Goalie Eidsness a quiet force for SiouxGRAND FORKS — University of North Dakota players found out early this season that all it takes is some friendly prodding and a few goals.
By: Brad Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald
GRAND FORKS — University of North Dakota players found out early this season that all it takes is some friendly prodding and a few goals.
Then they get to see Brad Eidsness throw his stick and a water bottle in what they call one of his tantrums.
They aren’t easy to come by these days, though.
The freshman goalie is settling in at UND and quietly moving toward the top of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association statistical categories.
Eidsness leads the league in winning percentage with a .719 mark (10-3-3), ranks second in goals-against average (2.41) and third in save percentage (.912) in WCHA games.
He ranks ahead of both Minnesota standout Alex Kangas and the WCHA’s reigning player of the year, Colorado College’s Richard Bachman, in all three categories.
“He’s done it very quietly,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “Really, that’s the way he goes about his business. Nothing about his play is spectacular. He just goes out and does his job. And he’s done a good job for his teammates thus far.”
Eidsness has started every game since Nov. 14. and he’s played in every game since Oct. 17, definitively taking over the No. 1 goalie spot. He’s been a big part of UND’s 10-2-2 run since December, which includes an active eight-game unbeaten streak.
On Saturday night, Hakstol said he could tell from the start that the Sioux didn’t have their jump against fourth-ranked Denver. But Eidsness was up to the challenge and helped UND salvage a 2-2 tie.
The Chestermere, Alberta., native stopped 38 shots, including a key one off the stick of Tyler Ruegsegger in overtime.
“He played a great game,” UND assistant captain Matt Watkins said. “I think it’s obvious how he has progressed. He’s always believed in himself, that he’d come in here and be a No. 1 goaltender right away. He’s played very well all along, and when we needed him, he was there.”
Hakstol said he’s seen one change in Eidsness from the start of the season. The goalie has been much better at preparing himself for the weekend.
“The biggest area he’s improved in is his consistency of work ethic Monday through Thursday,” Hakstol said. “That’s something he realized on his own — how much higher the bar is set at this level and how much harder he needed to work. He realized that early on in the season and did a good job maintaining and improving throughout the year.”
Eidsness admits he’s extremely competitive and sometimes lets it show at practice. When it’s game time, he narrows his focus. Fans are unlikely to see one of the tantrums during a game.
“I approach every shot the same way, whether I’ve let in four goals or whether I’ve let in none and it’s the first shot of the game,” Eidsness said. “I think you’ve just got to focus on making the next save. You can’t get caught up thinking about what’s going on in the moment or what’s going on around you.”
And, for the record, Eidsness said his so-called tantrums are overrated.
“I’m a competitive guy and that comes out every once in a while around the guys I know,” he said. “It’s worked for me so far, so I’ll keep doing it, I guess.”
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