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College Hockey:
North Dakota’s ‘best effort’ ends in sweep of Wisconsin

— After seeing two more leads evaporate in the first two periods, North Dakota made sure its third lead stuck Saturday night.

Michael Parks’ second period goal gave UND the lead for good, as North Dakota left nothing to chance and took command for the 4-2 sweep-clinching victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in front of 11,898 at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

UND’s high-flying top line combined for five points in the victory and Brad Eidsness stopped 20 for the victory in just his fifth start of the season.

North Dakota earned its second sweep of the season, jump-starting its playoff hopes to avenge a sweep at the hands of this young Badger team in October.

Simply splitting wasn’t enough.

“We wanted to focus on playing another 60 minutes tonight and we were able to do that,” said UND forward Brock Nelson.

UND once again built two leads early in the game, only to see them erased by timely Wisconsin responses.

Danny Kristo finished off a give-and-go with Nelson at 19:05 of the first period, but ten seconds later, another strange bounce allowed Wisconsin to tie it. Keegan Meuer appeared to trip Andrew MacWilliam while racing towards a puck in the UND zone. The puck bounced off the end boards and right to Meuer, who banged it home for the controversial tying goal.

MacWilliam was visibly frustrated by the non-call, but two minutes into the second, he got his revenge in the form of a goal of his own, blasting it from well behind the blue line and over Joel Rumpel’s (37 saves) shoulder for his second career goal.

“That’s karma,” MacWilliam said. “I just got the puck, and I’ve rimmed it so much so I just said ‘screw it’ and put it on net. Luckily it went in.”

North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol, who spent several minutes arguing with referees Jonathan Morrison and Tom Sterns, agreed with his junior defenseman.

“Maybe things have a way of evening out,” Hakstol said. “I guess that’s all I’ll say.”

Wisconsin briefly tied it midway through the second, with John Ramage feathering a backhand shot past Eidsness at 10:33.

But instead of letting Wisconsin hang around, North Dakota bore down and took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

At 15:21 of the second, Michael Parks finished his own chance, cleaning up loose change for the 3-2 lead.

There’d be no answer to that one.

Instead, Nelson tapped in his own rebound at 6:30 of the third to build that lead and UND’s defense clamped down to prevent Wisconsin from having any chance at getting within reach.

“We didn’t make plays in those tough moments, in those moments of truth,” said Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves. “That’s the difference.”

Hakstol was very happy with his team’s ability to dictate the final 20 minutes.

“I thought we played an outstanding third period,” Eaves said. “We kept our foot on the gas, we pushed pucks, we took away time and space, and I don’t think we gave up a grade A opportunity against.”

Eaves added that he had some positives to take out of the weekend despite never being able to grab the lead.

“Coming into this weekend, we knew it was going to be a real good litmus test for us,” he said. “You just have to take a look at the things that happened this weekend, a lot of good things, but not enough good things to get us wins. That’s the final measurement line, but there’s a lot of good things that we did that our team can build on.”

North Dakota, meanwhile, heads into its second off week of the season on a high note.

“We get to sit with this result for two weeks,” said Hakstol. “We get a bye week next week, so we wanted to make sure we put our best effort on the ice this week. I thought we did that.”

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  • SoCalSiouxFan

    Sioux looked like good tonight.   Lots of chances on the powerplays and penalty kill worked well.  Blood was awesome as usual.  Plays more minutes than anyone else and still outworking the opposition late in the game. 

  • Suture

    This is the least talent I have seen on a Sioux team since the early ’90′s.  Too see them play with so much grit and win two big games this weekend is just as impressive as watching Frattin rip in a few in one of the many wins they had last year. I have never been so proud of a Sioux team in a long, long time.  Reminds me a lot of the 2000 Sioux….would love to see the same result….:)

  • UofMGoldenChokers

    Definitely a good weekend for the Sioux. Dont really like all the weak goals they gave up to Wisconsin, but I will definitely take the wins. Anyone want to take a guess as to how long it takes some pathetic goophs fan to come in and talk about BARELY getting a sweep against St. Cloud?

    • Ralph

      Why are you all over the Minnesota chat than?

      • nogofer

        Is English new to you?

        • Ralph

          There was more to my statement and I didn’t delete it all by mistake. I’m so sorry I let you down.

          I think it’s funny how the guy on the top of this thread is doing the very thing he is complaining about. Do you find that funny?

          You haven’t made one worthwhile comment…

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            I never went into the goophs recap and starting barking up a storm about how good the Sioux are. Yet all the time, some retarded gooph fan comes in here and starts talking up the goophs like they are the greatest team on the planet.

          • Ralph

            Really?  You have 10 of the 43 posts for 23% of the traffic in this week’s Gopher recap with your wonderful name.

            Way to pick on disabled people, too.

    • Ralph

      Look at your name, you’re doing what your complaining about.

