Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography
Montreal Canadians super prospect Ryan Poehling stole the show riday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena. His two goals propelled the Penrose Cup Champion Huskies to a 4-3 win in overtime against a University of North Dakota side that played one of its better games of the year. While UND generated 65 shot attempts on the evening, St. Cloud was held to 52. Unfortunately for the Fighting Hawks, the final shot from St. Cloud lost them the game a mere two minutes and 48 seconds into the overtime frame. Poehling was the best player in the last three periods of hockey for either team. Christian Wolanin, Nick Jones, and Jordan Kawaguchi contributed the three UND goals on the evening. UND came so close to winning the game in heroic fashion, but Shane Gersich had his shot blocked with 4.3 seconds left in regulation.
UND does not control its own destiny for home ice any more in the NCHC. In most years this would mean they are out of the out large picture but are still not out of things this year. Assuming the Atlantic Hockey Champion does not finish in the top 16 of the Pairwise, UND occupies the 15th and final at large spot in the tournament. For UND to better its place tonight, a couple of things need to change.
- UND had 65 attempted shots, and only 32 found their way on net. If UND can simplify its game tonight and make one less cross ice pass and focus on getting gritty goals via rebounds, they can generate more on net chances.
- Stay out of the box. If UND can reduce its penalties by even just one or two from last night, they limit St. Cloud’s superb power play chances. The two SCSU power play goals by Jimmy Schuldt and Poehling gave the Huskies two of their leads.
Friday night was so close, that UND could play this same game 100 times and win 50 of them. If UND can make small changes to improve on what it did well last night, tonight’s result could dramatically improve.