This was night and day from yesterday. The Huskies looked pretty good but fairly flat on Friday. Tonight, they came out roaring in the first period and UND, honestly, was lucky to escape the first period knotted at one.
The big calls in the first period were the no-goal on Stephane Pattyn and the Checking from Behind on Schmaltz. First, the no-goal. I actually got the webcast tonight and I saw it. What I saw was one of the most incredible saves I've ever seen. No one could believe that Pattyn's open net shot didn't go in except Farragher and the goal judge. They did a lengthy review and judged it no goal. I saw the replays and the call was 100% correct.
13 seconds from the end of the period, UND Freshman Jordan Schmaltz checked Drew Leblanc from behind into the sideboards. The hit was not very violent and Leblanc's head did not hit the boards very hard (it appeared to hit forearm first). Nevertheless, the refs HAD to call it as checking from behind. The ironic part is that Don Adam called the penalty that he played a key role in creating.
Second Period and Third Period
The second period saw one of the worst periods of UND hockey this season. It started out well, with UND killing off the five minute major. However, after that, Drew Leblanc scored two straight goals and UND started a parade to the box culminating with Coach Hakstol getting a 2 minute minor for misconduct for trying to talk to Don Adam after the period had ended. This probably resulted from a rather dubious embellishment call on Danny Kristo after being tripped.
The Third period only differed from the second period by the fact that the scoreboard said the number "3" where the number "2" was in the second period. SCSU was all over the ice with crisp passing and just unlucky bounces and some timely saves by Saunders preventing it becoming a laugher. It was even close until 6 minutes into the third when Garrett Milan (SCSU) got a rather weak goal on Saunders. We did try a little bit but no good came of it. With 2:30 left in the game, Saunders let a point shot get past him and that's all she wrote.
Again, Roller Coaster... sortof. If you are Ryan Farragher, then it was a roller coaster that never seemed to go down the slope. It just climbed the hill and stayed at the top. Saunders really had a bad night for the most part.. The first goal SCSU scored he didn't see. The third goal was a tic tac toe Power Play goal. The final goal was a point shot. Can't blame him much for those. However, the second and the fourth goals were WEAK. On the second goal, the puck came right to him after making two great saves and he paddled the puck right to Leblanc's stick blade. Goal. The fourth went five hole and just seemed to slowly inch past the red line.
I'm also not sure if Gothberg would have done any better. I don't blame Hakstol for going with the hot hand, but just like Saturday vs. BU, UND lost this game because they didn't play solid fundamental hockey for 60 minutes. The thing that made it worse than the BU loss is that UND never even had one solid period of good hockey tonight. They played ok in the first and got worse and worse as the game progressed.
So I guess Saunders played pretty well, and even Saunders at his best wouldn't have prevented UND from losing, but a game going into the end of the 3rd period down 3-2 looks much differently than entering the final minute down 5-2.
Roller coaster city. They actually were doing a pretty decent job until the second period when they started missing calls and making bad calls. The first call I recall was when they missed a pretty overt slashing call that Corbin Knight committed on Ethan Prow. They made up for it by calling a weak version of it on Mark MacMillan. He stick checked an SCSU player and the player waited a full second before dropping the stick. No matter. The next thing you know, Danny Kristo gets tripped and gets called for embellishment when he did not act like he was shot. He slid along the ice before getting up and finding out he's sitting two. The third period starts and UND actually does legitimately slash an SCSU stick and no call. What awful calling.
Why UND lost
Top 3 reasons:
1. Sloppy passing. UND cannot pass even to open guys. SCSU can. It was AMAZING to watch. It got to the point where SCSU didn't even have to clog the lanes, UND did it for them! I cannot remember worse passing. They couldn't set anything up because UND kept missing the puck.
2. Races to the puck. UND was out skated all night long.
3. Corners. SCSU won almost ALL the battles along the boards.
This was one of the worst played games UND has played this season. I'm glad this seems anomalous because if it wasn't, UND is going to lose... A LOT.
The America One Webcast
This is the Webcast company SCSU went through for the game. I'm not sure if it is NESN camera work or what but this webcast's quality was FAR FAR superior to that of the UND Webcast. The oddity? SCSU's commentators weren't as big of a homer than I thought they would. The only negative is that they didn't do their legwork. They never figured out how to pronounce our players' names (like Rowney's for example).
My 3 stars:
Third Star: Joe Rehkamp (SCSU) - He wasn't talked about much during the game on the SCSU broadcast but he is credited with 3 assists on the night. Not too shabby.
Second Star: Ryan Farragher (SCSU) - Hard not to give him the first star. He probably is 1a in this list. He made some great saves including the best save of the season off of Pattyn's shot in the first period, but despite it looking otherwise, he wasn't really overtaxed in net tonight.
First Star: Drew Leblanc (SCSU) - 2 goals 1 assist. He was all over the place tonight.
Honorable Mentions: Derek Forbort and Drake Caggiula (both acquitted themselves pretty well tonight), Nick Oliver (SCSU), Cory Thorson (SCSU)
EDIT: I should add: I am not saying the world is coming to an end. Nor am I saying Fire Hakstol or that this team isn't special. I'm saying this was one of the hardest games to watch because of how poorly we played and how much better I know we are capable of playing.