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College Hockey:
Blood keys rally as Fighting Sioux upend Maine

— Redemption was the name of the game for North Dakota Friday night.

The Fighting Sioux rode two late third period goals to defeat Maine, 3-1, in front of 11,399 at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

To an extent, the Sioux redeemed themselves in taking one step towards avenging two frustrating losses at the hands of the Black Bears last season.

They did so with the help of senior Brad Eidsness (30 saves).

Eidsness gave up three goals on five shots before getting pulled 9:37 into last year’s 7-3 loss to the Black Bears, but he looked like his old self backstopping the Sioux defense to his first victory of the year.

“Certainly it’s nice to play well against them,” Eidsness said. “Last year wasn’t an enjoyable trip.”

Eidsness rode some puck luck, but also exhibited some of the same skills that UND rode in Eidsness’ solid first two seasons for North Dakota.

“Before the game, I thought we’d be able to give him the first ten minutes to get him into the game,” said North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol. “But he was really good in the first and second and he had to be.”

The two teams remained scoreless throughout the first period, but both sides had several chances. Maine outshot North Dakota, 11-6, in the first, but couldn’t get anything to go.

Maine didn’t get much of anything going on their first two power plays in the first period, but the third one, an interference minor to Michael Parks early in the second, was the charm.

Spencer Abbott’s rocket shot from the point just five seconds into that power play at 2:03 cracked open the scoring, thanks to a faceoff win and pass from Will O’Neill.

Abbott said it was a simple designed play that worked to perfection that time.

“If we can win the puck back to O’Neill, he tries to look for me on the weak side for a one-timer and vice versa,” Abbott explained. “That’s really a set play for us.”

The Sioux did not flinch, stringing together several good shifts in a row as the second period wore on. North Dakota finally evened the score thanks to Parks. Just two shifts after his penalty allowed the Black Bears to take the lead, he brought a rush down the ice, and after being denied on his first attempt, circled around the net and squeezed in the tying goal between the skate of Maine goaltender Martin Oullette (18 saves) and the right post.

“Kinda lucky, but it’s the first goal, so I’ll take it,” said Parks.

The penalty was a lesson learned for the freshman, but he got his own redemption in the form of his first career goal.

“It wasn’t the smartest penalty to take, but it definitely felt good to score after that,” said Parks.

The game remained tied until late in the third period, when a wild sequence of events led to the tiebreaking goal.

North Dakota’s Andrew MacWilliam took an interference penalty at 14:26, but just six seconds later, Maine’s Joey Diamond erased that man-advantage with his fourth penalty of the game – and third penalty of the period – checking Ben Blood hard into the boards. Referees discussed giving Diamond a major for checking from behind before sending him to the penalty box with a boarding minor.

On the ensuing faceoff, Corban Knight, who won 16 of 22 faceoffs, passed to Blood, who fired a quick shot through traffic to score what would prove to be the game winner at 14:35.

Maine head coach Tim Whitehead said after the game that Diamond will not play in Saturday’s game after those big penalties Friday.

“Obviously, Diamond’s penalty changed the game,” Whitehead said. “It’s a shame when you beat yourself like that. That can be really frustrating.”

Abbott was also frustrated with the play.

“You really can’t take those penalties at that time of the game, especially when you’re a man up,” said Abbott.

Knight rounded out the scoring with a tap-in, back door goal at 18:35 on a pass from Blood at the top of the circles.

For North Dakota, Hakstol saw it as a big character win despite getting outshot, 31-21.

“We ground it out,” Hakstol said. “We weren’t pretty through the first 40 minutes, but we did what we had to do to go into the third period in a 1-1 tie. I thought we made some plays in the last 10 minutes. We created some opportunities. Mentally, we were not only disciplined in the way we were playing, but we were staying out of the box and got the job done.”

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  • 18 seconds before sunrise

    As a Maine hockey fan, I was pleased with how Maine played toe-to-toe (well, for most of the game) with a very good UND hockey team. I’m also pleased to read that Diamond will sit out Saturday night’s game, as his 3 penalties in the 3rd period were the epitome of lack of discipline. UND delivered, but Diamond got the assist.

