After scoring 15 goals in its first two games at Briercrest College (Sask.), the Minot State University men's club hockey team returned home to a defensive battle.
Briercrest netminder Jameson Shortreed kept the high-octane Beavers offense in check for the first 40 minutes, but MSU junior forward and offensive captain Michael Jordan broke the stalemate and MSU defeated the Clippers 2-0 at Maysa Arena.
Playing in front of the home fans for the first time since lifting the Murdoch Cup in March, the defending American Collegiate Hockey Association champion Beavers (3-0) didn't give the home crowd much to cheer for early. But Jordan's goal at 6 minutes, 10 seconds of the third period brought some energy to the crowd and the Beavers as well. Jordan beat Shortreed five-hole with a shot from the right faceoff circle. Junior forward Logan Herauf and senior forward Jared McIntosh were credited with assists.
"We were putting pressure on them for quite awhile," Jordan said. "We didn't have our best game tonight, but it was a big character win and we found a way to get it done in the end."
The Beavers sealed the victory with 2:58 remaining in regulation when Williston State College transfer Chasen Dobranski added an insurance goal. Dobranski wristed a shot from the same spot as Jordan's goal that found the back of the net over Shortreed's stick-side shoulder. Fellow WSC transfer Dwight Lee assisted on the play.
"In the third period the guys found a way to win," MSU coach Wade Regier said. "That's a scary trait for a hockey team to have is if they know they can turn it on in the third period and get the job done. We're going to have to come out (tonight) with a lot more energy."
The Beavers tried just about everything they could to get the puck past Shortreed in the first two periods. It didn't matter if the shots came from the slot, the faceoff circles or the blue line, Shortreed kept the puck in front of him. Even a shot in the final minute of the first period that knocked Shortreed's face mask off didn't faze the Clippers goaltender.
"(Shortreed) played a heck of a game," MSU senior goaltender Wyatt Waselenchuk said. "It's fun though. You see a guy like that playing that well down there and you want to match every save he makes. (Briercrest) brought it tonight. They played very well."
Waselenchuk was equally good for the Beavers. The 6-foot, 180-pound goalie stonewalled Briercrest's Jacob Baribeau on a breakaway from center ice after MSU freshman forward Jeremy Johnson lost control of the puck.
"He just proves why he's the best goaltender in the country," Regier said. "There were some breakdowns and he had to come up with some key saves. He makes it look so easy and when he plays his game it just gives everyone else confidence. Every time he's in goal we have a chance to beat anybody in the country and that's a big part of our program."
Waselenchuk had to withstand a 6-on-3 penalty kill in the final minute after Briercrest pulled Shortreed for the extra skater with two MSU players in the penalty box.
Shots on goal and goaltender saves were not recorded.
The teams meet for the fourth and final time this season at 7:35 tonight at Maysa Arena.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics, the Minot Minotauros and the Minot State University men's club hockey team. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.