      • nogofer

        That gives us something to think about…

        • Ralph

          Don’t think too hard…

          • nogofer

            No worries, you’re not worthy…

          • Ralph

            You’re not worthy…

          • nogofer

            Ouch…

          • Ralph

            Ouch…

          • nogofer

            Do you ever have an original thought or do you just drink the gofer koolaide?

          • Ralph

            My original thought: your buddy is doing the same thing his is complaining about – I’ve been waiting for yours.  He has 10 of the 43 comments over on the Gopher recap while complaining about Gopher traffic in here.  I hope that’s simple enough for you…

          • nogofer

            You are more than simple enough for me, and the rest of us as well…

          • Ralph

            Still waiting…

    • Taylor Birkelo

      Dude you seriously have issues, the gophers beat the sioux 3/4 nothing more to say.

      • North Dakota!

        The Sioux have 7 NCAA titles and 15 WCHA titles, nothing more to say

        • North Dakota!

          Oh by the way read my other comment and you’ll understand why the Fighting Sioux have are better then the gophers.

  • OccupytheRalph

    If Ralph Engelstad celebrated Osama  bin Laden’s birthday the way he did Hitler’s, how could any UND fan stand to have his name associated with the program?

    • collegehockeyfan

      go play in your dump of an arena.

      • siouxhockey33

        without beer!!!! haha!

    • Akadrmas

      This comment is just another example of USCHO not following their own guidelines.  I have flagged this persons comments twice and it gets ignored by the USCHO staff.  Pretty typical of the way this web site runs.

      • Suture

        Did you tell your momma the mean guys at USCHO were being hard on you? You sound just like the cry-baby Gofairs you apparently cheer for. You see, there are two truth’s in life. One, everybody, every hockey player has been blessed with God-given talents. Typically the Gofairs seem to have a nice collection of talent each and every year.

        Two, nothing is for free. No matter where you come from and no matter your background, everybody has to work for what they want in life. This, my friend, is where the Sioux excel and the Gofairs fail. You saw both games did you? Talent might be a little different between any two teams or even any two games….I would say that is the norm every year in the WCHA. But, the Sioux/Badger series was up and down the ice for 6 periods this weekend. I would ride either of these teams into the Tourney before I jumped on the likes of the heartless Gofairs. And, this is not hyperbole….everybody knows the Goph’s play like spoiled children. I mean, look at Wehr lady year. Gets his bell rung CLEANLY by Malone and the Goph’s start a fight. Enough said.

        • Suture

          My bad Akadrmas. My comments were really for the “occupytheralph” dude. Sorry.

        • FightingWho?

          sioux talent level varies year to year like every other team.  Funny how the thug level never takes a dip.  Best part of sioux game is often after the final horn.

          • nogofer

            Review the video. dolt…

        • Taylor Birkelo

          You guys make no sense and learn how to spell GOPHER while you are at it, at least we have a mascot and  why don’t stop wasting your time on here and move to the oil rigs like the rest of your state.

          • nogofer

            The Fighting Sioux have not had a mascot for nearly 50 years.  Perhaps you are confusing the terms mascot, logo and nick-name.  Understandable, as what I have read from you indicates confusion…

          • Taylor Birkelo

            Well thanks, the gophers have them there too. I guess UND doesn’t have any of those now do they? Again they are not the fighting sioux.

          • nogofer

            Are you confused about the 7 NCAA Title banners THE FIGHTING SIOUX have hanging from the rafters of the best rink on the planet or are you confused with the league-leading 15 WCHA Playoff Title bannes that adorn the other end?

          • Taylor Birkelo

            Yeah and then thats about it when it come to D1 titles for “North Dakota” AKA not the Fighting Sioux.Come down to Minneapolis, a real city and you can see an impressive range of banners.

          • nogofer

            If you’ve been paying attention you know I live in the Cities.  I’ve been to Maryhoochie and have seen your banners.  ND has more…

  • SUEH8TER

    Whooooooooooooooooooo  Hooooooooooooooooooo, sweep wisc. at home with the lions share of the calls.  2 power plays to 6.  BIG DEAL.  I watched some of the game between periods of the gopher game and it was like watching division 3 hockey after watching the gophers and huskies.

    • nogofer

      It is spelled “gofer”…

    • GeauxSioux

      You and I both know that your team will fold like they do every year. Classic goof ritual.

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      Gee, the mighty rodents BARELY sweep against St. Cloud. What were they coming into the weekend? 30th in the pairwise? Yeah, the goophs are on a roll……….

      • guest

        I know what your choking, moron… did you see any of the game, most of it was played in SCSU’s end and they outshot the Huskies by a 4-1 margin.. Remove an extremely hot goalie and the score would have been double digits… You must be a Sue fan

      • Taylor Birkelo

        Ha coming from a team who doesn’t even have a mascot. Wisconsin wasn’t much higher and check the standing while your at it.

