Sioux Hockey: Sioux win 4-3, sweep Colorado CollegeSix days ago, the UND men’s hockey team took the ice in the early morning for a hard skate after a loss to Bemidji State. Later in the day, the team found out they didn’t receive any votes in the USCHO poll for the first time since 2002. Obviously, the Sioux had no intentions of making a habit out of these things this season.
By: Brad Elliott Schlossman, grandforkshearld.com
Six days ago, the UND men’s hockey team took the ice in the early morning for a hard skate after a loss to Bemidji State. Later in the day, the team found out they didn’t receive any votes in the USCHO poll for the first time since 2002.
Obviously, the Sioux had no intentions of making a habit out of these things this season.
UND rebounded from a disappointing weekend to sweep the No. 4 team in the country – Colorado College – in a wild weekend in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Brock Nelson had his second straight three-point night, while linemates Corban Knight and Danny Kristo each added a goal and an assist to lift the Sioux to a 4-3 victory over the Tigers in a tense series finale.
“It was a huge stepping stone in our season,” goaltender Aaron Dell said. “I think we found our touch now.”
The Sioux, who entered the weekend struggling offensively, racked up 11 goals against the Tigers and earned the first sweep of the season. UND improved to 6-7-1 overall and 4-6 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association and will have the opportunity to get back to .500 next weekend in Anchorage.
After winning a 7-6 thriller to open the weekend, the team mantra entering the series finale was, “no more steps back.” Sioux coach Dave Hakstol believes the team succeeded in that.
“We took a step forward tonight,” Hakstol said. “It was a highly competitive game. I like the way we played. We got good minutes out of everybody on our bench. It took every last bit, including a great save by Aaron Dell in the last minute.
“I liked the overall poise of the team. We’ve got a little ways to go, but that’s a good step in the right direction.”
UND needed every goal to overcome an explosive Colorado College team that received a hat trick from junior Rylan Schwartz for the second straight night.
The eventual winner was a third-period shorthanded goal by Kristo, who was electric with five points on the weekend.
Kristo got the puck from Tiger forward Jaden Schwartz along the wall in the neutral zone and flew up the right wing. With Gabe Guentzel defending him, Kristo snapped a wrist shot short side from the circle to make it 4-2 Sioux with 13:51 remaining.
Rylan Schwartz, who has eight goals in the last three games against UND, finished off the hat trick with family and friends from his native Saskatchewan in attendance at 13:25 of the third, cutting the Sioux lead to one. But UND held on as the Tigers threw several pucks at Dell in the final minutes.
After the loss, Jaden Schwartz snapped his stick in frustration while the Sioux gathered at center ice for the first stick salute of the season.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Kristo said. “All the boys are pretty pumped up right now, as they should be. We worked pretty hard this week. CC is a good team, too. I thought we deserved it. I thought we played well. I think we should enjoy this tonight, but we’ve got to be ready for next weekend going to Alaska.”
The Sioux battled back from two deficits to get the win. Rylan Schwartz put the Tigers up 1-0 just 40 seconds into the game, but Nelson tied it with a power-play goal at 5:07 of the first. Rylan’s second came at 15:36, but UND responded with a Derek Rodwell tip-in goal at 19:42.
Knight gave the Sioux their first lead with a doorstep goal at 19:25 of the second period, and UND never gave it up.
“One of the main focuses last night was that we couldn’t take a step back,” Nelson said. “Tonight, we just wanted to keep going to the net, put pucks to the net and capitalize on our chances. We had a couple of big plays. Danny’s shorthanded goal was a big play in the game for us.
“It’s a great feeling, that’s for sure. Guys battled hard all weekend. It was definitely a fun weekend.”
Notes: Colorado College defenseman Eamonn McDermott was held out of the game with a lower-body injury. Freshman Ian Young played in his place. . . UND played seven defensemen with Joe Gleason going back to defense for the series finale. . . Brendan O’Donnell led UND with five shots on goal. . . Jaden Schwartz extended his point streak to 17 games. . . This game was the first time the Tigers failed to score four goals in a game since the series opener in early October.