TOM MILLER: A full day of UND hockey glory
UND junior Nick Mattson started his day watching former North Dakota star T.J. Oshie score an incredible four shootout goals to lead Team USA to an Olympic victory over Russia in Sochi.
Mattson finished the day saluting fans for a North Dakota sweep after scoring two goals in UND’s wild 9-2 college hockey victory over Miami on Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Locally to internationally, it was a full day of UND hockey glory.
“I woke up and watched the replay with my roommates,” Mattson said of the USA victory. “That’s been the talk of the team the whole day.”
The U.S. pool play game against Russia started at 6:30 a.m. in Grand Forks. Before noon, Oshie’s heroics about broke the internet.
The Warroad, Minn., native, who played at UND from 2005-08, was an instant national and international sensation. President Barack Obama tweeted his congratulations.
As his fame grew at an incredible rate, so did the exposure for Grand Forks, Warroad and UND hockey.
The UND hockey team and fan base has had an adoration for Oshie well before the casual fans hopped aboard the bandwagon on Saturday morning. Oshie became a local sensation as a Hobey Baker Award finalist and first-team All-American as a junior during the 2007-08 season.
UND coach Dave Hakstol said his locker room looks up to all the former UND players competing in the Olympics: Jonathan Toews, Zach Parise and Oshie.
“Our guys take a lot of pride in that,” Hakstol said.
Colton St. Clair, Troy Stetcher and Stephane Pattyn, among UND’s current players, took to Twitter to congratulate Oshie — both for his performance, as well as the resulting motivation for UND’s game against Miami.
“It was incredible to watch that,” said UND forward Rocco Grimaldi, who finished with a goal and three assists against Miami. “You might never see that again.”
Hakstol didn’t waste the opportunity to harness the good vibes and fire them in the direction of the RedHawks.
UND scored a season-high four goals in the first period, tacked on four more goals in the second and even had two goals questionably disallowed after a video review. Safe to say, the Green and White had the Ralph rocking as much as any point this season.
“(Oshie’s performance) is something coach talked about a lot,” Grimaldi said. “He said he scored one, but he didn’t end with one. He wanted more and more. That’s how we looked at this weekend. We got one win, but that wasn’t enough. We wanted both wins. We went out and did that.”
Mattson also said the team had a little extra jump, fueled by Oshie’s dramatics.
“Our coaches tied that back in to our game,” Mattson said. “What a competitor. He showed lots of guts and hang-loose. That’s what we carried into the game tonight.”