    • nogofer

      Sioux are penalized less because they don’t play gofer/goon hockey. 

      • WCHAFAN

        What world do you live in?  The Suzies are the queens of goon hockey.  True hockey lives in northern MN and Canada.  All you Sue and Goof fans know are teams piece-mealed together to knock each other around and try to win a NCAA title now and again by puhing their way past the goal-crease. (Which, while I laugh, has not happened in almost a decade, even longer for the former Suzies.)  Teams with real players don’t fight in the handshake line.

        • nogofer

          If true hockey does originate in Canada, why all the hatred of The Fighting Sioux, many of whom do hail from the territories?  And to correct yet another mistake, go to USCHO’s list of WCHA penalty minutes.  The Fighting Sioux are one of the least penalized…

          • Taylor Birkelo

            Correction, your not the Fighting Sioux, if your going to be all anal.

          • nogofer

            Why am I not surprized you said THAT word?  You are a mn fan, from mn, go to school in mn, can’t seen beyond mn…  A great world exists beyond your borders, put on your bigboy pants and experience it!

  • guest

    I think the heading says it all “North Dakota’s BEST EFFORT” lol… I havent looked but I bet Wisc isnt even in the pairwise ranking so you must be proud… Losing 3 of 4 to the mighty rodents (as you call them) your only win was a fluke, but its all good.. We’ll see ya in the tourney, or not !!!  I sure hope they can continue to bring their “BEST EFFORT” as they will surely need it.. The fighting MOO didnt look so good when the Gophers shut them out and swept them and the only comment regarding the MOO was (poorly stated) “this is the least talent I have seen on a MOO team since the early 90′s” but totally correct… I have to laugh about how great Ben Blood is.. The guys a total loser, going after our smallest guy in the handshake line.. but then I spose he has the right to be upset, his hockey career is soon to be over for good, Mr Rau will play for the Fla Panthers when he’s done making his mark in Mn

    • Fan Man

      Since some of the reports on hear are Goofer fans that is not shocking to me!  Give UND a reporter and im sure you’d see headlines like that also!!!

    • Fan Man

      And Mr Gramaldi will also!  Come to think of it, what would this season be like if Rocco was there to put up better numbers than Rau?  After all, drafted by same team same year but Rocco went 33 overall and Rau went 91st…..   Hmmm  Pretty confident in saying that Rocco is the better player here as judged by NHL scouts!  The Sioux’s luck just ran a little short this year injury wise while the Gophers have not really faced adversity at all yet this year…

    • North Dakota!

      Actually it’s St. Cloud that isn’t in the pairwise ranking. Just because Ben Blood is an amazing player with a lot of grit, determination, and because he decided to commit to the better college hockey program doesn’t mean you have to “attempt” to bring Blood down. If Mr. Blood played for the gophers you would be praising him. So calm down.

  • Anonymous

    Haters, as they, gonna hate. We’ll see you in April.

  • North Dakota!

    Everybody needs to calm down. I’m just going to get this out. I’m a Fighting Sioux fan so yes I’m biased. But when looking at success of both teams in the playoffs the Sioux have the Gophers beat. 7 National Championships to the Gophers 5. Also the Sioux are 15 TIME WCHA Champs to the Gophers 12. So yeah the Sioux are the better college hockey program. Also Taylor Birkelo why would you make a stupid comment like that? “move to the oil rigs like the rest of your state” This is true, bringing billions of dollars of revenue to our state. North Dakota has an amazing surplus and the lowest unemployment in the country. So we are rolling in dough and what has Minnesota done? Shut down their government because they don’t know how economics works. Taylor if you are not from Minnesota then North Dakota probably still has you beat economic wise and college hockey wise. Everyone just CALM DOWN. The Gophers have a great hockey program, but the FIGHTING SIOUX HAS THE BETTER COLLEGE HOCKEY PROGRAM!!!! ALSO NORTH DAKOTA IS THE BEST STATE IN THE COUNTRY! Oil rigs, only 3.8% unemployment, BILLION DOLLOR SURPLUS! So yeah, NORTH DAKOTA IS BEAST!!!!!!! Calm down.

  • siouxhockey33

    all you gopher fans need to quit your complaining. alot of you are classless fans who feel the need to make yourselves feel better by talking crap to all your rival teams, who for the most part dont deserve it. this is why sioux fans are some of the classiest in the nation, yes we do chant stuff bashing the other team but we end it there once the final horn has gone off. grow up its just a game.

  • UNDFIGHTINGSIOUXSCORING

    No kidding, gopher fans making fun of a state that does not shutdown its government, does not cost its state millions of dollars, have won more championships, and WCHA titles; yet they continue to act as if they have and have had the better hockey program/state. Minnesotans just don’t get it, go back to your gopher thread where irrelevant, pointless, and classless comments are the norm.

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