UND MEN'S HOCKEY: Eidsness stops 19 in 4-2 victory over Michigan Tech
Brad Eidsness said he doesn't consider himself a backup goaltender. The senior goalie, who helped UND win a MacNaughton Cup and a Broadmoor Trophy earlier in his career, may not be taking a back seat for too much longer. Eidsness stopped 19 shots...
Brad Eidsness said he doesn't consider himself a backup goaltender.
The senior goalie, who helped UND win a MacNaughton Cup and a Broadmoor Trophy earlier in his career, may not be taking a back seat for too much longer.
Eidsness stopped 19 shots -- a handful of them of the spectacular variety -- while filling in for an injured Aaron Dell and the Sioux topped Michigan Tech 4-2 on Friday night in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Carter Rowney and Corban Knight each scored twice and Brock Nelson notched three assists, but Eidsness helped bail out a defensive corps that left him facing several Grade A chances throughout the game.
"I've tried not to look at myself as a backup goalie the last couple years," Eidsness said. "I've always had confidence in my abilities. Certainly, it's nice to get in there and play a little more and maybe prove to everybody else a little bit that I can still play and help the team win."
Dell, who earned All-American honors last season, sat out the game with an undisclosed injury. He's listed as day to day.
Eidsness, who filled in for Dell last Saturday, made sure the team didn't miss a beat. He earned his fifth victory of the year and improved his goals-against average to 2.07 and his save percentage to .922.
His robbed Michigan Tech forward Ryan Furne twice and made a big blocker save through traffic with two minutes left in the game while UND was clinging to a one-goal lead. The Huskies, who fell to 13-15-3 overall and 10-10-3 in league play, controlled the play for long stretches in the third, but couldn't get one past Eidsness.
"It's not always pretty, but we did a really good job boxing out and keeping the shots to the outside," Eidsness said. "We survived three to four minutes there where they really turned it on. There are going to be moments like that where we are going to have to survive. That's the way we play as a team and it's a tough league to win in."
All of the team's goal support came from the top two lines. Knight had two tallies - one a Dillon Simpson shot that hit the back of his leg and went in. Rowney scored two more - his third consecutive two-goal game.
"I don't know what he's doing or what he's drinking, but I've got to get on that," Knight said of Rowney. "He's been amazing for us - not only the goals and points but at both ends of the ice. He's been dominate. Watch him in the defensive zone. He just takes over. He's been our best player the last little while here and I don't see him stopping anytime soon."
Michigan Tech, which was outscored 28-4 in four meetings with UND a year ago, got off to a great start with a goal just 1:59 into the game. Jacob Johnstone tipped a pass from the right wing by Alex MacLeod.
The duo of Johnstone and McLeod scored on an identical play with just eight seconds left in the first period to go into the locker room with a 2-1 lead.
"It was typical of our first period," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "We weren't working the right way. We weren't working very smart. We gave up probably five or six outnumbered opportunities."
Luckily for UND, Rowney scored back-to-back power-play goals in the second to give UND the lead for good and Eidsness shut the door on a pesky Husky team.
"I thought he was our game star tonight," Hakstol said of Eidsness. "(Josh) Robinson at the other end, at times, did a great job for his team. I thought Brad Eidsness was the difference for us tonight. We had some holes defensively and he made a lot of key saves at key times, especially in the third period."
With the win, UND opened up a three-point lead over the Huskies in the chase for the final home ice spot for the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
"It was a good hockey game, very entertaining for the fans," Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "It was a hard-fought game. Obviously the two teams are desperate, trying to get points in the standings. I thought our goaltender gave us a chance to win. He made big saves at big times for us. I thought their guy had his best period in the third, when we pressed a little bit."
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org .