MOORHEAD – A little boy walked by Moorhead right winger Jacob Odegard in the hallway outside the Spuds locker room on Saturday. Odegard was holding a giant bag of ice on his ribs.
“Is he hurt, mommy?” the boy said to his mother.
“I’m not hurt. Don’t worry,” Odegard said.
Odegard is going to be OK, especially after notching four points in a 5-2 win over Buffalo on Saturday at the Moorhead Sports Complex. The senior returned the most points from last season’s Spuds squad to this season. Two points in his first four games of the 2014-15 season simply wasn’t going to cut it for him.
“The point factor and being a senior, I’m supposed to be the leader,” Odegard said. “It really does weigh on you, especially the first three games. As long as there’s team success, I’m satisfied individually.”
Saturday, Odegard got both, scoring two goals and dishing out two assists, while getting a Spuds win.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Moorhead coach Jon Ammerman said of Odegard’s breakout night. “He’s been a very good player for us this year. He’s a player that is big, fast and strong. He’s got all the tools. He’s really made some strides in the last couple games of bringing the puck to the net and using his size.”
Things didn’t start so well for Moorhead (3-2) on Saturday, as Buffalo took just 25 seconds to score the game’s first goal. It was a strange view for the Spuds, considering, since 2005, the Spuds were 12-0 against the Bison and had outscored them 74-13.
“It’s a long game. 51 minutes. First couple of seconds, in the end, don’t make a whole bunch of difference,” Ammerman said. “In the end, we did a good job of worrying about ourselves and sticking to our game of beating them to pucks and working them down low.”
Odegard tied it up thanks to a perfect feed from Codee Brace midway through the first. Buffalo (2-2) had seven shots in the first period. The Bison would only put seven shots on goal in the second and third combined, as the Spuds outshot them 44-14 for the game.
“That obviously wasn’t the start we wanted, but we battled back,” Moorhead junior defenseman Alex Erickson said. “We knew they were going to be pretty good. We didn’t get the start we wanted, but we finished pretty well.”
Erickson put the Spuds up 2-1 less than a minute into the second thanks to assists from Jack Fahrendorf and Odegard. Odegard made it 3-1 midway through the second for a cushion. Trey Greene scored a shorthanded goal 57 seconds into the third and Odegard notched his fourth point on a David Carey goal with less than four minutes remaining to make it 5-1.
The foul taste of losing to a Bemidji team Tuesday that hadn’t beat Moorhead since 2009 hasn’t left the Spuds, but beating a section opponent on Saturday somewhat helped.
“After the loss to Bemidji, which is still a soft topic because we should have won, this does a lot for the team,” Odegard said. “Individually, this really gets the confidence rolling. Hopefully, it’s all up from here and no more section losses.”