UND goalkeeper Johnson breaks 62-year-old school record
GRAND FORKS -- Midway through the second period, pockets of applause broke out around Ralph Engelstad Arena.Fans behind University of North Dakota's goaltender started chanting "Cam John-son!"Others yelled through the glass, telling him congratul...
GRAND FORKS - Midway through the second period, pockets of applause broke out around Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Fans behind University of North Dakota’s goaltender started chanting “Cam John-son!”
Others yelled through the glass, telling him congratulations.
“Yeah, I knew when the record was set,” Johnson said.
A 62-year-old school record fell Friday night in Ralph Engelstad Arena as Cam Johnson ran his scoreless streak to 278 minutes, 38 seconds during North Dakota’s 1-0 victory over Alabama Huntsville. It marked a fourth consecutive shutout for the sophomore, who hasn’t allowed a goal since Dec. 4 against Denver.
Johnson smashed the previous-long scoreless streak of 249:41 set by Gerald ‘Spike’ Schultz in 1954 and now has the second-longest scoreless run in college hockey history. The NCAA record is 375:01, set by Lake Superior State’s Blaine Lacher in 1994.
During Friday night’s 19-save performance, Johnson surpassed scoreless streaks of NHL goalies Ryan Miller (224:49, 2001), Cory Schneider (242:19, 2006), Scott Clemmenson (254:23, 1998), Ben Scrivens (267:11, 2010) and Brian Elliott (269:52, 2006).
Johnson has now made 133 stops in a row -- and every single one was needed Friday as his team struggled to produce offense with star forwards Nick Schmaltz and Brock Boeser, who are absent at the World Junior Championship.
His best stop came late in the second period -- after he already set the school record -- when he stoned Chargers forward Tyler Poulsen on a penalty shot.
Johnson, who has still yet to lose a start at UND, lowered his goals-against average to 1.08 and improved his save percentage to .958. In his seven starts since returning from a groin injury that forced him to miss 10 games, Johnson is 7-0 with a 0.43 goals-against average and a .985 save percentage.
“He’s been a wall for us -- from the stretch run in the first half and continuing to today,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “I go back to the preparation side of it.”
Berry has praised Johnson for doing a good job preparing for games this season, taking over the No. 1 spot from Zane McIntyre, who signed with the Boston Bruins after last season.
The preparations for Friday may have been especially difficult considering UND was a week off and Johnson knew that a school record was looming.
“I tried not to focus on it too much,” said Johnson, who hasn’t allowed more than one even-strength goal in any appearance this season. “If I worried about that, obviously, my mind would have been wandering. It was definitely in the back of my head, but it was something I was trying to keep back there and not worry too much about.”
Johnson said the scoreless record is special to him.
“It means a lot at a school like this, as long as this program has been around and with all of the historic players who have played here,” Johnson said. “It’s pretty cool that my name will go down in history, so that means a lot.”
Once again, UND’s defensive corps played strong in front of Johnson. They blocked 11 shots -- several on good looks for the Chargers, who fell to 4-13-2. Defenseman Tucker Poolman led the team with five blocks.
Offensively, UND piled up the shots but struggled to finish.
The lone goal came just as a five-on-three expired midway through the second period.
Forward Bryn Chyzyk snapped a sharp-angle shot on net and the rebound kicked to the left point. Defenseman Keaton Thompson picked up the puck, froze the goalie and threaded a pass through the seam to Chyzyk, who one-timed it for his first goal in 10 games.
“It has been a while,” Chyzyk said. “I was starting to get a little frustrated at the end of the first half. I think it was a good mental break for me to go home for Christmas and come back fresh.”
The Chargers put together a couple of threatening shifts in the third period, but couldn’t get one past Johnson. The tense moments at the game were different for Johnson, whose previous shutouts came by the scores of 4-0, 4-0 and 3-0.
“The guys did a great job in front of me blocking shots, boxing guys out and chipping out pucks,” Johnson said. “I’ve got to give credit to those guys. They played great in front of me and played great defensively.”
Notes: There was a moment of silence before the game for former UND national champion forward Scott Dub of Pisek, N.D., who passed away last month. . . There were dueling pianos at the game for the first time ever at Ralph Engelstad Arena. . . UND’s sellout streak came to an end Friday with an attendance of 11,334, exactly 300 shy of a sellout.