Saturday, February 02, 2013

North Dakota and Wisconsin solve nothing in Grand Forks

Grand Forks, ND – All good things must come to an end. The Wisconsin Badgers and the University of North Dakota are going their separate ways after this season. The Wisconsin Badgers are going to the Big Ten, and UND is going to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

The two teams will not play next season, and will take a one year break before renewing the historic rivalry during the 2014-15 season.

Earlier this week, Badgers head coach Mike Eaves said that it was a priority that the two teams have a nonconference scheduling agreement in the future.

Whenever North Dakota and Wisconsin get together, it’s usually an entertaining, and intense affair.  Tonight was no different. Wisconsin Badgers head coach Mike Eaves thought tonight’s game was entertaining.

“We talk about solving riddles, that was a wild one,” Eaves said. “I don’t know how that riddle was going to be solved tonight. There was great energy in the building, lots of wild and crazy things going on, on the ice, entertaining game for the fans.”

North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol also thought tonight’s game was a hard fought game. “From start to finish it was a hard played 65 Minutes,” Hakstol said.

While there was more than enough action on the ice tonight to keep the fans interested, there was little in the way of goal scoring.

During the first period neither team would score, and both teams would each put seven shots on their opponent’s net.

The game would get more exciting in the second period. North Dakota would score at the 00:25 mark of the second period on power play with a goal from senior forward Danny Kristo. Wisconsin would score 13 second later at the 0:38 mark of the second period, with a goal from junior forward Michael Mersch.
Unfortunately, that was all of the scoring in the game, and UND would outshoot Wisconsin 11-9 in the second period.

The second period would end with a scrum. Players from both teams’ would end up paired off on the ice with UND’s Andrew MacWilliam and Jake McCabe locked in a heated battle that landed them both in the box with double minors for roughing and each were given a 10 minute misconduct as well.  When it was all sorted out, both teams were assessed 20 minutes in penalties.

In the third period, UND would get into penalty trouble as freshman Drake Caggiula was assessed a five minute major for checking from behind. Fortunately, UND would kill the major penalty, and Wisconsin wasn’t really able to generate any chances because of North Dakota’s tenacious penalty kill.

UND and Wisconsin would go to overtime where nothing was settled, and the game would end in a 2-2 tie.
From the fun fact department; for three overtimes periods in a row, UND has had a scoring chance to win the game, and hit the post. Breaking it down further, senior forward Danny Kristo has hit the pipe in overtime in two consecutive games, during the overtime period.

After the game, this is how Kristo saw it.

“Corban [Knight] made a great pass and the goalie was kind out of position," Kristo said. "I shot it a little too hard, and It might have hit the crossbar. It’s one that wish I had it back. I think I we hit three pipes tonight, that’s just the way it was."

UND did themselves no favors in the overtime period,  sophomore forward Mitch MacMillan took an untimely roughing penalty in front of the Badgers bench at the 01:23 mark of the overtime period. UND would kill that penalty and get a power play themselves at the 03:19 mark, but were unable to get anything past Wisconsin Badgers sophomore goalie Landon Peterson.

Having to kill the five minute major in the third period and the minor penalty in the overtime period put UND in a difficult position and Coach Hakstol agreed.

“That’s putting ourselves in a tough position,” Hakstol said. “The five minute major,  I saw it, it was a fast play. So, I don’t have an evaluation on that. Once you get to overtime you don’t need an extra push in there.  Get to the bench, and let your teammate go out there and get back in the play.”

North Dakota needs two points tomorrow night, if they want to secure an upper division for the WCHA playoffs.  The Green and White are winless in the last five games going 0-2-3.

The same two teams play again Saturday at 7:07 p.m. at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Cross posted at the Hockey Writers - Combine... 

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