COLORADO SPRINGS — When the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux faithful at the Colorado Springs World Arena saw the black jerseys come out Saturday night, they thought it was probably going to be a good night for their team.
What a good night it was, as the Sioux took advantage of a four-goal second period to beat the Colorado College Tigers, 6-0, to earn the series split. The team is also now 25-1-2 in the black jerseys.
“I was happy with our 60 minutes,” said UND coach Dave Hakstol. “It was, in a lot of ways, a 180-degree turnaround from our performance last night (a 4-2 loss).
“I want to be careful to compliment CC. We did a lot of things that allowed a team opportunities to beat us, but maybe even at our best on that particular night, if CC was going well enough, they might have been able to beat us, but we need to be much tougher to play against and that’s what we were tonight. We were hard to play against.”
Although the Tigers were down 1-0 at the end of the first thanks to a Brock Nelson wraparound goal 5:03 into the frame, they were still very much in the game.
However, the Sioux came out firing in the second period, never relinquishing control.
“I think, overall, in most areas, it was probably our most complete period of the season,” said Hakstol. “Just every area of our game did their job and I thought we did it at a high level during that period.”
Brett Hextall started off the scoring 2:21 into the second when he took a Corban Knight pass out of the corner and one-timed it from the slot five-hole past Tigers netminder Joe Howe (24 saves).
2:10 later, Danny Kristo skated down the ice and threw a shot on net. The rebound came out to Carter Rowney, who picked up the puck on his backhand, skated along the top of the crease and slid it past Howe.
The Sioux domination continued through the middle of the period with a couple of power plays and a 5:12 span when they controlled the puck in the Tigers zone without triggering a whistle.
On their third man-advantage of the period, UND finally broke through on a similar goal to their second with about a minute and a half left. Brad Malone held the puck behind the net and fired it to Matt Frattin, who streaked into the high slot from the point and fired it past Howe to make it 4-0.
Then, with 29.1 seconds left, Derrick LaPoint let a missile fly from the left point that beat Howe to make it 5-0.
Joe Gleason added his first-career goal to make it 6-0 2:03 into the third period.
22 seconds later, CC lost Howe when he went down after several players crashed the net, forcing Owens to put in freshman Josh Thorimbert (two saves).
The Tigers woke up a little in the third, firing 13 of their 21 total shots in the period, including a goal that was waived off on a power play due to the net being dislodged before the puck crossed the line. However, UND goaltender Aaron Dell was up to the task, earning his fifth-career shut-out.
“He had to work for his shut-out, no question,” said Hakstol.
“They were really, really good; they were physical and tough and we had no time to make plays, and we knew they were going to come out that way,” said CC coach Scott Owens. “We weathered it, it was one to nothing. Even though it was ugly, we were still in it 1-0. But then we were never able to dig our skates in and make a stand and that’s their credit.”