’ve got a proud team and a great-coached team and they responded and played their tails off; they just had more determination,” Motzko said.
Olson celebrated his 21st birthday in style Saturday night, as he scored not only the first goal of his career to open the game, but later had the game-winner in helping UND avoid getting swept in St. Cloud for the first time since November 2-3, 2001.
“It feels really good,” Olson said of his first two goals. “All those guys have been working so hard for me; I felt like I could return the favor.”
Determined to give their loyal traveling fan base something to cheer about after a flat performance Friday, North Dakota came out with a vengeance. After losing 34 of 56 draws Friday, UND established a nice early edge in faceoff wins Saturday, and it helped them get on the board quickly. After Olson’s first tally, Brendan O’Donnell doubled the lead 1:17 later when he and Colten St. Clair led a two-on-one break off a St. Cloud turnover and wristed it past SCSU goaltender Charlie Lindgren to put the Huskies in an early 2-0 hole.
[photoshelter-gallery g_id=”G0000qFR2cIAUugg” g_name=”20141122-NorthDakota-StCloud” f_show_caption=”t” f_show_slidenum=”t” img_title=”casc” pho_credit=”iptc” f_link=”t” f_bbar=”t” fsvis=”f” width=”500″ height=”375″ bgcolor=”#AAAAAA” bgtrans=”t” btype=”old” bcolor=”#CCCCCC” crop=”f” trans=”xfade” tbs=”4000″ f_ap=”t” linkdest=”c” f_fullscreen=”f” f_constrain=”f” twoup=”f” f_topbar=”f” f_bbarbig=”” f_htmllinks=”f” f_enable_embed_btn=”f” f_show_watermark=”f” f_send_to_friend_btn=”f” f_smooth=”f” f_mtrx=”f” f_up=”f” target=”_self” wmds=”llQ6QNgpeC.p1Ucz7U.f2JUvzXpVXLOC_1rDfNqxskZj7jS9FmMW635EY1QoEGkjstLajg–” ]”We had a good start, and we carried that through,” said Hakstol. “We did a good job continuing and building momentum for us.”
However, SCSU wouldn’t quit. Patrick Russell quickly cut the lead in half by scoring on a wrist shot from the right circle. His third goal of the season beat North Dakota goaltender Zane McIntyre 55 seconds after O’Donnell’s goal to make it 2-1.
Immediately after UND killed off a late penalty in the first, they led a three-on-none break to try to restore their two-goal lead, but somehow Lindgren was able to deny them with a great save and keep it a one-goal game after one period.
“He keeps us in the game [with that save],” Russell said of his goaltender.
Olson opened the second period scoring with his second goal of the game about six minutes into the middle period, but St. Cloud State pulled back within a goal seven and a half minutes later when Joey Benik fired a sharp-angle shot from McIntyre’s right along the red goal line. The puck somehow went in to give Benik his sixth goal of the season, and the sellout crowd of 5,569 at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center roared.
“It gave us some momentum back,” said Russell.
“I kind of got lucky,” Benik said modestly when asked about his goal. “I think it bounced off the goalie’s head or something.”
“It was a horrible angle,” said Motzko. “But he knew what he was doing with it.”
Mark MacMillan appeared to give UND its two-goal lead back near the end of the second, but the referees determined that Lindgren was interfered with and the goal was waved off, so it was only 3-2 UND after two periods.
Once the third period began, North Dakota started to get it going on defense. They started battering the Huskies in their own zone and they didn’t let them set up to try to tie the game. St. Cloud State was unable to score the equalizer despite late pressure.
“We played better without the puck tonight,” Hakstol said. “We weren’t standing around, we were defending. Every scrum, every battle, we were engaged.”
“Tonight, I think the third period was probably our best 20 minutes and we got the job done,” said MacMillan.