    • Brett0909

      A Sioux fan here, but that game was Maine’s for the taking through the first two. Sloppy play from a (not yet very good) UND team much of the game, and Maine just didn’t capitalize on changes – partly due to Eidsness, but I’m sure Maine wishes they could have a second chance on some of those. A couple pipes definitely helped, and Diamond – wow. Watching that game in person, I was surprised he didn’t get pulled last night, not just for today’s game. A good job by UND finally picking it up in the third and a good win, but I definitely wouldn’t say Maine got outplayed. Hopefully we can continue to get some wins like this until the freshman acclimate and things start clicking. Looking forward to a good game tonight!

    • BD

      Yeah, Maine has gelled faster than UND this year.  THey will be a force on the east coast. 

      But UND had some pretty good flashes starting in the second period.  THey have further to go and will continue to improve.  Somehow UND always finds the groove in late December….

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

      Actually, Diamond had four penalties last night.

      • 18 seconds before sunrise

        Yes, he did. My comment was that he had 3 penalties in the 3rd period (alone). I should have mentioned that it was for a total of 4.

  • Arcticman

    From a Fighting Sioux fan, well put.

  • LincolnJim

    Well, if you’re Maine, you gotta think like a Sioux fan and say  ”but we won the game with 40 minutes of better play” kinda like when they played Michigan in the semis last year.  “we outshot them!”

    • Guest

      Not even a sue fan and they do say that sometimes but if you watched the MI game last year you have to admit that und did outplay them. At least that’s what all of the MI fans were saying after the game in st. Paul.

      • Brett0909

        Even comparing last years 40 shot shutout to MI to this game is laughable. Maine’s a good team, and definitely played at least as well as UND if not better much of the game. Eids in goal, fewer mistakes in the 3rd, and capitalizing on a couple of chances stole this game for UND. Compare that to an absolutely dominant performance against the Wolverines last year in a season-ending game, which was stolen by Hunwick and MI getting their one good scoring chance to fall, and we’re not even in the same ballpark let alone discussion. I have to wonder if those comparing the two even saw the games? Yeah, UND fans and the team itself were disappointed. As Berenson said after the game ‘the best team doesn’t always win’. Maine’s got a good team and I was surprised to see their season end early – I fully expect to see the Black Bears in it this year though. Always a team I root for, when they’re not playing UND. Hopefully the Maine fans can do their team a favor and keep it classy in here after a tough loss.  

    • Siouxbetcha

      To bad a UNO fan can’t use that excuse.  Badly outshot and outscored by the Seawolves.  You still got the best coach in the league, though.

    • Suture

      LincolnJimmy,  LOL…you are too much.  Another year of trolling  Sioux hockey on USCHO…:)  I suppose you wouldn’t want to comment on UNO’s nice weekend….I am sure you did not have anything too witty to say on UNO’s recap….lol.  But, Jimmy, don’t fret, Dean will get your team whipped into shape soon enough.  BTW, you comment on the FF semi’s the Sioux played in…….the “Sioux” played in…how did UNO do in their semi-final game?  Take care little buddy….:)

  • SUEH8TER

    WHAT DID BLOOD DO??  RUN SOMEONE AGAIN??  THAT IS ALL HE CAN DO TO GET THINGS GOING!

    • Siouxbetcha

      You left your caps lock on Sueh8er.  Are you angry?  You’re comments, despite dripping with wit, scream that you have no idea what happened.  You’re like a kid walking into the middle of an adult conversation. 

      • BD

        You got to understand that SUEH8TER is pathelogical in his postings.  Once you got that everything makes sense.

        He would still hate the Sioux if the entire team rescued a bus full of poor orphans from imminent disaster.

        • SUEH8TER

          DB  YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT ONE THING, I WILL ALWAYS HATE THE SUE.  I WOULD CHEER FOR THE RED ARMY TEAMS OF THE 70′S BEFORE I WOULD EVER THINK OF CHEERING FOR THE SUE!!!!!

          • BD

            How’s it going homeboy? 
            How’s the weather in Grand Forks this week?

    • Guest

      R u stupid? Did u not read the article. He scored the game winning goal and added an assist for the third just to make sure it was over.

  • hitchmagee

    You gotta be kidding me. Blood acts like he’s dead out there, faking all over the ice, then gets up, yells at Diamond, scores and goes back for more. Class all the way UND.

