Hockey Wins with Shutout, Loses in Shoot-Out Against UND

Natalie Dillon
Crookston Times

The University of Minnesota men’s club hockey team won its first contest against UND in shutout fashion with a hat trick from Tyler Zahradka but fell on Sunday in a thrilling shoot out.  

In Sunday’s game, the Golden Eagles took a three-goal lead in the first period with two powerplay goals from Nikolai Rajala and Logan Syrup and another goal from Tyler Zahradka.  

With nine minutes left in the period, the Fighting Hawks returned the favor, scoring three goals of their own to tie it. 

UND took the lead on a powerplay goal to start the second period. The Fighting Hawks didn’t lead for long, as four minutes later Zahradka’s shot found the back of the net. Syrup and Rajala were credited with the assist.  

Dylan Neubauer gave the Golden Eagles a 5-4 lead going into the third period.  

Crookston came out of the locker room strong, as Rajala scored his second goal of the day 17 seconds into the third period.  

The Fighting Hawks tied the game up in regulation, though, as they pulled their goalie to have a 6-4-man advantage during a powerplay. Their sixth goal came with just 16 seconds left in the game.  

After five minutes of 4-on-4, the score remained tied and the two teams went into a shoot-out. Braden Schmitz stopped two of UND’s three shots, but Crookston was unable to score, resulting in a loss. 

Rajala led the team with 2 goals and 2 assists. Syrup also had 1 goal with two assists. Zahradka, who had a hat trick the night before, continued on his impressive weekend with another goal and assist. Dylan Neubauer had his first goal of the season and also tallied an assist. Jackson Fuller, Casey Kallock, and Sam Baxter had one assist apiece. 

Sean O’Conner started in goal for the Golden Eagles and allowed 3 goals on 8 saves during the first period. Schmitz played the remainder of the game and had 3 goals on 17 saves. 

Despite the loss, UMC outshot North Dakota 45-31. 

Crookston put up plenty of shots all weekend, as they outshot UND in the first game 44-16. In fact, their first shot on goal on Friday came just seconds in the first period.   

Head coach Steve Johnson liked the number of shots his team put up, but would have liked his men to player simpler and cleaner in order to score more. 

“We had a lot of puck possession, obviously,” Johnson said. “We certainly had more opportunities to put pucks in. At times we tried to get a little fancy and overhandled and overpassed it at times. That’s not going to be an efficient way to do it against other teams, so we’ll have to simplify things.” 

The Golden Eagles kept the pressure on the Fighting Hawks before Zahradka got the first goal of his hat trick almost eight minutes into the period. Rajala and Syrup came in with the assist.  

“It was what we needed at the time,” Zahradka said of his goal. “We did have a lot of chances, but we just couldn’t bury it. I was fortunate enough to get the guys going, so I think that was huge.” 

The Fighting Hawks had a man advantage five minutes later, as Sam Baxter was sent to the penalty box for tripping. UND couldn’t set up their offense, and Crookston even had a short-handed shot on goal.  

UMC had two golden scoring opportunities with just over a minute left in the first period, as North Dakota’s goalie Leo Troje let up a rebound, but Crookston’s shot went wide. In the next possession, UMC had a 2-on-1 breakaway, but Troje made a nice save off of his blocker.  

In the second period, the Zahradka-Syrup-Rajala combination got it done again just three minutes in.  

Crookston had two more men in the sin bin in the second period, but North Dakota was unable to capitalize with the man advantage. 

Their best scoring chance came two minutes into the third period, as a Fighting Hawk shot go through Jared Aamold’s five-hole, but Rajala stopped the puck with his stick before it crossed the goal line. 

Zahradka completed his hat trick on a powerplay goal eight minutes into the third period, and North Dakota had no answer. 

Syrup assisted all three of Zahradka’s goals, while Rajala chipped in on two. Jared Aamold got the shutout with 16 saves.  

The Golden Eagles take to the road next weekend as they face off against the Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks.

Tyler Zahradka takes a shot
Gunner Ferrier plays defense at the net
Dylan Neubauer with a breakaway opportunity
Logan Syrup makes a mass during a powerplay
Braden Schmitz blocks a shot
Casey Kallock puts a shot on goal