DU Suffers Shocking Loss At Possum Hollow

(above) UND's Joe Finley checks DU's Julian Marcuzzi into the boards
Photo Credit: John Stennes

From: USCHO.com
by Pat Miller
Possum Hollow, ND - North Dakota kept its nation-best 9-0-1 unbeaten streak alive by scoring four unanswered goals to defeat the visiting Denver Pioneers 5-4 in a thriller played in front of a sell-crowd of 11,793 at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The Pioneers looked to have the game well in hand when they built a 4-1 lead at 8:09 of the second period, but the Fighting Sioux scored two goals in the final minute of that period to make it a one-goal game and regain the momentum.

“We didn’t panic when we were down 4-1,” said Ryan Duncan, last season’s Hobey Baker winner, who had a goal and three assists. “There was still half the game left. We just stuck together as a group. We came out in the third period and got the job done.”

Denver coach George Gwozdecky said it was disappointing that the Pioneers couldn’t put away the Sioux after building a three-goal lead.

“The difference in the game was obviously in the last two minutes of the period when we got a little lazy in clearing our zone both times and, as a result, paid for it,” he said. “We got a little reckless and weren’t able to finish it off.”

UND junior forward Andrew Kozek recorded his first career hat trick, scoring the game-tying and the game-winning goals in the third period. Recruited for his goal-scoring ability, his skill was on display as he played on UND’s top line with Duncan and center T.J. Oshie, a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues.

“It’s definitely pretty easy playing with those guys,” he said. “They make the game a lot easier for you.”

What many expected to be a defensive struggle turned into an offensive slugfest as two of the top goalies in the WCHA struggled.

UND’s Jean-Philippe Lamoureux entered the contest with the best save percentage and goals against average in the nation, but he gave up four goals on Denver’s first eight shots. Pioneers’ goalie Peter Mannino ended the game with 21 saves on 26 shots.

“Both teams have a lot of offensive firepower and made some smart hockey plays,” said Sioux associate head coach Cary Eades. “Whether it’s 8-7 or 1-0, we’ll take the victory and the two points.”

Sioux coach Dave Hakstol was not at the game. He’s serving a two game suspension for making an obscene gesture toward a WCHA official during UND’s Feb. 2 game at Minnesota.

For most of the first two periods, it appeared UND missed Hakstol more than Denver missed two of its top scorers. The Pioneers leading scorer, forward Brock Trotter, departed for the pros on Feb. 7, and sophomore forward Tyler Ruegsegger missed his third straight game with an abdominal injury.

Freshman forward Anthony Maiani got Denver on the board first at 13:29 of the first period when he scored on a power play off a rebound shot. UND’s Kozek evened it up at the 16:00 minute mark with a power play goal of his own.

The Pioneers struck for three unanswered goals in the first nine minutes of the second period, seemingly taking control while taking the partisan crowd out of the game.

Freshman center Jesse Martin finished off a two-on-one rush when he beat Lamoureux five-hole 56 seconds into the period. Senior forward Tom May put the Pioneers up 3-1 when he fired in a rebound. At 8:09, it became a 4-1 game when sophomore forward Matt Glasser tipped in a centering pass from Brian Gifford

The Pioneers had what appeared to be an insurmountable lead, but the Sioux didn’t see it that way.

“I don’t think we ever thought that we were really out of the game,” Kozek said. “We talked about going one shift at a time, hard and short and seeing what happens. At the end of the second period, we really came together as a team. When we got within one goal of tying them, it was huge for us, a big momentum booster.”

With exactly one minute remaining in the period, Sioux sophomore defenseman Chay Genoway blasted in a shot from the left circle to make it 4-2. Just 33 seconds later, the Sioux struck again when Duncan tipped a shot by Kozek past Mannino. Suddenly it was a 4-3 game.

“We’ve been known to take shifts off and let teams come back on us,” May said of Denver’s effort during the final minute of the period. “We need to play 20 minutes each period and 60 minutes each night. That’s definitely been a problem.”

The Sioux and Kozek were just warming up for a big finish. Never mind that since Feb. 18, 2005, UND has been 0-24 when trailing after two periods and Denver was 16-0-1 this season when leading after two.

Kozek notched the game-tying goal at 10:58 of the third period. Duncan picked off a Denver clearing attempt and then fed Kozek, unguarded in the slot. He fired a hard wrist shot past Mannino to knot the score 4-4.

The game winning goal came at the 15:15 mark. Behind Denver’s goal, Oshie fought off a check from defenseman Chris Butler, went hard to the net and attempted a wraparound shot. The puck hit the far post, but rebounded to Kozek, parked at the top of the crease. He punched the puck into the open net to put UND up 5-4 for good.

The Pioneers had one more shot when they went on a power play with 2:37 left in the game, but Lamoureux and UND’s penalty killers held off Denver to gain the victory and a conference win that keeps the Sioux alone in second place, four points ahead of third place Denver.

“There’s no question that it’s a disappointing loss,” said Gwozdecky, “Nonetheless, as I told the team, there’s going to be games like this where there are huge momentum swings. We can learn from this.”

Notes: Referee Marco Hunt's equipment didn't arrive on his direct flight from Minneapolis on Friday, so he wore assistant referee Nathan Freeman's jersey and pinned orange stripes on the arms. The assistant referees wore their sweat suits.


Anonymous said...

I have not seen any GF police blotters with DU names on them yet. Sounds like they are behaving so far. There is 1 more night for trouble. I wonder if o·lé o·lé will be reverberating throughout the Hollow tonight? Gwoz looked desperate when he asked for delay of game. No pink tie, what gives? I did not see any DU men wear crimson colored scarves either. Appeared to be more babes at the Hollow than at DU's 1 building fits all sports structure. Go Sweeping Sioux!

Goon said...

I thought it was an exciting game last night.

Anonymous said...

The Susies can score in bunches as they demonstrated last night and a 3 goal lead is not enough against a team with that much firepower. You cannot give up a goal in the last minute of play and to give up 2 prior to the end of the period demonstrated a total lack of focus and killed any momentum that DU had.

jhahn4 said...

Passing out of our defensive zone is what gave the game away. They got 3 goals cause we were lazy clearing it out and turned it over. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

jhahn4, you have any uncanny knack for grasping the obvious.

jhahn4 said...

4:04: Never overestimate the ability of people to grasp the obvious...

Anonymous said...

How about giving Pat Miller USCHO writer credit for writing your entire blog regarding last nights game!

dggoddard said...

Thanks for pointing out Pat Miller & USCHO. We always credit the writer & the source on every article we steal, but in this case we goofed. I blame the Quality Control Coordinator.

When looking for a Friday game recap, I first tried the Denver Post, but they had a short-bland AP article. The Rocky Mountain News had no mention of the DU-UND game. The GF Herald had a good article by Brad Schlosserman, but I felt the USCHO "fit" LetsGoDU the best.

I guess sometime between posting the article and bandwidth hijacking the photo I forgot to credit the article.

Thanks for pointing it out and if anyone else ever sees error or corrections lets us know and we'll fix it ASAP. :-)