North Dakota Snaps 4-Game Skid, Knows It Still Has Work to Do
by Virg Foss/Staff Writer
GRAND FORKS, N.D. North Dakota snapped a six-game Saturday night winless streak, and a four-game winless streak in general, with a 3-2 win over St. Lawrence on Saturday, salvaging a weekend split.
But North Dakota still knows it has work to do this season, with a record improved to 5-7-1 but still short of where it expects to be.
The win came off a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Saints on Friday.
"Yesterday was kind of an open floor," junior forward Stephane Pattyn said. "Everyone talked, everyone gave what they thought what we needed to do."
North Dakota was helped by two goals, 31 seconds apart, from its fourth line late in the second period, from Pattyn and Connor Gaarder.
Despite being outshot 13-2 in the third period and giving up a goal, UND used that spurt of offense from Gaarder and Pattyn along with a shorthanded breakaway goal by sophomore Rocco Grimaldi — his fifth this season, and first shorthanded in his career — in a strong first period to claim the victory. UND outshot the Saints 12-3 in the first period, but was outshot 24-12 the last two periods.
For Gaarder, his power-play goal was his second in two games after going 27 games without a goal. His blast from the left faceoff circle went into the top center of the net and out so fast it was reviewed by officials before the goal was affirmed via video replay.
"We had some great conversations," Pattyn said. "We definitely grew up as a team last night, and today helped that, too."
UND coach Dave Hakstol liked what he saw.
"We competed hard for 60 minutes," he said. "They (St. Lawrence) pushed real hard in the last portion of the third period. We said we wanted to come back and do a little better tonight. And I thought we did a little better."
A win to snap a winless drought is definitely better for the morale.
The unexpected offense from the fourth line was a bonus that contributed mightily as well.
"We said at the beginning of the season this team needs to win close games through depth and have everybody contributing," Hakstol said.
After giving up three power-play goals Friday night, UND blanked the Saints on three chances tonight, allowing just two shots on goal.
"We weren't overthinking things," Hakstol said. "I thought Dane (assistant coach Dane Jackson) did a great job reeling our guys back in, giving them a simple, back-to-basics game plan. Real good credit to the penalty killers and the guys involved."
UND had to survived a major penalty and game misconduct on freshman Adam Tambellini in the first period for contact to the head just 4:59 into the game.
UND killed the penaly, the Grimaldi scored at 12:10 on a solo brekaway when he stripped the puck free in neutral ice, zoomed in on Saints' goalie Matt Weninger and deked him from in close to start the scoring.
"I don't feel relief," Hakstol said when asked about UND ending its winless skid and rebounding strongly from Friday's performance. "We were real disappointed last night as a group, so it's been a challenging 24 hours. It's nice to have a positive outcome at the end of that 24 hours."