SignUp
Basketball Big Game Plans - WBB
Danny Kristo had a goal and an assist to reach the 150-point plateau for his career.
Pioneers edge North Dakota 5-4 in WCHA battle
Text smallerText larger
Updated: Saturday 02/24/2013 20:56:35 (ET)
by Jayson Hajdu, UND Athletic Media Relations
Send this article to a friend Print RSS Shop

DENVER -- When freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi opened the scoring just 2:59 into tonight's game at Denver, it appeared sixth-ranked North Dakota was off to the kind of start it takes to win on the road in the WCHA.

But UND was unable to sustain that early momentum, a theme that would haunt it all night in an eventual 5-4 loss to the 10th-ranked Pioneers.

Despite UND goals in the opening minutes of each of the first two periods, DU was able to build leads of 4-2 and 5-3 before withstanding a final UND rally in the third period to hang on for the victory.

Five different Pioneers scored while goalie Juho Olkinuora made 35 saves. For head coach Dave Hakstol, UND was its own worst enemy.

" I thought we were a very sloppy hockey team tonight. It cost us an opportunity at points," said Hakstol. "You have to be able to sustain that push. You can't just come out with a one or two shift burst. We didn't sustain a whole lot through the entire night."

A Carter Rowney goal 68 seconds into the second period put UND up 2-1, but DU responded with three straight including power-play tallies by Chris Knowlton and Joe LaLaggia to go ahead 4-2.

UND senior Corban Knight cut the deficit to 4-3 with a power-play one-timer from the left circle midway through the second period, but Nick Score restored DU's 2-goal lead early in the third period, crashing the net and banging a rebound past Clarke Saunders.

UND responded with a short-handed goal five minutes later by Danny Kristo, who received a perfect 2-on-1 saucer pass from Knight and beat Olkinuora for his team-leading 19th goal of the season.

UND put heavy pressure on the Pioneers the rest of the way, recording 17 third-period shots, but could not put a fifth goal past Olkinuora, who was spectacular at times. His diving, cross-crease stick save on Knight kept DU in position to hang on to the win.

"That goalie made some pretty incredible saves," said sophomore defenseman Nick Mattson. "He pulled a couple of good ones out. At the same time we had 39 shots on net and we probably could have buried a few more."

Hakstol concurred.

"I thought there was probably four or five real good chances their goaltender made real good saves on, but when you don't play at a sustained level, more often than not you're leaving things to chance. You're leaving it to a bounce of the puck, you're leaving it to a penalty call, you're leaving it to a great save or two by the opposing goaltender. And that's what we did tonight. We didn't do all the things that we can do to win a hockey game."

The loss snapped UND's 5-game unbeaten streak.

Knight said the effort has to be much better on Saturday night.

"First off we need to be prepared and come with a little more intensity," said Knight. "Tonight wasn't indicative of the way we've played the last couple of weeks. We need to step up and re-focus for tomorrow."

Saunders finished with 14 saves on 16 shots after relieving Zane Gothberg, who was pulled after DU went up 3-2. Gothberg stopped 22 of 25 shots.

UND went 1-for-7 on the power play while the Pioneers went 2-for-5.

The two teams face off Saturday night at 8:07 p.m. Central.


Gameday Live: UND vs Wisconsin
WHKY Gameday Live vs Wisconsin MORE
FOX College Sports to air four women’s hockey games
The University of North Dakota Athletics Department announced today it has reached an agreement with FOX College Sports (FCS) to broadcast four women's hockey games on national television in... MORE
UND to host Big Sky Championships on Saturday
With the cross country regular season now completed, the 2014 Big Sky Conference Championships are slated for this weekend, and for the first time ever, the University of North Dakota will play... MORE
Balanced attack gives UND 20th win
SACRAMENTO, Calif.-- Behind a balanced offensive attack that saw four players with at least nine kills, the University of North Dakota picked up its 20th win of the season, downing host... MORE
Idalski in studio on UND Sports Extra
Head women's hockey coach Brian Idalski was in studio on this week's UND Sports Extra. Idalski previewed the upcoming match-up against Wisconsin, which will be televised nationally by Midco... MORE

advertisement