HOCKEY TALK: If you are in Fargo, I’ll be on 970 AM with Dom Izzo from 10:20 to 11 a.m. today. So tune in if you wish.
FARGO — Yep, this is the team we’ve watched all season along.
Finding a way to win a hard-fought game against a good opponent? Check.
Getting enough timely plays offensively to win it? Yep.
Winning a game that advanced stats say UND should have lost? Yep.
Zane McIntyre playing terrific and losing a shutout bid in the last couple of minutes? Yep, that happened again, too.
It all means that UND is in the NCAA regional championship for the ninth time in 11 years under coach Dave Hakstol and the 10th time in 12 years overall. This is the second straight senior class that will have not only played in every NCAA tournament, but also will leave campus having never lost in the first round even.
Other notes and comments:
- Shot attempts in this game were lopsided in favor of Quinnipiac (73-43), but if you look at the shot chart, most of them came from the outside. The defenders did a great job in front of the net, making it difficult to get Grade As on goalie Zane McIntyre.
- That being said, UND didn’t generate a ton of Grade As, either. In the second period, UND only attempted two shots in the prime scoring area. It scored on one. The other goal came when Garteig misplayed a shot from the corner by Bryn Chyzyk.
- Shot blocks were 28-7 in favor of UND. All but three players had a blocked shot.
- Quinnipiac spent about 15 minutes of this game on the power play, but couldn’t get anything to go until a 6×4 conversion with just 1:26 remaining.
- Even-strength shots on goal were: UND 18, Quinnipiac 15.
- McIntyre nearly scored a goal with just over a minute to go. Devon Toews picked it out of the air with his stick on a great play or else that was headed for the net. McIntyre would have been just the fourth to do it in NCAA history.
- Wade Murphy was back in the lineup and nearly scored the first goal of the game on a toe-drag-and-shot. He played a solid game.
- Tucker Poolman was the No. 1 star of the game for me. I thought he was fantastic shift in and shift out. His goal was huge, but he did so much more than that.
- The Connor Gaarder line, which has been UND’s best in the last month and a half, had a relatively quiet game, registering only one shot.
- Troy Stecher, who got the hard hat, had an assist, blocked three shots and registered a plus-three rating.
- Sam Anas, who played limited minutes, actually led Quinnipiac with five shots on goal. QU coach Rand Pecknold estimated that he was at 60 percent. Anas had a couple of nice offensive plays, where you could see some flashes, but he also struggled greatly at times.
- Goaltending is big at this time of year and UND clearly had the better goaltending tonight. I thought McIntyre was tremendous again, while Bobcat goalie Michael Garteig let in a tough one.
- UND got two more shorthanded goals tonight — after having a long break in between them — for 11 on the season. Only seven to go to catch the Hrkac Circus (yep, not gonna happen).
- UND lost the faceoff battle 39-33. Luke Johnson was 9-17, but I didn’t think it felt that bad. He won some key faceoffs on special teams and when he lost faceoffs, he wasn’t losing them clean.
- The officials were from the WCHA.
- Paul LaDue got a game misconduct at the end of the contest. For those asking, he is fine to play tonight.