No. 1 UND cruises to WCHA title
Frattin scores another goal in win against Mich. Tech
HOUGHTON, Mich. - North Dakota's senior class was in no mood to share Friday night.
The Fighting Sioux got four goals from their senior class in a 6-1 win at Michigan Tech, enabling top-ranked UND to clinch the MacNaughton Cup outright as Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) regular-season champions.
It is UND's league-leading 15th regular-season title.
Senior forward Matt Frattin, as he has been all season, was the linchpin in UND's offensive attack, scoring his league-best 28th goal and adding three assists. His goal, which proved to be the game-winner, was the first of three UND tallies in the final 6:01 of the second period that turned a 1-1 tie in a 4-1 Sioux lead.
After UND's Evan Trupp and MTU's Daniel Holmberg traded first-period goals, the two teams were deadlocked 14 minutes into the second period. That's when Frattin took over. The Hobey Baker Award candidate started the Sioux rally by walking around a Husky defender with an inside-outside move inside the MTU zone, and then beat goalie Kevin Genoe with a wrist shot to the blocker side.
Just over two minutes later, Frattin slid a pass to Ben Blood (Plymouth, Minn.) on a 2-on-1, and the junior defenseman made no mistake with a yawning net front of him.
Senior Brent Davidson made it a 4-1 lead less than two minutes after Blood's goal, walking out from behind the net and slamming the puck past Genoe on his own rebound with 2:44 left in the second period. It was Davidson's third goal of the season.
Junior Jason Gregoire added a power-play tally at 2:47 of the third period period to make it 5-1, and Frattin sprung Brad Malone for a breakaway goal to cap the scoring with 1:52 remaining.
Frattin, who took over the WCHA scoring race with 37 points in league play, said the late second-period outburst was the difference.
"That was the turning point," said Frattin. "It got the boys going. It was a pretty even game in the first period. As soon as we got the (first) one, we kept rolling."
UND coach Dave Hakstol said the play of Frattin and his senior classmates was critical in clinching the league crown.
"There's a real sense of pride in that accomplishment," said Hakstol. "It's a grind through the regular season to get to this point. To be able to clinch that tonight, it's a great achievement. The Trupp-Malone-Frattin line especially, they were a bunch of leaders for us right from the drop of the puck. Those guys were ready to go and it showed on the scoresheet, but it also showed in a lot of other areas.
"The goal by Frattin was a game-breaker and changed the complexion of the (second) period," Hakstol added.
Sophomore goalie Aaron Dell (Airdrie, Alberta) was steady when called upon, stopping 18 of 19 shots in a game in which UND outshot the Huskies 45-19.
UND killed all three MTU power-plays, while going 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
The Sioux will close out the regular season tomorrow against the Huskies. Senior defenseman Derrick LaPoint (Eau Claire, Wis.) says while he and his teammates are proud of their regular season title, they aren't satisfied yet.
"It feels great, it takes a lot of hard work to accomplish that," said LaPoint. "It's been a great year, but the season's not done and we have a lot to accomplish yet."
Saturday's regular season finale gets underway at 5 p.m. Eastern. The Sioux will host MTU next weekend in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
Notes: Gregoire and Trupp both enter Saturday's regular season finale with 99 career points. Gregoire, who had a goal and an assist, extended his career-best point streak to 11 games ... Frattin extended his point streak to eight games. He now has 18 goals in 18 road games ... UND is now 11-4-2 on the road, including a 10-2-1 mark in the WCHA ... Dell has started UND's last 23 games.