WALTERS NETS OVERTIME GOAL TO LIFT NEBRASKA OMAHA TO 2-1 WIN AT NORTH DAKOTA
Sophomore forward Ryan Walters nets third game-winning goal of season for Mavericks
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The 11,418 fans at Ralph Engelstad Arena tonight saw a typical UND vs. Nebraska Omaha hockey game, the outcome undecided until late in the game.
In this case, it took one minute, 21 seconds of overtime for UNO's Ryan Walters to score on a breakaway and give the Mavericks a 2-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory over the Fighting Sioux.
It wasn't the 11,00-some fans who drew the attention of UND coach Dave Hakstol, though. Some spectators wearing Sioux uniforms were more noticeable to him.
"We got caught puck-watching with our two guys on the back end,'' Hakstol said of the overtime breakaway by Walters. "They got a quick transition play.''
Walters came down the left wing unchecked, cut across the high crease and beat Sioux goalie Aaron Dell (Jr., Airdrie, Alberta) with a backhand flip.
"I thought his play was very good,'' Hakstol said of Dell, who finished with 33 saves to 24 for Omaha goalie John Faulkner.
UND never led.
The Mavericks took a 1-0 lead at 13:46 of the second period when Matt White split the Sioux defense and saw his shot bounce into the air and barely trickle across the goal line.
The Sioux tied it at 1-1 at 1:22 of the third period on the fifth goal of the season for junior center Carter Rowney (Sexsmith, Alberta). He took a perfect cross-ice feed from Connor Gaarder (Fr., Edina, Minn.) and had most of the net to shoot into.
It stood that way until the Sioux got caught deep in the offensive zone buzzing around Faulkner, creating Omaha's big chance the other way.
"Quality scoring chances, we had it clocked at 11-10.'' Hakstol said. "Their game-winner was the 11th for them and that was the difference.''
Rowney said the Sioux played a good game.
"To win those kind of games,'' he said, "you've got to play a great game out there. You can't have any mental lapses. We had a mental lapse right at the end. We left a guy alone on a breakaway. We just can't have that.''
Dell thought the Sioux played a solid game.
"They got a lucky bounce and a breakaway at the end because everyone was focusing on trying to score,'' he said.
Dell said he thought his defenseman might be able to cut off Walters on his breakaway. "I thought he was going to be able to get a stick on him,'' Dell said. "Unfortunately he couldn't. He (Walters) managed to just squeak it over my pad.''
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Sioux. UND slipped to 6-7 in the WCHA and 8-8-1 overall. Nebraska Omaha improved to 7-3-3 in the WCHA and 9-7-3 overall.
Saturday's series finale gets underway at 7:07 p.m. Central.
NOTES: Both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play . . . Corban Knight (High River, Alberta) continued his mastery on faceoffs, winning 20 of 25 as UND finished with a 38-28 overall edge . . . Sophomore wing Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn.), who has had four goals in his last two games, didn't score, but led the team with five shots on goal. . . Defenseman Ben Blood (Plymouth, Minn.) and forward Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) tied for second in shots on goal for the Sioux with four . . . Defenseman Andrej Sustr led Omaha in shots with six, followed by Walters and Matt White with five each. White also assisted on the winning goal.
Virg Foss covered Fighting Sioux hockey for the Grand Forks Herald for 35 seasons until his retirement in 2005. He reports on UND home games exclusively for FightingSioux.com.