GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The only thing more explosive than the fireworks that followed each North Dakota goal Friday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena, was the scoring itself.
The Fighting Sioux and No. 4 Colorado College combined for 13 goals in a 7-6 Sioux win.
“We knew Colorado College is a tough team, so we had to come out on all eight cylinders, and I thought we did that tonight,” said Sioux forward Danny Kristo. “Scoring seven goals is big for our team, and I think it’s going to give our forwards some confidence.”
Kristo and Brock Nelson each scored two goals and an assist, and Corban Knight had three assists to lead the Sioux. Rylan Schwartz recorded his second hat trick of the season for the Tigers.
Nelson scored the game-winner with 8:06 left in the game.
The teams wrap up the series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
“We had chances on a couple goals to tie it late, but it was just one of those nights,” said CC coach Scott Owens.
It took half of the game for both starting goaltenders to get yanked, each near the midpoint of the second period. UND’s Aaron Dell had 16 saves on 22 shots when he was pulled for Brad Eidsness. CC goalie Joe Howe replaced Josh Thorimbert, who finished with 14 saves on 19 shots.
Perhaps Thorimbert wasn’t fully to blame for the goals he allowed in the first period.
Kristo carried the puck from the corner to the crease, untouched, and backhanded it between Thorimbert’s left arm and the post 26 seconds into the game. Knight made an excellent no-look, behind-the-back pass to Carter Rowney, left alone in front of Thorimbert, for a power-play goal at the 7:08 mark.
The CC defense forgot about Michael Parks, also left alone in front of Thorimbert, with 5:20 left in the period for another Sioux goal.
“I was disappointed with the way we reacted defensively down low,” Owens said. “We got walked out of the corner, and I was disappointed with that, initially.”
A Mike Boivan shot from the point hit bodies in front and Rylan Schwartz got the puck and turned around to put into an open net at 12:04.
The Tigers tied it 29 seconds into the second period when Gabe Guentzel ripped a shot from the point that hit double iron and popped back to the ice in front of Dell. The immediate response from both teams was to continue play, but the play was called a goal. It was not reviewed.
UND grabbed another two-goal lead when Nick Mattson and Nelson scored 1:10 apart, but CC came storming back to take the lead on a goal by Nick Dineen and two more by Schwartz in a span of 3:13.
However, Kristo, the guy that started this scoring frenzy in the game’s first minute, came through on an unassisted goal when he blocked a CC outlet pass and shot the puck past Howe’s glove side.
“I thought that was the most important part of the game for our team,” said UND coach Dave Hakstol.
Eidsness shut the Tigers out on 13 shots in the game’s final 29 minutes. Howe allowed two goals on 13 shots.
“I don’t think Aaron Dell allowed a bad goal until the fifth goal, but we needed to make a change for our team,” Hakstol said. “Brad did a great job going in and gave us a chance to win.”