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Corban Knight extended his point streak to 14 games with a 4-point night.
UND pushes unbeaten streak to six with 5-2 win
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Updated: Sunday 01/04/2013 23:21:56 (ET)
by Virg Foss, UNDsports.com
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- North Dakota senior center Corban Knight is sizzling hot but you'd never know it when talking to the team scoring leader from High Plains, Alberta.

Knight scored twice and assisted on two other goals in North Dakota's 5-2 victory tonight over Atlantic Hockey's Holy Cross in front of 10,741 fans at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Knight, just named national Division I player of the month for December, kept up his torrid scoring pace to help UND improve to 11-5-3 overall and 5-0-1 in its last six games in the first game of the weekend Subway Holiday Classic.

Knight has 25 points in his last 14 games. He has scored at least one goal in each of his last six games and ran his point streak to 14 games. For the season, he leads UND with 27 points in 18 games.

Holy Cross, which dropped to 0-3 all-time against UND and to 10-5-2 this season, averted a shutout on goals by Mike McNamara and Casten Sommer in the last six minutes of the game.

But back to Knight. After senior center Carter Rowney (Sexsmith, Alberta) scored on a power play just 1:21 into the game on UND's first shot on net, Knight took charge.

He first scored on a one-timer on a feed from linemate Danny Kristo (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) on a power play at 4:20. Then he rifled in his second goal from the right faceoff circle at 16:32 for a 3-0 UND lead after one period.

It was that kind of night (and Knight) for UND, which outshot Holy Cross 41-15 and converted a season-best three power plays on five chances.

Knight passes off the credit for his hot streak. "It feels nice, but I think it's getting blown out of proportion,'' Knight said. "You look at our team and we're all playing extremely well right now.''

But nobody has the magical scoring touch Knight is riding with his second four-point outing in the last three games.

"I've been on the good end of a lot of nice plays by my linemates and other teammates,'' Knight said.

Sophomore Michael Parks (St. Louis, Mo.) rejoined the lineup after being sidelined with an undisclosed injury since the first game of the season. He played left wing on the line centered by Knight with Kristo on the right side.

Parks scored his first goal of the season, knocking in a rebound of his own shot to make it 4-0 at 4:30 of the second period. Parks had a career-high five shots on goal, tops on the team.

Kristo took advantage of an open net created by a misplay by Holy Cross goalie Matt Ginn behind his net to wrap up UND's scoring with a power-play goal at 17:58 of the second period.

UND, coming off a 20-day layoff, seemed to shake the rust off quickly. "Coming off of a break, it's important to try to get as much rust off as we could,'' Knight said. "With the start we had, I think we're all pretty happy with it. It was a good way to set the tone for the game.''

Knight said Parks fit on well on his line. "Mike's a special player the way he can protect the puck and how strong he is. Having him on our line, we were pretty excited about that,'' Knight said.

Said Parks: "It's just an unbelievable feeling to finally be back. The first 15-20 minutes, I felt kind of slow, rusty as I thought I would. I think I got back into it by the second period.''

The two goals in the opening 4:20 of the game set the tone for UND's dominance. Holy Cross didn't get its first shot on goal until 6:30 remained in the first period, while UND had 14 shots on the board (and two goals) by then.

"That was probably the ideal start for us,'' Hakstol said. "I thought (we had) a workmanlike 60 minutes.''

Hakstol looked at Knight's overall play more so than his skyrocketing points total. "He's played well in all three zones,'' Hakstol said. "For me, that's the key to his whole game. He's playing a complete game.''

Hakstol said Knight has worked very hard at his game. The outpouring of points show that. "He's showing signs of this over the past year, year-and-a-half,'' Hakstol said. "Right now, he's playing with a lot of confidence. He's doing it the right way. You might say it's a hot streak. I don't believe that. I just think he's playing good hockey.''

Knight, an assistant captain, deflected credit for his point streak, but Hakstol credits him.

"Corban's a humble person,'' Hakstol said. "That's one of greatest qualities and that's what makes him such a great leader and such a presence in our lockerroom.''

Junior goalie Clarke Saunders (Brockville, Ontario), the transfer from Alabama-Huntsville, finished with 13 saves in boosting his won-lost record to 9-3-3.

UND NOTES: Knight's 14-game point streak is UND's longest since Brandon Bochenski had a 17-game streak in 2002-03 ... Sophomore center Mark MacMillan (Penticton, British Columbia) led his team to a 32-21 faceoff edge by winning 10 of 13 draws . . . Knight, the team leader in faceoff wins, won 10 of 16 draws....Knight was named No. 1 star by the media, followed by Kristo and junior defenseman Dillon Simpson (Edmonton, Alberta), who had two assists to match his career best .. . UND is ranked 7th in the national polls while Holy Cross came into the weekend ranked 20th.

Virg Foss covered UND hockey for 35 seasons for the Grand Forks Herald until his retirement in 2005. He now reports on UND home games exclusively for UNDSports.com.


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