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Published October 30, 2011, 09:48 AM

UND Hockey: Sioux Fire Back

Grand Forks, ND - UND finally solves Faragher, avoids first-ever 0-4 league start

By: Brad Elliott Schlossman, grandforkshearld.com

With the new formation that the Sioux debuted last weekend, Mark MacMillan tipped a Ben Blood point shot to break the four-period goal drought and send the Sioux on their way to a 3-1 win over St. Cloud State on Saturday night.

UND had fired 54 shots at St. Cloud State goalie Ryan Faragher with nothing to show for it.

So, why not try three defensemen on the power play?

With the new formation that the Sioux debuted last weekend, Mark MacMillan tipped a Ben Blood point shot to break the four-period goal drought and send the Sioux on their way to a 3-1 win over St. Cloud State on Saturday night.

The Sioux (3-4-1, 1-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) were able to grab a series split against the Huskies in front of 11,747 in Ralph Engelstad Arena and avoid an 0-4 start in league play for the first time ever.

Corban Knight and Brock Nelson also scored for the Sioux, who snapped the program’s longest winless drought (four games) in five years.

“That’s important for us,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said of the win. “You can only talk so long about doing good things and maybe deserving a little better. You have to have the results to show for it. Guys had a great mental resolve coming to the rink today. Nobody was hanging their heads. Nobody was looking back. We went out and worked hard and got two points to show for it.”

Hakstol credited associate coach Cary Eades for putting together the three defenseman formation on the power play. Defensemen Dillon Simpson and Derek Forbort work the point, while Blood is stationed on the half wall.

On the goal that snapped the scoring slump, Blood walked out from the wall and fired a shot from the top of the right circle. MacMillan was stationed on top of the crease and re-directed the shot just inside the post at the 1:13 mark of the second.

It ended Faragher’s shutout streak at 114:24.

“Once we got that one, it felt like we had a 500-pound monkey off of our back,” Knight said. “It was definitely a relief to get that one in there, especially a greasy goal. It was a great tip by Easy there. It was a huge goal for us just to kind of lift the bench and get everyone going and put some fire under our legs.”

Hakstol said he privately had hoped UND would score in the first 10 minutes of the game, but was OK with how it turned out.

“We got the first one of the game,” Hakstol said. “It was a big goal for us. We had 20 shots on the power play (Friday), but we didn’t have anything to show for it. That’s a great power-play goal — great net-front presence taking away the goaltender’s eyes and a shot to a stick.”

Look for the Sioux to continue the three-defenseman power play next weekend when they travel to Mariucci Arena to take on rival Minnesota.

“It’s something we talked about a couple of weeks ago, looked at it, worked on it in practice and used it in Wisconsin last week,” Hakstol said. “We saw some real good signs out of it. We wanted to stay with it. Cary has done a real good job building a real simple mentality to that group.

“That group of three all have good, strong hands, all can get pucks to the net and all have good puck poise.”

UND ended up scoring back-to-back goals midway through the second to pull away. Knight fought through a check and snapped a shot from the inside of the left circle at 11:11 and Nelson blasted a pass from Rocco Grimaldi at 12:40.

UND put forth maybe its best defensive effort and Aaron Dell stood tall with 20 saves, allowing only a doorstep goal by Ben Hanowski with 36 seconds left in the second.

“It just seemed like we had a little more energy,” Hakstol said. “St. Cloud makes a lot of plays when they gain the offensively blue line. If you don’t have any back pressure on those good players, they are going to make plays. They made some tonight, just not as many.”

Notes: Taylor Dickin replaced Dan Senkbeil on UND’s fourth line. . . St. Cloud State scratched defenseman Taylor Johnson for Tim Daly. . . St. Cloud State fourth-line wing Nick Oliver, a former Roseau High School player, sat out the game with an automatic suspension for his checking from behind major and game disqualification Friday night. . . St. Cloud State goalie Mike Lee didn’t make the trip because of a lower-body injury. . . Kristo now has points in 21 of the last 25 games. He assisted on Knight’s goal.

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