College Hockey:
Kristo’s goal and assist help North Dakota beat Denver

— In a wild game that, for the most part, wasn’t as close as the score indicated, the No. 14 North Dakota Fighting Sioux beat the No. 9 Denver Pioneers, 4-3, in front of a packed house at Magness Arena in Denver. Danny Kristo had a goal and an assist, and Brad Eidsness made 26 saves. With the win, North Dakota moved into a tie for ninth with Cornell in the all-important PairWise rankings.

“We had a good start,” said Sioux coach Dave Hakstol. “We had a pretty solid 55 minutes of hockey, then got a little sloppy in the last five minutes. The bottom line is its a good win for us and an important two points.”

North Dakota came out with a lot of energy, dominating the action and putting Denver on its heels. As a result, Denver took two consecutive penalties. Though the Pioneers killed both off, at the end of the second, Denver turned it over along the right side boards and Kristo got it and fed it to Corban Knight all alone in front of the Denver net. Knight lifted it in at the 7:07 mark of the period.

“We definitely knew coming in that we wanted a fast start, and it was probably the best start we’ve had all season,” said Kristo. “We got that first goal, and going up 1-0 in the first period was huge. I think we were in control the entire first period. That first goal was a little bit of a weird play because the power play was just ending and the guy was still coming out of the box. I won a scrum along the wall and he was kind of open in front.”

The action got increasingly chippy, and Andrew MacWilliam put a hard check on Matt Tabrum that looked clean, but left Tabrum shaken up. MacWilliam was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head. However, Denver was unable to seize the momentum, and the Sioux kept the Pioneers pinned in their own end with an aggressive forecheck. North Dakota outshot Denver, 17-4, in the period.

“He’s a tough guy for us to lose, especially so early in the hockey game,” said Hakstol of MacWilliam. “I thought the guys did a good job of staying focused on the job at hand. They didn’t worry about what had happened in the game, or look too far forwards in the game. That was a good mentality for us tonight.”

Though Denver got off to a better start in the second period, North Dakota played smart, trying to spring players behind the Pioneers’ defense. The strategy paid off when Kristo got a partial breakaway and was hauled down by Denver defenseman Paul Philips in the slot. The referee immediately signaled penalty shot. Kristo skated up the right side and cut back to the middle, beating Sam Brittain five-hole at 7:21. The goal sapped any momentum Denver had.

“We’re a good transition team,” said Kristo. “Simpson made a good pass to me and I got taken down and luckily I got a penalty shot. I was planning on going five-hole from the start. He’s a big goalie and takes up a lot of the net, so I kind of tried to freeze him a little bit with a couple head fakes and his legs opened up a little bit, so I put it through his legs.”

North Dakota came out and dominated the first half of the third period. Carter Rowney made it 3-0 at 6:16 off a perfect feed by Joe Gleason. Gleason was in the right circle and passed it to Rowney in the left circle, who one-timed it into the open net before Brittain could dive back.

Barely two minutes later, Stephane Pattyn gave the Fighting Sioux a cushion when he beat Brittain from nearly the same spot as Rowney off a rush. That was all on the night for Brittain, who was replaced by Adam Murray.

That last goal would prove pivotal. With the game seemingly wrapped up, Luke Salazar got in close on Eidsness and fed a perfect pass to Drew Shore on the far post, who tapped it in at 14:34.

Playing for pride, the Pioneers finally got something going in the last minute. First, Joey LaLeggia beat Eidsness on the inside post with a quick wrist shot from the left circle at 19:13. Then, off a draw, Jason Zucker beat Eidsness five-hole with a shot from the hashmarks at the left circle with 11 seconds to go.

“They made plays and we were sloppy on details,” said Hakstol. “When your intensity drops against good teams, those things are going to happen.”

Both DU and North Dakota called timeout after the goal, but on the ensuing faceoff, Denver was kept pinned in its own end after North Dakota won the draw, and time ran out.

“It’s hard to say anything good about that game; you have to give full credit to North Dakota, they were better than us in every department tonight,” Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. “As lopsided as that game was after one period, Sam Brittain was the difference, he kept the game close and gave us a chance. I am extremely disappointed.”

The following is a self-policing forum for discussing views on this story. Comments that are derogatory, make personal attacks, are abusive, or contain profanity or racism will be removed at our discretion. USCHO.com is not responsible for comments posted by users. Please report any inappropriate or offensive comments by clicking the “Flag” link next to that comment in order to alert the moderator.

Please also keep “woofing,” taunting, and otherwise unsportsmanlike behavior to a minimum. Your posts will more than likely be deleted, and worse yet, you reflect badly on yourself, your favorite team and your conference.

  • guest

    Actually Zucker’s goal was a short side snipe in the top corner where there seemed ot be no room for the puck.

    • Arcticman

       Beautiful shot.  Any team would be better with Zucker,

      • umdfanman

        The Wild could use him next year…

        • Phoenixfyre1313

          he won’t make the team

    • Vizoroo

      Zucker has that shot down.

