Blais Ejected, But Archibald Hat Trick Leads UNO
St. Cloud Rallies to Stay in First
CHN Staff Report
Highlights of St. Cloud State win over Denver
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Josh Archibald scored his second hat trick in five games, this one of the natural kind, to help Nebraska-Omaha overcome the ejection of its coach in a 6-3 win over North Dakota.
Blais was ejected in the first period after he refused to send a player to the penalty box following a bench minor.
After he was tossed, the team rallied from down 3-1 to a North Dakota team that had only one loss in its last 12 games.
Archibald, the son of a former North Dakota forward, scored three goals in a row over the second and third periods, his team-leading 19th, 20th and 21st of the year, to spark the Mavericks.
When Blais became just the second coach (Denver's George Gwozdecky being the other) to be tossed out of a game since Ralph Engelstad Arena opened in 2001, that seemed to spark the Mavericks.
"It definitely did," Archibald said. "If he's going to do stuff like that for us, we're going to battle for him any day."
When a bench minor was given to Omaha at 17:07 of the opening period, Blais delayed sending a player to the penalty box, despite earlier warnings about slow player changes. It was also Omaha's fifth straight penalty of the period to none for UND.
Blais was then hit with the game misconduct penalty by the referees and assistant Troy Jutting coached the rest of the way.
Blais chose not to speak to the media after the game. "Just like the kids, you've got do what you've got to do," Jutting said. "Coach is a competitive guy. You guys all know him. This is an important game. The kids feed off his competitiveness. When they saw how competitive he was tonight, they understood the intensity level of the game and the importance of the game."
The loss knocked North Dakota out of a tie for first place with St. Cloud State in the NCHC, and into a third-place tie with Nebraska-Omaha.
Archibald's third goal, at 2:51 of the third period, came on a speed rush down left wing. He blazed across the crease, drawing UND goalie Clarke Saunders (29 saves) off the near post and slid the puck past his trailing leg as Saunders moved to follow Archibald across the crease.
Blais won NCAA titles at UND in 1997 and 2000 as a head coach and a couple more as an assistant coach under Gino Gasparini in the 1980s.
He remains very popular in Grand Forks, so his dismissal from the game shocked most of the fans.
"We played 30 minutes, that's about all the positives to say," North Dakota assistant captain Stephane Pattyn said. "The first period was a good hard-fought period for both teams. We came out real hard the first 10 minutes of the second and got that lead. I don't know, our team just kind of let go."
UND coach Dave Hakstol put it this way:
"We were poor defensively," he said. "In all aspects without the puck tonight, we were poor."
Hakstol expected a push-back from UND after Omaha took the lead away.
"We didn't respond," he said. "We build the two-goal lead, and gave up a tough goal and the tying goal was a bounce off a shin pad. That's where our team has a history of responding. Tonight, we didn't respond in the right way."
St. Cloud rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Denver, 4-2, and move all alone in first place in the NCHC.
Denver led for the majority of the contest as it outshot St. Cloud State, 30-24.
St. Cloud State managed to tie the game, 2-2, with 9:08 remaining in regulation when Ryan Papa set up David Morley for a one-timer from just outside the goal crease. Ethan Prow gave the Huskies their first lead of the night just 2:33 later with a wrist shot that beat Sam Brittain on his stick side. Nic Dowd added an empty netter with 42.6 seconds remaining.
"As soon as we went up 2-0, give (Huskies) Coach (Bob) Motzko credit, they got their big guys together and after the second shift following our second goal they answered with a score at the net front,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “Unfortunately we didn’t collapse to the net front and didn’t finish the game the way we started. You have to give credit to St. Cloud they really came at us and their best players played really well.”
St. Cloud State goalie Ryan Faragher, who helped lead the team to the Frozen Four last year but has been struggling, was a healthy scratch. Freshman Charlie Lindgren got the start and improved to 2-1-1 on the season with 28 saves.
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Western Michigan, which before Friday night hadn't won at Miami in 10 years, rallied to complete a weekend sweep with a 3-2 win Saturday.
Miami went up 2-0 in the first period after a stellar save by Jay Williams with his team on the power play sprung the Red Hawks the other way, where Matthew Caito converted.
But the Broncos rallied for three goals in the second period, capped off by Will Kessel's third of the season with 29 seconds remaining before intermission.
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Minnesota-Duluth remained unbeaten in its last seven, defeating Colorado College, 2-1, to move into second place by itself, two points behind first-place St. Cloud State.
Freshman Kyle Osterberg picked up his 10th of the season, coming on the power play, and Aaron Crandall stopped 31 shots for the Bulldogs.
Osterberg deflected in a Willie Raskob pass late in the first period.