The play: North Dakota's Austin Poganski scored his first collegiate goal in the second period of last Saturday night's game to give North Dakota a 2-1 lead over Providence; a goal that looked like it would hold up as the game-winner until Nick Saracino's tip-in tied the game at two with less than a minute remaining in regulation.
It was Poganski's goal, but the play was made North Dakota junior Bryn Chyzyk, who brought the puck in from neutral zone, went around the Providence defender, and got the puck on goal, allowing Poganski to make the easy rebound tap-in.
You can watch a video of the goal via NCHC.tv. The sequence leading to the goal begins at the 4:10 mark of the video.
So what happened on this play?
A Providence forward has just chipped the puck past a North Dakota defenseman and out of the zone. Chyzyk, who was providing support on the play is about to pick up the puck just outside the Providence blue line.
Chyzyk evades a Providence player(with a bit of obstruction provided by a teammate), and is ready to go on the attack.
This is the key moment in this sequence and the reason I wanted to highlight this particular goal. From this position, you might expect Chyzyk to turn back up the ice and attack from there, or continue skating in a straight line towards open ice on the right wing. He does neither.
It doesn't look like much, but compare where Chyzyk was in the previous photo(about even with the 'u' in Altru on the ice) to where he is now(about even with the 'A' in Altru, he gets about even with the Altru logo at his lowest point). By looping back like this, this is going to allow Chyzyk to build up speed with his crossovers and attack the offensive zone with more speed.
Chyzyk has built up speed in the neutral zone and now he's ready attack. You can see the Providence left D is still in the center of the ice, and now it's a race to see who can get to the right face-off dot first.
And Chyzyk wins the race. The Providence defender has to turn his feet, and Chyzyk, who is still moving at full speed, has an angle on him.
Chyzyk transfers his weight nicely to protect the puck, and he's around the defenseman. It's worth noting that between where this play started midway between the blueline and center ice, to where we are now, at the face-off dot, Chyzyk hasn't taken a single forward stride. Instead, he's taken six crossovers to build speed.
Great situation for North Dakota here. Chyzyk is in with a clear look on Gillies. There's also a bit of a miscommunication on D by Providence. The right D is picking up North Dakota's left wing on the play; nobody picks up Poganski coming right down the middle of the ice.
Chyzyk is going so fast that he loses the handle on the puck trying to deke around goalie Jon Gillies, but it works out because Poganski is right there on the doorstep, all by himself, to clean up the rebound.
They reviewed this goal for potential goaltender interference, but as you can see, the play is basically over by the time Chyzyk touches Gillies.
And Poganski celebrates his first career goal.
If there's one takeaway from this goal, it's the play made by Chyzyk in the neutral. By circling back behind the puck, he gave himself the opportunity to build up enough speed to beat the Providence defenseman, and just how valuable strong crossovers can be when it comes to building up speed.