Grand Forks, ND – Last night, UND head coach Dave Hakstol had this to say about the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves.
“This was a team we expected to face,” Hakstol said. Highly competitive – good players – guys that battle hard together.”
That’s exactly the team that the University of North Dakota Hockey team faced tonight in the second game of their WCHA series.
The Seawolves came out at the start of the game and were a miserable team to play against as they got into the shooting lanes and forechecked UND hard. UND had a Seawolves forechecker on them all night long.
Sweeps in the WCHA are hard to get and it didn’t matter that UND had beaten UAA by a grand total of 9-1 in two previous games.
UAA proved to be a very difficult team to play against and they gave UND fits, UND also appeared to come out a bit flat to start the game. UND head coach Dave Hakstol agreed.
“I thought it took us 20 to 30 minutes to work our way in,” Hakstol said. “It wasn’t pretty – we we did work our way in – the were tenacious I thought throughout the 60 minutes and we gave the lead away in the third period – which put us in a pretty tough spot and we found a way to come back and salvage a point. That’s a positive.”
The Seawolves took an early lead in the first period as a result of their hard work as sophomore forward Scott Allen gave his team the lead as he scored his fourth goal of the season at the 04:05 mark of the first period, assisting on Allen’s goal were Seawolves Austin Sevalrud and Alex Gellert.
Ironically, that was the first goal that UND had given up in the first period this season, albeit it’s only three games into the season. It also didn’t hurt that UND came into the game as the second rated defensive unit in the country.
UND would get on the board and even the score at 1-1 with goal from Corban Knight at the 13:39 mark of the first period.
UND would get the go ahead goal at the 12:55 mark of the third period and it appeared that UND was taking control of the game.
Not so fast, UAA scored on a shorthanded goal by senior Tyler Currier at the 10:25 mark of the third period, UND freshman Jordan Schmaltz lost control of the puck at the blue line. Currier pounced on the puck – raced in on the UND net and shot the it through the five hole of UND junior goalie Clarke Saunders for the game tying goal, that was the fourth goal of Currier’s career.
UAA would take the lead as they cashed in again at the 10:25 mark of the third period, with a goal from senior forward Jordan Kwas. UND would answer tie the game at the 18:25 mark of the third period and after a lengthy review, Derek Forbort was given credit for the goal.
After the game Forbort wasn’t even sure that he should have been credited with the game tying goal.
“Got a rolling puck and just threw it to the net,” Forbort said. “I think it went off Corbin Knight, I don’t even think that I scored.”
The two teams would go to over time and trade opportunities – but would settle nothing.
Midway through the overtime period, UND freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi brought everyone in the building with a great opportunity but was denied by UAA junior goalie Rob Gunderson.
After the game, Grimaldi described his glorious opportunity after the game.
“I thought I had him beat there,” Grimaldi said. “So I just tried to turn the jets on and beat him wide, and drive it into the net, whether it’s through the goalie or whatever, probably had a little more time than I thought, I could have pulled it a little wider and maybe tried to get it up but I just tried to jam it and he was there, he [Gunderson ] played really well tonight I got to give their goalie credit.”
After the game UAA head coach Dave Shyiak was pleased with his team’s effort tonight.
“I think that was probably our best 60 minutes of the year,” Shyiak said. “ It was a hard earned tied It was a great hockey game. What we learned as a hockey team tonight is how we have to play. I thought we pressured the puck well, I thought we executed our game plan, we got good goaltending and we got contributions from everyone tonight.”
If UAA keeps playing like they did tonight, they’re going to give a lot of teams fits.