Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service , Published December 06 2013
Johnson, Gothberg set tone in UND men's hockey victoryKALAMAZOO, Mich. – The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team played in front of the Lawson Lunatics for the first time in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference era.
They were loud and they were rowdy, but in the end, all they had to chant was, ‘Let’s get drunk.”
UND used two goals by freshman Luke Johnson, one by senior Derek Rodwell and an outstanding performance by goaltender Zane Gothberg to earn an 3-2 victory over Western Michigan in front of 3,110 lively fans at the Lawson Ice Center.
It wasn’t a dominant performance, but any kind of win is important for a 6-7-2 UND squad.
“We’re probably not going to blow anybody out 6-1,” UND defenseman Nick Mattson said. “But we can outwork a lot of teams. That’s going to be how we have to win.”
UND had all the ingredients necessary for this road win.
Gothberg put together his second straight strong effort in goal. He stopped 36 of 38 shots and now has a .938 save percentage in his last two starts.
“I know my capabilities and stuff,” Gothberg said. “I know I haven’t played to the best of my ability. I kind of have to kick my butt in gear a little bit. The past two games have been better.”
UND won the special teams battle, scoring twice on the power play and holding the Broncos scoreless on seven opportunities. Western Michigan is now 0-for-24 with the extra man in NCHC play.
And UND, once again, received offensive production from the Stephane Pattyn line. UND coach Dave Hakstol listed that unit first on the line chart, and his unit set the tone at the start of the game and put it on ice in the third when Pattyn set up Rodwell for a goal with a behind-the-back pass.
“For us, it was a hard-fought road win,” Hakstol said. “We killed penalties hard. We got some good saves. We scored a couple of power-play goals and the game-winner was a greasy one. That’s the way we’ve got to win on the road.”
Western Michigan jumped to an early lead just 2 minutes, 4 seconds into the game when Chase Balisy connected with Nolan LaPorte on a faceoff play for an easy goal.
After that, UND clamped down and was able to complete its first comeback win of the season.
Johnson found a rebound for a goal at 12:19 of the first to tie it and Rocco Grimaldi made a nice cross-ice feed for Johnson at 7:40 of the second for another power-play tally.
In the third period, Pattyn pulled the puck off the end wall and made a behind-the-back pass to Rodwell, who scored on his second attempt from down low at 9:26. It was the third time in four games that Pattyn’s line has scored.
“When they get a chip on their shoulder, they are pretty hard to play against,” Mattson said. “This morning, we had to do a battle drill against them and it was miserable. They are big, strong guys.”
Hakstol said he’s been pleased with Pattyn’s play and recent offense.
“Growing up and coming through junior hockey, he was a shutdown centerman,” Hakstol said. “But he was also a guy who could put up some points as well. He’s growing and maturing and expanding his role a little bit. The biggest thing is that he continues to play his baseline role. We have to have that from him. It’s not like he’s trying to be a fancy player. He’s playing the right way and just adding a little bit of offense.”
FIRST PERIOD: 1, WM, LaPorte (Balisy) 2:04. 2, UND, Johnson (Schmaltz, Simpson) 12:19 (pp).
SECOND PERIOD: 3, UND, Johnson (Grimaldi, Schmaltz) 7:40 (pp).
THIRD PERIOD: 4, UND, Rodwell (Pattyn, Gaarder) 9:26. 5, WM, Pitt (Berschbach, Hargrove) 19:59.
SAVES: UND, Gothberg 7-15-14–36. WM, Slubowski 6-7-8–21.
Schlossman writes for Grand Forks Herald