Senior night at the Kohl Center was one to forget for the home team as the No. 11 North Dakota Fighting Sioux routed the Wisconsin Badgers 5-0.
North Dakota (24-9-5, 14-9-5 WCHA) not only gains a weekend sweep, its seventh of the season, but also defeats the Badgers for the fourth time this year. Furthermore, the Sioux hold on to their fourth seed for the WCHA tournament next weekend.
“They are where they are because they’re a pretty good club,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said. “What I take from this is that we intrinsically know what next weekend is going to be like.”
Andy Schneider, Zach Parise, Brandon Bochenski and Jason Notermann, all playing on the same line, each collected two points on the night. The latter three, along with several other Sioux forwards, caused headaches for a Wisconsin defense that had no answer for them.
“That’s a line they put out there when they [North Dakota] need to get the job done,” Badger defenseman Brian Fahey said. “That’s something that we weren’t able to defend against as well as we should have.”
UND goaltender Marc Ranfranz, who was benched halfway through Friday night’s game, stifled the Badgers en route to 17 saves. The shutout, however, can mostly be attributed to the defense, which allowed Wisconsin (13-21-4, 7-17-4 WCHA) few good scoring chances.
UW put Scott Kabotoff in net for his last game in Madison. The senior made 34 saves in his first full game in three weeks.
The Sioux started and ended the first period on a similar note. Less than two minutes into the period Schneider took a slapshot from the blue line that made its way to the back of the net. The goal came on a 4-on-4.
North Dakota would end the period in the same fashion as Parise made the score 2-0 with under one second left until the buzzer sounded.
“Anytime you give up a goal in the last minute of the period, especially with 0.9 seconds left on the clock, it takes a lot out of you,” Badger defender Dan Boeser said.
The second period saw the North Dakota lead extend to 4-0 with goals from Notermann and Schneider.
Moments before the second intermission, David Lundbohm skated toward the Badger net and took a shot on Kabotoff for what appeared to be a goal. The light flashed but the referees signaled that the puck did not cross the line and allowed play to continue.
Head coach Dean Blais and most of his team stayed on the ice for a few minutes after the end of the second to check the results of the instant replay, but were once again told that Lundbohm did not score.
After a quick goal by Brian Canady only a few minutes into the third, the Sioux took to the defense. Though the Kohl Center crowd, which once again set a national attendance record for the season, cheered on their team to the end, Wisconsin’s forwards were not able to get on the scoreboard.
“You can look for reasons, rationalizations, excuses,” Eaves said, “but we were not the team that we had seen here against St. Cloud and we were not the team we’d hoped to see.”
North Dakota beat Wisconsin in shots 39-17, making it two nights in a row the Sioux have outshot the Badgers by a wide margin. For the weekend, North Dakota took 79 shots to Wisconsin’s 32.
“They’re one of the better teams in the league in my book,” Eaves said.
The two teams came out of the tunnel even more physical than the night before. A total of 19 penalties were handed out, three for roughing and six for unsportsmanlike conduct. Despite coming to blows at a few junctures, though, no fights broke out between the players.
Zach Parise became his team’s scoring leader with his second goal of the weekend. With only one second left in the first, North Dakota went on a 2-on-1. Notermann managed an awkward pass to Parise, who took his shot before the lone defender was able to interfere.
Notermann’s second period score came at 14:25 of the period. The senior proved his accuracy in taking a shot from the right side that went above Kabotoff’s shoulder and into the top corner.
It only took North Dakota 13 seconds of power play to score for the fourth time. The Badgers and Sioux were playing 4-on-4 when Schneider left the box and tallied his second goal. He scored with a slapshot that redirected off the skate of a Badger defender. The power play came as a result of Badger defenseman Tom Gilbert’s third penalty in six minutes
Brian Canady started the third period off well for the Sioux by scoring two and a half minutes in. Defenseman Lee Marvin flicked the puck to the point and Canady connected with a backhander that slipped past Kabotoff.
Wisconsin took a hit on the injury front as well as the stat sheet, losing center Pete Talafous halfway through the first period. Talafous was helped off the ice after a collision, suffering from what preliminary reports say to be a possible MCL tear.
North Dakota will begin its Frozen Four push next week in the WCHA playoffs by hosting Denver. Wisconsin, which despite its losses held on to eighth place, will travel north to face MSU-Mankato.
North Dakota came away with a tie and loss in its series with Denver. Wisconsin had the same record against its playoff opponent, going 0-1-1 against the Mavericks.