Sunday, December 15, 2013

Third period comeback propels North Dakota past Northern Michigan

The front entrance to Ralph Englested Arena in...
The front entrance to Ralph Englested Arena in Grand Forks, ND. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Grand Forks, ND – Coming into tonight’s game, the University of North Dakota Hockey team had a 0-5-0 record when the opponent is leading after two periods of play. Make that 1-5-0, with the comeback 3-1 win.
One of themes this season has been the lack of discipline and taking untimely penalties.
Tonight, through two periods of play, the UND hockey team took too many undisciplined penalties. Fortunately for UND, Northern Michigan was able to only able to go one-for-four on the man advantage and the UND defense was able to limit the Wildcats to 14 shots on net.  After the first period, UND game the Wildcats nothing.
Tonight’s game was a good ole fashioned hard fought hockey game, and through 50:35 of hockey the Northern Michigan Wildcats held a 1-0 lead. UND would bear down and play disciplined hockey in the third period.
Finally, at the 10:35 mark of the third period, freshman defenseman Gage Ausmus gave the hometown crowd something to cheer about as he picked up the equalizer off a great pass from Michael Parks.
Gage Ausmus described the game tying goal, “I saw Parks coming down the wall and all five of their guys followed him, and I saw an opening on the back side. Parksy got it to me and I beared down and got the goal.”
Game on!
At the 14:12 mark of the third period, Rocco Grimaldi and Drake Caggiula would bring the crowd to their feet with a beautiful give-and-go goal and that was all UND would need.
Derek Rodwell would ice the game at the 19:25 mark of the third period with an empty-net goal.
“A real tight – hard fought game,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I thought the first ten-minutes was kind of like a jump ball. Nobody really wanted to take control of it. We weren’t sharp on the five-minute power play that put us back on our heels. And from there, it was little bit of a street fight through the rest of the game. That’s the best way I could describe it.”
UND also ends the first half on a positive note, with its first series sweep on home ice since January 4-5, 2013. UND (9-7-2, 5-5-0 NCHC) also ends the first half of the season on a five-game winning streak, and has now won back-to-back series. Since November 11, 2013, UND has a 7-3-1 record.
Do you sense where this is going?
“Personally that was my first time (stick salute),” Rocco Grimaldi said. “I wasn’t here for the one last year. I was overseas. It’s exciting feeling, especially our first this year. Obviously, we had kind of a rough start to the year. The last five games we put together a good streak. A couple of sweeps in a row, I think we’re heading in the right direction. So, it’s great for our team.“
UND is off until January 3-4, 2014, when they travel to travel to Burnaby, British Columbia to play in the Great West Showcase. UND will return to conference play on January 10-11, 2014, when they entertain Colorado college at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Stats of Interest

UND goalie Zane Gothberg has a 1.60 GAA and a .938 save percentage during UND’s 5-game winning streak.
Northern Michigan’s 14 shots on goal were the fewest allowed by UND since giving up 14 in a 5-2 win at Bemidji State on Oct. 15, 2010.
Rocco Grimaldi has a five-game scoring streak and has scored  (2g-4a—6pts) during that time.
With the loss, Northern Michigan dropped to 6-10-2.
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