Grand Forks, ND — Going into the weekend series between the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux and the Saint Cloud State University Huskies, there were many story lines. Early in the afternoon on Friday, news broke that Huskies starting goalie Mike Lee was injured this week in practice and wouldn’t make the trip to Grand Forks. The extent of Lee’s injury won’t be known until he is evaluated next week.
In Lee’s absence, Husky freshman goalie Ryan Faragher was named the starter and was solid in his second start of his college career. Faragher’s night ended with a shutout, as he stopped all 44 shots he faced.
The second story line of the night was the battle of the MacMillan brothers. Fighting Sioux freshman forward Mark MacMillan played with his older brother, Mitch, when they were in juniors together in the Alberni Valley of the BCHL. The MacMillan brothers had never gotten a chance to play against each other until last night. Mitch’s team, the Huskies, got the best of the Fighting Sioux in that period, as they shutout the Fighting Sioux 3-0.
The highly touted Fighting Sioux freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi finally played after being out of the lineup for five of first six games of the season. Grimaldi proved to be an electrifying player, but it wasn’t enough to put the Sioux over the top, as Grimaldi like his teammates, were held off of the score sheet tonight.
The Fighting Sioux, for a second game in a row, put 42 shots on net and outshot their opponent two to one, only to lose both games. The Sioux have outshot their last two opponents by a combined total of 86-38 and yet have nothing to show for their efforts.
With the loss tonight, the Fighting Sioux start the season with a 0-3 record in the WCHA play. This is the worst start for the Fighting Sioux since the 1989-90 season.
The Huskies were given two five minute majors (Nick Oliver checking from behind, and Ben Hanowskit hit to the head) and the Fighting Sioux were unable to cash in on either of the two power plays.
Neither team had any success on the power plays tonight, as the Huskies went 0-2 and the Sioux were unable to cash in on seven total power plays.
The Saint Cloud State University Huskies drew first blood when they scored at the 07:16 mark of the first period,when Jared Festler took a Drew LeBlanc feed and shot the puck past the Fighting Sioux goalie Aaron Dell, who was unable to get across the crease to stop the puck. That was the only goal of the first period. The Sioux outshot the Huskies 15-8 in the opening period.
There was no scoring during the second period, as the Fighting Sioux outshot the Huskies 24-8 and spent most of their time on the power play in the Huskies end, but couldn’t break the Faragher wall.
The Huskies buried the Sioux in the third period with three more goals. Andrew Prochno got the Huskies on the board with an even-strength goal at the 02:54 mark. Huskies defenseman Sam Zabkowicz put the final nail in the coffin when he blasted a shot from the point past Aaron Dell. Travis Novak finished the scoring with an empty net goal for the Huskies.
Overall a good effort by the Sioux, but it takes more than ‘effort’ to win a league game. Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol said, “that they are going to have to start putting the puck in the four foot by six foot space.”