The home penalty box at Ralph Engelstad Arena does not have a revolving door, but it seemed like it for a stretch in the second period in Friday night’s game between North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha.
The Sioux gave UNO seven total power plays Friday night and the Mavericks scored on five. Of the 10 goals UNO scored this weekend, eight were scored by its special team units and the Mavericks earned a split with No. 2 North Dakota.
UNO went into the weekend stumbling with the image of a team that overachieved early in the season through a stretch in which the Mavericks went 3-6-1 since Nov. 20. The Mavericks raised some eye brows when it took a 2-0 lead after one period on UND’s home ice and then scored five goals in the second period to take a 7-1 lead.
UND took five penalties in the second period and the first resulted in a Ryan Walters PP goal. Then began a cluster Sioux penalties that resulted in three 5-on-3 opportunities.
The Todd Anderson/Brad Shepard crew didn’t take any mercy on UND when it had a man in the box and UNO spent a total 1:57 on the two-man advantage.
UND’s Derek Forbort and Brett Hextall were called for minor penalties on the same play 9:37 into the period and 24 seconds later Joey Martin scored for UNO. Hextall rejoined Forbort in the box 47 seconds later and this time it only took Rich Purslow 17 seconds to score on the 5-on-3.
Ben Blood went to the box on a cross-checking penalty after the Purslow goal to give UNO another two-man advantage, which UNO used to score its fourth goal in six minutes.
The Mavericks power play ranks sixth nationally with 23 goals in 100 chances and has been a mainstay for UNO, even through its four-game winless skid in which the Mavericks went 4 for 15 on the PP.
Nebraska-Omaha had gone all season without scoring a shorthanded goal and now, after one weekend at UND, the Mavericks have three. UNO killed off 4:34 of the three UND power plays that the Sioux scored on.
The Mavericks penalty kill was cruising Saturday night, killing off six UND power plays and scoring a shorthanded goal to break the scoreless tie early in the third period.
After Michael Young was called for a delayed penalty with 7:05 remaining, Evan Trupp scored the game-tying goal for the Sioux. The new rule awards a team a power play after it scores during a delayed call.
The result: Young went to the box after the Trupp goal and Danny Kristo scored 31 seconds later. Jason Gregoire scored on the power play with under a minute to go to ice the game and salvage the split for the Sioux.
Terry Broadhurst’s return to the UNO lineup gave the Mavericks a boost. The sophomore forward led UNO in scoring before he sustained a thumb injury against Colorado College before the holiday break.
Broadhurst finished the UND series with a goal and an assist, playing fourth-line center both nights. UNO was 1-3-1 without him.
MSU continues to struggle to find the net/No. 9 UW survives scare
Minnesota State squandered late leads in a loss and tie to No. 6 Denver Jan. 7-8 and Saturday, when the Mavericks needed just one insurance goal to bury the Pioneers, they couldn’t get it.
One more goal in each third period this weekend at No. 9 Wisconsin would’ve flipped the outcome of the series.
The numbers are eye-opening. The Mavericks outshot the Badgers 17-6 in the third period Friday night and 17-4 in Saturday’s third period. MSU did score in each period but it wasn’t enough.
Michael Dorr has only a goal and an assist in the six games since he earned the Schilleglagh Tournament’s MVP award after posting five points in two games. Since the 10-game stretch in which MSU went 8-2, MSU is 0-3-1.
The Mavericks have lost by one goal in four of those games and the other loss was against UND, in which the Sioux scored an empty-netter with 54 seconds on the clock.
UW goalie Scott Gudmandson stood tall against MSU’s firing squad, stopping 32 of the 34 third-period shots in the series. Gudmandson, a senior, is having his best season as a Badger with a .935 save percentage (third best in the nation) and a .176 goals against average (best in the nation among goalies who’ve logged more than 500 minutes this season).
Gudmandson hasn’t allowed more than two goals per game since he gave up three against Minnesota-Duluth on Nov. 19. He has two shutouts in the 12-game stretch, has stopped 95 percent of opposing shots and has held opponents to one goal in four of those games.