  • GoSioux

    sheppard and hunt are the worst officiating crew in the wcha.  They have no problem disrupting the flow of the game with made up majors and bs no calls.  The gwoz has nothing to complain about with the officiating since he benefitted from most of the officiating.  The best thing about leaving the wcha will be leave most of the officials behind

    • B.D.

      Tough call against MacWilliam, but I can see how an official getting only the briefest glance of what occurred could make the wrong decision.  Too bad video could not be used to correct….

      THis was the best I have seen UND play at the opening of a game yet this season.

    • Siouxbetcha

      Two calls stick out to me.  MacWilliams hit which was clean.  I think Sheppard made felt the call had to be made due to tabrum flipping on his head, a result from skating with his head down.  The second was Bloods hit in the last minute of the game which cost led Denver’s last goal.  Again, clean check against the boards and went on all night.
      It was very impressive that the Sioux were able to fight of the major and the loss of Mac and still build a 4 goal lead.  The Sioux appear to be in playoff form.

      • Guest

        Very much NOT a clean hit and the refs agreed.  People don’t fly like that and hit the boards when it is a clean hit.  Sioux are known for being dirty whiners.  That’s why you have so many rivalries in the WCHA

        • GoSioux

          How can you call contact to the head when the contact was in the chest.  The only thing the hit him the head was the boards.  I guess the will have to change the rule making the boards an extension of the body.  I bet he skates with his head up tonight.  After you figure out that hit explain how bloods check was a penalty.  2 mins excessive force.  

        • NDRocket

          Right…and I’m sure those rivalries have nothing to do with the fact that UND is a successful program that wins.  I’ve got news for you: every team hits hard.  It’s hockey.  Stop patting yourself on the back being a fan of the “angels” of the league (whoever you might claim that to be).  

          • NDRocket

            By they way, does the name Robbie Bina ring a bell?  Seems to me that was a Denver game.  No, couldn’t have been.  Only UND delivers cheap shots.

          • guest

            Does the name Jesse Martin ring a bell? Much worse break then Bina. Bina is still playing. Not saying DU is perfect but they aren’t as cheap as UND. DU is a successful program too and has fewer rivalries.

    • Guest

      Seriously?!?!?! Were you watching the same game.  It was completely created by the Refs…I won’t disagree that they are the worse refs in the WCHA/ NCAA but I would say UND benefited from the penalties.  DU spent 90% of the game on the penalty for clean checks…Plus Sioux fans are classless, rude, and by far don’t act like guests in an opposing teams arena.  They are worse then CC Fans, which is saying A LOT 

      • GoSioux

        90%.  18 total mins.  seems like 30%.  that is if they actually spent that much time a man down. now you are looking at 10-15%.  nice point.  

        • Guest

          And how much time did the Sioux spend on the penalty kill…not as much as DU.  Thanks for proving my point…classless rebuttles to comment.  

  • GeauxSioux

    Another hard, clean hit…another major called on UND. Atrocious. I understand calls like this are made to protect players but if you can’t skate with your head up, don’t play hockey. 

  • UofMGoldenChokers

    Wasn’t it Anderson and hunt for the refs?

    • GoSioux

      My mistake it was the highly regarded todd anderson.  sheppard is the other gem of the wcha 

      • Phoenixfyre1313

        then of course there is Don Adam.  I am afraid there are no good officials in the WCHA!

      • Guest

        Now here is something DU and UND fans can agree on…they are both terrible refs!

    • scott

      It was anderson and B-shep, who are just a terrible pair

  • HugeHockeyFan

    Should be another awesome game tonight!!!

    Go SIOUX!!!

  • Guest

    For most people at the game the Mac Williams hit was not clean.  Matt Tabrum’s head hit the boards first.  Didn’t anyone see the trainers? That could have been a serious hit. The trainer was up and over the boards before the whistle was blown! It didn’t appear to be a clean hit from anyone who knows what a hockey check looks like.  While I am glad the refs called a 5 and a game for that hit…they called penalties on some other hits that were just plan checking.  UND is a bunch of divers and have classless, rude fans.

    • Idrivethezam

       As a Denver fan who saw multiple replays, the initial hit was clean shoulder to chest.  As he (Tabrum) was falling Mac’s elbow caught him on the top of the shoulder.  No head contact.  The ref made an instinct call from behind the play.

    • Scott

      Carey Fraser, who was the color analyst for the game on NBC sports and who was a ref in the NHL for a very long time said that the hit was clean. Pretty sure he may or may not have a little bit more knowledge on what a clean check is that you do. 

      • Guest

        you know, in all reality, you have no idea who I am do you? And I believe he is human correct? Most humans make mistakes and have their own OPINIONS.  The refs saw it differently.

    • Fan Man

       In reality, who are you to call names and tell another team they are classless you classless jerk!  Get real already…..  Nice shout~out

  • Phoenixfyre1313

    North Dakota would be much better off playing Eidsness the rest of the way.  Dell’s poor save % will eventually come back to bite you.

North Dakota 2016 National ChampionsBNY Mellon Wealth Management