GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Ranked No. 1 in preseason polls, North Dakota fell behind the visiting Manitoba Bison 2-0 before storming to a 9-3 exhibition win at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
“UND’s going to be one of the better teams in U.S. college hockey, for sure,” said Manitoba coach Don Macgillivray. “For our guys, it’s good experience. We’ll be a better team down the road.”
The Fighting Sioux outshot the Bison 20-2 in the first period, but both of Manitoba’s shots on goal scored, giving them a two-goal lead before the Sioux got on the board.
“We saw a lot of good. We saw some ugly,” said UND coach Dave Hakstol. “Probably the best you can ask for coming away from your first game of the year — an exhibition game — is that you want to find a lot of little things you can build on. I think we did that.”
Manitoba senior forward Chris Falloon scored first at 4:55 on a shot through traffic from along the left boards that beat UND goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux far side.
The Bison went up 2-0 at 10:49 when freshman forward Mark Olafson’s centering attempt from behind the net deflected in off Lamoureux’s pad. UND responded at 12:40 when senior captain Rylan Kaip pounded in a rebound through the pads of sophomore goalie Steve Christie.
Although the Sioux owned scoring opportunities and time of possession in the first period, Christie’s stellar goaltending enabled the Bison to retain the lead.
The Sioux came out firing on all cylinders in the second period, scoring three goals in 49 seconds to go up 4-2. Junior forward Ryan Duncan, last season’s Hobey Baker winner, tied it 2-2 with a power play goal at the 4:50 mark. Fifteen seconds later, Kaip one-timed a shot from the blue line that beat Christie over his left shoulder, giving UND a one-goal lead.
The Sioux went up by two at 5:39 when sophomore center Chris VandeVelde made a rush up the ice and beat Christie with a wrist shot from the slot. Kaip, who had eight goals in three seasons at UND, notched the hat trick at 8:15 with an unassisted goal off a faceoff in Manitoba’s zone.
UND junior goalie Aaron Walski replaced Lamoureux in the second period and stopped seven of eight shots he faced. His best save came on a Manitoba two-on-one shorthanded rush that could have put the Bison up by three goals.
Manitoba junior center Rick Wood made it a 5-3 game at 15:48 when a pass from Kyle Howarth sent him in alone on Walski. However, the Sioux responded with 18 seconds left in the period on a goal by freshman forward Evan Trupp to regain a three-goal lead.
“I thought our goaltender played really well in the first period and then we, as a group, let him down in the second period,” said Macgillivray.
Both teams started the third period with new goalies. Sophomore Anthony Grieco came in for the Sioux and sophomore Justin Harris relieved Christie for the Bison.
UND put the game away with three unanswered goals in the third period. The first came at 7:39 on a slapshot from the blue line by sophomore defenseman Chay Genoway.
Trupp’s pass to junior forward Andrew Kozek isolated him on Harris and he buried his wrist shot at 10:33. Junior forward T.J. Oshie closed out the scoring at 13:20 when his unassisted breakaway goal made it 9-3.
UND outshot Manitoba 42-13 and was 1-4 on the power play while the Bison went 0-4.
The Sioux open the season Oct. 13 against defending national champions Michigan State at 7:07 p.m. in Ralph Engelstad Arena.