Grand Forks, ND – A UND student held up a sign that read: “If you don’t squirt, you won’t get hurt.” That sign was in reference to a brawl that took place between these same two teams almost thirty years ago.
Tonight’s game wasn’t quite as exciting as some of the epic battles of the past, but the Fighting Sioux were able to grind out a 5-3 victory over the Badgers at the Ralph.
Celebrating his 21st birthday, freshman forward Stephane Pattyn netted the game-winning goal – his first in his collegiate career.
Wisconsin’s Michael Mersch scored two goals in a strong effort.
With the win, UND improved to 14-10-2 and 10-9-0 in the WCHA. The two teams play again tomorrow night.
The Badgers fell to 1-7-1 on the road this season. Coming into the game, Wisconsin had lost only one time in the last seven games.
Michael Parks and Danny Kristo gave the Fighting Sioux a two-goal lead inside the first five minutes, but Wisconsin drew level later in the same period through Mersch and Keegan Meuer.
UND regained control on the powerplay in the second period through Dillon Simpson, but the Fighting Sioux were pegged back again by Mersch.
With just over two minutes left in the game, Pattyn struck to give UND the lead for the third time in the match and New York Islanders’ 2010 first-round draft pick Brock Nelson cemented the Fighting Sioux’s win with an empty net goal.
Nelson collected two points on the night.
“It was a really nice feeling,” Pattyn said of his goal. “Mario [Lamoureux] made an unbelievable play. It all started with Joe [Gleason] using his speed. I guess Mario just saw me back door – I was wide open – and the goalie was nowhere to be seen. All I had to do was tap it in.
“That just shows how hard of a worker Mario is, his leadership and his poise on that play. I will take credit for it, but that was all Mario for sure.”
There weren’t a lot of opportunities for either team to score and the match was a tactical chess match.
And UND head coach Dave Hakstol saw it the same way.
“Both teams played it real tight and close to the vest and looking for a power play opportunity or a power play goal, or one opportunity to win it”, coach Hakstol said.
“Fortunately we came up with the opportunities. It was a good play by our captain Mario Lamoureux.”
The teams were unable to sustain much offensive pressure and a good share of the play was spent in the neutral zone.
Coming into the weekend, UND’s power play had been less than spectacular, having scored only two goals on 17 opportunities. UND was able to break out of that funk and score on its first two power plays of the game.
While the UND defense did give up three goals on the night, they were able to keep Wisconsin’s pre-season All-WCHA defenseman Justin Schultz off the score sheet – no small task, as Schultz has points in 19 of 25 games played this season.
After the 2012-13 season, North Dakota and Wisconsin will leave the WCHA and move to the NCHC and the B1G respectively, meaning there will be a lot less historic WCHA battles between UND and UW.