Grand Forks, ND – The Fighting Sioux hockey team has been decimated by injuries this season and the last healthy scratch for UND was sophomore forward Taylor Dickin back in December of 2011, so the theme for the Fighting Sioux during the second half of the season has been all in.
Everyone that has been healthy is in the lineup for the Fighting Sioux hockey team. With all of the injuries, there are no extra skaters for the Fight Sioux hockey team, and barring any more injuries the rest of the season, there will “only” be 12 forwards, six defense and two goalies. That’s it, there is no one else left.
Unfortunately, Fighting Sioux junior goalie Aaron Dell was the latest Fighting Sioux hockey player to get bitten by the injury Ninja. Dell was a scratch for tonight’s game with an undisclosed injury and is listed as day to day.
With Dell out of the lineup, two time all-WCHA goalie Brad Eidsness would take Dell’s spot in the starting lineup and get a rare start.
After starting out the first period by giving up two soft goals that Eidsness would probably like the have back, the senior goalie settled down and played very well the rest of the way, leading the Fighting Sioux to a 4-2 conference win over the upstart Michigan Tech Huskies.
After being the backup goaltender for the better part of two seasons, the senior goalie from Chestermere, Alberta is making the coaching staff’s line up decisions more difficult, but also giving them options between the pipes.
Eidsness is finishing his senior season strong and sporting some pretty impressive numbers. With the win tonight, Eidsness has 5-2-0 record and has a 2.07 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.
The senior Fighting Sioux goalie Brad Eidsness was upbeat about his role after the game.
“I try to not to look at myself as a backup goalie the last couple of years, Eidsness said. “I always had confidence in my abilities.”
Certainly it’s nice to get in there and play a little bit more and maybe prove to everybody else; that I can still play and still help the team win.”
There has been another re-occurring them for the Fighting Sioux hockey team. Fighting Sioux junior forward Carter Rowney has been red hot and has scored nine goals in nine games.
Rowney also has had a shot at a hat trick in three straight games, but has yet to score a third goal in any of those three games. When Rowney was asked if he was ever going to bury a third goal in a game to secure the hat trick, the junior forward said this.
“The boys in the locker room giving me a lot of heck on that one,” Rowney said.
“I don’t know, I will just keep working hard and maybe it will come one day or maybe it won’t. I don’t know. I will just keep working my hardest.”
For the past three seasons the Michigan Tech University Huskies have been a very bad hockey team and went 15-85 during that time period.
Fast forward to this year, the Michigan Tech Huskies are a much improved hockey team and coming into tonight’s game had a record of 13-14-3 overall record, much better than the squad that went a dismal 4-30-4 last season.
Tonight, the Michigan Tech Huskies proved to be a hard team to play against. The Huskies gave the Fighting Sioux all they could handle and in the third period had the Fighting Sioux on their heels for about a three minute period.
In the end the Fighting Sioux would prevail to secure the win with a pair of power play goals. That would be the 12th game in a row that the Fighting Sioux have won against the Michigan Tech Huskies.
The last time the Michigan Tech Huskies beat the Fighting Sioux was at the Great Lakes Invitational on December 28, 2008.
MTU head coach Mel Pearson was asked about his teams play after the game.
“It was a good hockey game; it was very entertaining for the fans,” Pearson said.
“It was a hard fought game, obviously two desperate teams trying to get points in the standings. I thought out goaltender Josh Robinson gave us a chance to win and he made some big saves at critical times. I thought their guy [Eidsness] made his best saves in the third period when we pressed a little bit.”
After the slow start in the first period Fighting Sioux made adjustments and were able to overcome a 2-1 deficit by scoring three unanswered goals; two on the power play.
Head coach Dave Hakstol seemed pleased that his team was able to recover from the rough start and win the game with a pair of power play goals in the second period.
Coach Hakstol was also asked about the importance of having two power play units clicking at this time of the year.
“We had an early power play earlier in the game we didn’t accomplish very much that is something that we have to improve on,” Hakstol said.
“Latter in the game, the power play did come through with some big plays for us. It’s important specialty at this time of year, this is playoff hockey, specialty teams, goaltending a lot of little things make big differences.”
With the win tonight, UND improves to 17-11-2, 13-10-0 in the WCHA. UND has won five out of the last six games and is sitting in 5th place in the WCHA standings.
The Huskies with the loss drop to 13-15-3, 10-10-3 in the WCHA and currently sit in 7th place in the WCHA standings. MTU has lost two games in a row and is 1-3-1 for the month of February.
Same two teams’ faceoff tomorrow night at 7:07 pm.