UND's Frattin foils Bemidji arena opening
BEMIDJI -- The evening started with the clock malfunctioning on the scoreboard.
The UND men's hockey team made sure the scoreboard was also a problem at the end of the night on the Bemidji Regional Event Center's first day.
Matt Frattin had a hat trick and Jason Gregoire scored the other two goals to lead the Sioux to a 5-2 win over Bemidji State on the opening day of its new building and in the program's first-ever Western Collegiate Hockey Association game.
The sold-out crowd of 4,373 watched a pregame ceremony that included numerous former Beaver greats and a passing-of-the-torch ceremony. They got a big thrill when Beaver junior Jamie MacQueen scored the first-ever goal in the building in the opening minutes.
Then, UND settled into its game and dominated the rest of the way, outshooting the Beavers 38-14 for the game. The goals quieted the crowd, which packed into the $90 million facility on the banks of Lake Bemidji.
The Sioux, who improved to 2-0-1, showed off two of their star players.
Frattin had a goal in each period, his second-career hat trick, and now has four tallies on the season.
"He can shoot the puck, that kid," Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said. "He's a heck of a player and you just shake every time he has the puck on his stick."
Gregoire added: "He has one of the best shots in NCAA hockey. If he keeps using it on the power play, he's going to keep scoring goals. He had a big hat trick there. He scored three of our five goals. That's impressive."
Gregoire had an impressive outing himself. He scored twice in the second period and has three in three games this season.
"It was fun. . . we knew we had to do that," Gregoire said of the league victory. "It's a WCHA game and that's two huge points to start the season for us. We've got to come out tomorrow and keep pushing and keep on our toes."
The Beavers got off to the perfect start, sending the crowd into a frenzy when MacQueen finished off a three-on-one rush with a shot from the slot at 1 minute, 52 seconds of the opening frame.
"We knew they would come out and push really hard," Gregoire said. "We had to weather the storm. Our guys really responded well after the scored. We stayed on our toes and really stayed after them. We're a strong team when we play five-on-five."
Bemidji State, playing its first game of the season, almost got out of the opening frame with the lead. But the Sioux took advantage of a power-play opportunity at the end of the period when Frattin rang one off the inside of the post and in at 19:21.
"We energized the crowd, no question about that," Serratore said. "You hope you can parlay that into some momentum and get a second goal out of it. But when they got that goal at the end of the first period, that kind of deflated us."
UND continued to chip away in the second.
Gregoire scored his first of the game at 5:06, sniping a shot past Dan Bakala's glove from the high slot. Frattin buried another rocket from the high slot at 10:11 and Gregoire scored on a rebound at 14:37.
Frattin finished off the hat trick with an empty-net goal.
Three other Sioux players had multi-point nights. Freshman defenseman Derek Forbort, junior forward Brett Hextall and sophomore forward Corban Knight all had two assists.
"We played too much on our heels tonight," Serratore said. "But that might be because of North Dakota."
Notes: Bob Peters, a former Sioux coach and a longtime Bemidji State coach, dropped one of the ceremonial first pucks. The hockey portion of the building was named "Robert H. Peters Rink." . . . Steve Sviggum, the former Minnesota Speaker of the House, dropped the other ceremonial first puck. . . Before the game, Bemidji State introduced all of the alumni who played before 1970 who were in attendance, including some who played in the 1940s. . . Last year's alternate captain, Kyle Hardwick, passed a torch to current Bemidji State captain Matt Read before the game. . . Carter Rowney and Dillon Simpson made the trip to Bemidji but were scratches. . .