Olson tallies birthday goals

An all-freshmen fourth line provided the spark for UND last Saturday.

Trevor Olson lit his 21st birthday celebration with two goals — his first career goal and the game winner that sent the UND men’s hockey team over St. Cloud State with a 3-2 victory at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

Olson, and fellow freshmen Johnny Simonson and Austin Poganski set the tone in Game 2 of the series after North Dakota suffered its first road loss of the season last Friday, 3-1, falling victim to a St. Cloud team determined to defeat North Dakota in a town the Green and White haven’t swept their opponent in since 1998.

North Dakota responded in much the same fashion as its prior series at home against Miami, fixing its mistakes to salvage a split and push its record to 9-3-1 overall and 4-2-0 in the NCHC.

Olson was placed in the lineup Saturday after junior forward Bryn Chyzyk was injured late in Friday’s second period and remained out.

He stepped up to the task with persistence — scoring not even three minutes into the opening frame with a shot on a pass from Simonson and tallying the game winning goal in the second period for two special gifts on his birthday.

“It feels really good,” Olson said. “We’ve got 15 (forwards) ready to play in the lineup every single night, so it felt good to get back in. I just wanted to play my name, stay physical and get some pucks on net. It was pretty fun.”

Olson joined St. Cloud native Poganski, who tallied his first career assists, and Simonson in creating plays from the drop of the puck.

The trio was instrumental in building a balanced attack.

“It’s a great birthday present, both of those,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “It was nice to see. Trevor’s been squeezing (his stick) in a little bit and hasn’t been able to get one, but those aren’t lucky goals. He went to hard areas and his linemates, along with him, made those happen.”

UND searched for balanced scoring, and its fourth line showcased the depth of its team.

“In a lot of ways, they set a good pace for us,” Hakstol said. “They did their job. They played straight lines. They played pretty heavy, kept things simple and did a good job of continuing to build momentum for us. It was a good night for all of them.”

Brendan O’Donnell also provided momentum for UND as he scored moments after Olson’s first period goal on Saturday.

Consistency remains a key for a team preparing to face Omaha, the teams that sits directly below it in NCHC standings, this weekend at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Last Saturday’s game provided assurance in North Dakota’s abilities to respond to defeat with progress toward a stronger performance.

“I think we did everything better,” Hakstol said. “I thought we probably got beat in pretty much every area of the game last night. I thought they were the better team. I thought we did everything a little bit better tonight. We had a good start and I thought we carried that through.”

Elizabeth Erickson is the sports editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].