Just 24 hours removed from a laugher, Harvard and North Dakota engaged in a much tighter tilt at the Bright Center on Saturday night. The sides combined for 13 power plays and 62 shots on net, but in the end it was the Sioux who triumphed once more, 4-3, for the weekend sweep.
Ryan Duncan and David Toews each had a goal and an assist to pace the Fighting Sioux (7-8-1), while Chay Genoway and Matt Frattin also chipped in a goal apiece and Brad Eidsness saved 33 for the win. Daniel Moriarty scored a goal with an assist as well for the Crimson (4-6-2), Michael Biega had two assists, and Alex Killorn and Michael Del Mauro also scored. Matt Hoyle stopped 22.
“Last night, not a lot went right for Harvard, while a lot went right for us,” said winning coach Dave Hakstol of UND’s 10-1 thrashing of the Ivy Friday night. “This was a hard-fought game, exactly as we thought it would be.”
“We’re not in this for moral victories,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato, whose squad lost its first two home games of the season this weekend. “When you lose 10-1, it’s hard not to take a hit to the hockey ego. Tonight, we played a game much more like our own.”
Harvard hit the ground running with the benefit of an early five-on-three, as Killorn looked Eidsness off by feigning a cross-crease pass to Doug Rogers on the far post. The freshman smoothly snuck the puck through the freshman’s vacated five-hole to open the scoring.
The Sioux were given a two-man advantage of their own only four minutes later, and Duncan potted the equalizer off a cross-ice rebound from senior defenseman Brad Miller.
Harvard’s Chad Morin took a hooking minor only 40 seconds later, giving UND another, albeit briefer, five-on-three. Junior defenseman Genoway received a feed from Duncan a mere dozen feet from Hoyle’s net and ripped a high slap shot past the netminder’s glove for the 2-1 lead.
The already penalty-riddled contest took a turn for the worse with 6:45 to play in the first, as Sioux first-line center Chris VandeVelde was dismissed for the duration for hitting Alex Killorn hard from behind into the UND sideboards. The Crimson power play couldn’t bust the Sioux’s aggressive box-defense in the five-minute advantage, though some acrobatic saves by Eidsness came in handy in the pinch.
“Eidsness was very good,” praised his coach. “Not a lot of people would’ve looked at our goalie after last night’s game, given the difference, but he was very good last night, and he was the first star of the game tonight.”
Harvard out-shot North Dakota 14-8 in the period, but the Crimson were only one-for-five on the power play, while the Sioux were two of three.
The Crimson finally drew even on their 22nd shot of the game, as Del Mauro scored his second goal of the year by angling Morin’s mid-range wrister by Eidsness at 9:54 of the second period.
Harvard carried the play for much of the second period, and doubled up the Sioux in shots as well, 10-5. The officials only took issue with three plays in the frame, whistling Harvard for one minor penalty, and UND for two.
Unfortunately for the visitors, their last penalty carried over into the third period, and the men in the home whites took no time in securing their first lead of the weekend. Moriarty picked up a deflected Pier-Olivier Michaud shot on Eidsness’ right post, and slipped the disc by the goalie on the backhand before Eidsness could recover from his original positioning.
“You just have to go out and try to overcome that,” said Hakstol of the reversal of fortunes. However, he didn’t have much of a hand in his team’s re-focusing. “The guys settle themselves,” he stated.
The Sioux drew even six and a half minutes later when Toews knocked Ryan Martens’ feed over Hoyle with a one-time wedge shot from low in the left-wing slot. The Sioux went back on top 90 seconds later when Frattin looped a highlight-reel lob over the butterflied goaltender while falling backward away from the net.
The teams struggled for supremacy over the remaining 13 minutes, but neither managed to light the lamp.
In taking both games this weekend, the Sioux pulled even at 2-2-0 in Boston this year after dropping both games in the IceBreaker Tournament against Boston University and Massachusetts at BU in October. UND is now 3-3-0 in non-conference games, and the sweep was also the first of the year for the struggling team, which manufactured consecutive wins for the second time this season.
Harvard is in the midst of its own mid-season struggle, falling to 0-3-2 in its last five.
North Dakota returns home to face WCHA opponent St. Cloud next Friday and Saturday. Harvard is off until December 27, when the Crimson play Lake Superior State in the Badger Hockey Showdown in Madision, Wis.