    • Brett0909

      Here’s a hint. Maine’s coach and players don’t criticize Diamond and bench him, one of their better players, if that’s truly a dive from Blood. Get a clue. Diamond took a dangerous boarding shot at Blood, that could easily have been a major or resulted in a broken neck, out of frustration from an ongoing battle he was losing much of the night. And yeah, I’ve seen the hit live and on TV 3 times. Same as the other 3 stupid penalties Diamond took. Trying to defend that and act like it’s a classless dive from UND is just plain stupid. If you want to be mad at someone, I suggest you look at Diamond who likely earned your team the loss. Ironic, that you somehow correlate classless to Blood for having a cheap shot taken at him, and put your player on a pedastal. I guess Maine and their coach (who it turns out know a thing or two about hockey) don’t agree with you based on their comments about the dumb penalty..and neither does the rest of the sane world. But hey, by all means keep on living in that fantasy world of yours where Maine’s a victim and you can show everyone how classy you are by making wild accusations about other teams being classless.

      • SUEH8TER

        what comes around goes around!!  the sue make their living cheap shotting anyone they can.  they are coached to. so if poor little benny blood got hit, too bad!

        • Brett0909

          Ahh, I get it. You’re just here to spout out nonsense in order to get attention and make yourself feel better about whatever pathetic team you support that isn’t even worth commenting about, so you have to fire off illogical drivel at other teams. Let me guess..didn’t get enough attention as a kid? First comes the accusations that UND’s not classy because they’re diving. That’s just plain stupid, so then we switch gears to UND’s the classless team because of some imaginary perceived ‘goonery’ in the past, so they deserve classless plays from other teams who are (because we’ve already illogically established that UND deserves it), thereby granted free-reign to take cheap shots and act superior. And UND’s the classless one. Interesting theory. Pathetic, but hey, I always had a soft spot – call it pity – for people who were born without the ability to make rational statements. Don’t worry, I’m sure your mom will agree with you, even if no one else does.

          • SUEH8TER

            ha ha dealing with all of you sue fans is like bass fishing.  just throw out the rapala and watch the action.  it is soooooooooooo  predictable it is scary!!  and yes, i will always stand by my assessment of the sue.  cheap, dirty and most of all OVER RATED!!!

          • Brett0909

            Ha. You’re fun. You sure got us there. You acting like an idiot and other fanbases predictably recognizing and calling you out for being an idiot definitely proves your point that…well, obviously you don’t actually have a point, but again – whatever floats your boat. My suggestion would be that you get a life and grow up, and maybe, just maybe, spend some time enjoying the fact that your recently down Gophers have had quite the nice season so far instead of hanging out reading Sioux boards and being a jerk. Unfortunately, I suspect the Goph’s won’t hold it together for too long, but I, like most Sioux fans, are actually starting to root for the Goph’s to at least come back to some form of respectability. A rivalry’s just no fun when one team consistently stinks. Here’s hoping they have a good run and perform up to their potential this year. Maybe if they do, their fans can get over the jealousy and douchy’ness.

          • Fan Man

            Couldnt have said that any better!!!!!!  I got nothing to add

      • hitchmagee

        Hey Brett, who said anything about a dive? The hit was a penalty, no doubt. But the reaction by Blood was the issue. Then to go up to Diamond in the box twice shows how undisciplined and difficult to like this UND team is. Fantasy world is making up all kinds of arguments that were never put forth. Put Diamond on a pedestal? No one said that here. Also, did you say Whitehead knows a thing or two about hockey? What is your evidence? His near complete demolition of a once proud hockey team?

        • Brett0909

          Fair enough. The tone of your original comment (implying Blood was acting then stating he has no class for yelling at Diamond, which coincidentally, he didn’t) implied a lot. Your somewhat reasonable response now might mean you’re not in the same league as SUEH8TER, but I’m sure if you read your original comment again you’ll probably understand why you got a reaction similar to what he/she earns. Calling a team classless based on some imaginary yelling as your evidence isn’t exactly a classy act. Sure, Blood rubbed it in his face a bit after Diamond took a cheap shot from behind at him, but that makes UND classless? Come on, it’s a competitive game. I’d say a little ribbing after-the-fact is a whole lot classier than taking a cheap shot, so let’s not act like Maine was being he victim or the ‘bigger person’ here.

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