To do something Zach Harrison did Friday night, a little luck might need to be on your side.
With Minnesota State trying to kill off a 6-on-3 power play and hold a 4-1 lead late in the third period against North Dakota Friday, the junior forward backhanded the puck out of the zone to clear it, and it somehow found the empty net — for Harrisonâ€™s third shorthanded goal of the game.
Harrison scored a goal in each period Friday, leading the Mavericks to a 5-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory over the Fighting Sioux at the Alltel Center.
â€œIt was a fluke thing,â€ Harrison said of his final goal. â€œIt just happened. But we got the win and thatâ€™s whatâ€™s important right now.â€
Harrison was just the sixth player in NCAA history to record a hat trick on all shorthanded goals in one game.
â€œI couldnâ€™t believe it,â€ said MSU forward Mick Berge. â€œIâ€™ve never seen it before.â€
With the Mavericks on a penalty kill and clinging to a 2-1 lead in the second period, Harrison took a pass from Jerad Stewart and waited for a defender to creep past him before slinging a wrist shot over UND goalie Aaron Walskiâ€™s glove.
Harrison added another shorthanded goal in the opening minute of the third period, when he took advantage of defenseman Jake Marto losing his footing. Harrison charged toward the puck in open ice and beat Walski top shelf. The junior capped the historic feat with the empty netter to close out the game.
â€œHe was a kid straight out of high school when he got here and heâ€™s now a junior and has played a lot of hockey,â€ said MSU head coach Troy Jutting. â€œI think heâ€™s finally just starting to come into his own and going to be an important player for us.â€
The Fighting Sioux started the scoring Friday night, when MSU defenseman Ben Youds make an ill-advised pass toward center ice, which Matt Watkins intercepted and went in untouched toward the net. Watkins fired a wrist shot over Mike Zachariasâ€™ glove for the early lead barely five minutes into the game.
The Mavericks then responded with Geoff Irwinâ€™s third goal of the season at 6:16. While MSU had a man advantage due to a delayed penalty, Berge found Irwin on the doorstep and hit the junior from across the ice to tie the game at one.
Just more than a minute later, Kael Mouillierat — playing in his first game of the season for the Mavericks — gave MSU the lead for good.
Kurt Davis fired a shot from the point on a power play, and after deflecting off a defender, the puck came right to Mouillierat on the doorstep with a wide open net.
â€œGeoff Irwin has played three very good hockey games for us now and those were two big goals by kids who we need to score,â€ Jutting said of Irwin and Mouillierat. â€œIf weâ€™re going to be good, those two kids have to score goals for us.â€
With the 3-1 lead, Harrison took over, scoring the gameâ€™s final three goals, the first shorthanded hat trick since 1998 when St. Cloud Stateâ€™s George Awada did it against Michigan Tech.
After just three games, itâ€™s apparent as ever that the Fighting Sioux are still looking for one of their goaltenders to step up and fill the void left by Jean-Philippe Lamoureux. UND is off to its first 0-3 start since the 1994-95 season.
â€œWeâ€™re not clicking,â€ said UND head coach Dave Hakstol â€œWeâ€™re doing a lot of good things, but a lot of good things donâ€™t complete a hockey game.â€
Zacharias ended the game with 34 saves after allowing only the first-period goal. Walski stopped 17 shots in the game.
The Mavericks (3-0, 1-0 WCHA) and Fighting Sioux (0-3, 0-1) face off for game two at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at the Alltel Center.