Derek Forbort, in a 5-3 exhibition win over the University of Manitoba tonight.GRAND FORKS, N.D. - North Dakota received goals from five different players, including a key goal late by junior defenseman
Forbort's slapper from the left point with 2:16 remaining in the third period sealed UND's season opener after the Bisons had clawed their way back from 4-1 down to make it a one-goal game.
All five North Dakota goals came from veterans in a game that was at times sloppy and disjointed. Senior forwards Carter Rowney (Sexsmith, Alberta) and Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) each scored in the first period, bracketing a Manitoba goal by Tyler Dittmer, to send UND to the locker room leading 2-1.
Sophomore Mark MacMillan (Penticton, British Columbia) pushed the lead to 3-1 just 96 seconds into the second period on a powerful effort by his center. After entering the Manitoba zone on a rush, Rowney collided with a pair of Manitoba defenders, which freed up a streaking MacMillan, and MacMillan beat Bisons goalie Joe Caligiuri.
Senior forward Corban Knight (High River, Alberta) made it 4-1 just 3:23 later. Kristo, stationed at the side of the goal mouth, found night alone on the doorstep and Knight used a nifty backhand move to put the puck past Caliguri for a seemingly-comfortable three-goal lead.
But the Bisons got one back with 8:50 left in the second period when defenseman Dane Crowley stuffed a rebound past freshman netminder Zane Gothberg (Thief River Falls, Minn.).
Manitoba made it a one goal game midway through the third period on an unassisted goal by winger Blair Macaulay, making for a nervous crowd of 10,477.
But six minutes later, Forbort enabled the patrons to let out a collective sigh of relief with his late tally.
UND head coach Dave Hakstol said his team showed a lot of positives for an exhibition opener.
"I thought there was a lot of rust. There was a lot of good effort. The sharpest part of our game was offensively and making plays - some high-risk plays - but making some offensive plays," Hakstol said. "Not a lot of cohesion defensively or in the neutral zone, but those are things we haven't had a chance to work on, so probably what you would expect."
"Manitoba played hard. I thought we did a lot of good stuff offensively," said Kristo." We've got some stuff we've got to sharpen up in the d-zone and neutral zone - turnovers and stuff like that - which you'd expect at this time of year. But overall I thought it was a good, solid first game."
Gothberg received the win after relieving starter Clarke Saunders (Jr., Brockville, