Grand Forks, ND – Last night UND had a 2-0 lead before Holy Cross had their first shot on UND’s net. Tonight, the start to the game was very different. UND came out of the gates and didn't have the energy that they had the night before.
Last night, where there was time and space to move around, tonight’s game was more of a grind it out game. Michael Parks agreed. “It was definitely tighter checking tonight,” Parks said. It was pretty evident in the first two periods. I don’t think we were expecting that and we came out a little light. We listened to the coach and changed the game plan a little bit in the second intermission and picked it up.”
You have to also give credit where credit is due – the Crusaders came out in the first period and were on top of the Green and White – they were hard to play against and clogged things up. The Crusaders also were getting in the shooting lanes and taking away UND’s time and space and it looked like Holy Cross was going pull another big upset in the Ralph Engelstad arena.
The Crusaders beat UND at their own game for most of the first period.
That energy carried the Crusaders for the first 14-15 minutes of the period, as they raced to an early 2-0 lead with an power play and and even strength goal from forwards Brandon Nunn and Rob Linsmayer.
During the latter part of the first period, the momentum started to turn in UND’s favor. UND found their legs and they started making plays and generating chances and started to take the game away from Holy Cross.
That’s kind of the way that the head coach Dave Hakstol saw it as well. “We had to work our way into this game," Hakstol said. “Last night, I thought we came out on our toes at the drop of the puck. But tonight we had to work our way into it. That took 10 minutes. The fact that we ended up down 2-0 by that point in time, we had to jolt ourselves into the game.”
Then in the waning minutes of the first period, the energy line of Dan Senkbeil, Steph Pattyn and Colten St. Clair had a great shift and generated a great cycle in the Holy Cross end. That shift set the tone and UND would score at the 19:00 minute mark with a hardworking, ugly goal from sophomore forward Conner Gaaarder.
There was no scoring in the second period, but UND did generate a lot of scoring opportunities down low and spent most of the second period in the Holy Cross end of the rink. However, UND was unable to cash in on numerous grade “A” opportunities. UND outshot the Crusaders 13-2 in the second period.
At the 04:15 mark of the third period, UND would tie the game at 2-2 with a goal by Michael Parks on the power play. Assisting on the Parks power play goal was Corban Knight who extended his point’s streak to 15 games.
Danny Kristo would score the game winning goal for UND on a power play at the 14:37 mark of the third period. 3-2 UND. Assisting on the Kristo goal was Corban Knight and Joe Gleason. UND would outshoot the Crusaders 14-10 in the third period.
With the two assists tonight, Knight now has (10g-19a—29pts). Tonight, Knight also continues his torrid streak in the faceoff circle – where he was an impressive 21-3. Knight was also 31-9 in the faceoff circles for the series. Per UND Sports Information Director Jayson Hajdu, Knight now sits at 60.2% on the season, on pace to break his school record of 59.9%.
UND senior forward Danny Kristo had another strong game and seemed to take the team on his back as the game wore on. Kristo disagreed.
“Personally, I think our line was very below average for the game,” Kristo said. “I thought that all three of us were below average and didn’t play very well. But I guess we scored two big goals in the third period to help us contribute to the win. So that’s a positive you know. Big time players like that got to step up and be better in a 60 minute period so.”
With tonight's win UND completes it's first home sweep of the season.
With a full line up, UND is going to have some decisions to make with their lineup. There are going to be good players that might not get to play.
“I guess think I know enough not look too far down the road,” Hakstol said. "We’ll worry about practice on Monday and Tuesday and evaluate our lineup and trying to put together what we feel is a lineup that can be successful against Colorado College. We’re not going to look too far down the road and worry about difficult lineup decisions; we will have some, going into Monday and Tuesday’s practices. We will take it one step at a time dealing with those lineup decisions.”
Originally posted at the Hockey Writers - Combine.