Denver blanks UND 2-0Sioux get shut out for 2nd time in 3 games
By: Jayson Hajdu, UND
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - It was a familiar refrain for the Fighting Sioux, both the good and the bad. The good included plenty of quality scoring chances, a decisive edge in shots on goal and outstanding penalty killing. The bad featured struggling power-play, exacerbating the team's recent goal-scoring woes.
It all added up to a frustrating 2-0 loss to the third-ranked Denver Pioneers tonight in front of a sold out Ralph Engelstad Arena.
DU's Joe Colborne and Tyler Ruegsegger each scored in the game's opening 3:18 and goalie Marc Cheverie held the Sioux off the board the rest of the way in a 33-save performance.
It was the second shutout loss in three games for the Sioux, who have scored just four goals in their last four games.
"It is kind of getting frustrating, but we can't grip our sticks," said UND senior forward Chris VandeVelde (Moorhead, Minn.). "We've been playing well, we've just got to play a complete game. We had four or five bad minutes in the first (period) and it came back to bite us in the butt."
Colborne's goal just 83 seconds into the game not only deflated the capacity crowd, but ultimately stood as the game winner. DU defenseman Matt Donovan got a point shot through traffic, which was stopped by Sioux goalie Aaron Dell (Fr., Airdrie, Alberta). Dell also stopped Anthony Maiani on a rebound attempt, but Colborne was on the doorstep to lift the second rebound over Dell.
Ruegsegger followed just two minutes later, stripping Matt Frattin (Jr., Edmonton, Alberta) of the puck in the Sioux zone and wiring a shot from the right faceoff dot that beat Dell between the legs.
UND seemed to find its legs following the Ruegsegger goal - outshooting the Pioneers 15-2 in the second period and 24-9 over the last two frames - but Cheverie and the ineffective Sioux power-play were the stories of the game.
The Sioux were unable to convert on nine chances with the man advantage and have now gone scoreless in their last 28 opportunities. When UND did have a scoring chance, Cheverie always had answer. The Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, native registered his NCAA-leading sixth shutout and second this season against UND.
UND appeared to have cut the lead to 2-1 just two and a half minutes into the third period, but an apparent Carter Rowney (Fr., Sexsmith, Alberta) goal was waved off when Corban Knight (Fr., High River, Alberta) was whistled for interference.
The Sioux penalty kill turned in another perfect effort, killing all five Pioneer power-plays and extending their penalty kill streak to 18 in a row.
Dell finished with nine saves and was relieved by Brad Eidsness (So., Chestermere, Alberta) to start the second period. Eidsness stopped all nine shots he faced, seven of them coming in the third period.
The two teams will square off once again Saturday night at 7:07 p.m.
Notes: The Sioux power-play is just 2-for-36 in seven games without injured forward Brett Hextall (So., Manhattan Beach, Calif.). UND was clicking at just over 24 percent prior to Hextall's injury ... Junior F Brad Malone (Miramichi, New Brunswick) won 16 of 20 faceoffs ... VandeVelde and fellow senior forward Darcy Zajac (Winnipeg, Manitoba) each played in their 150th career game.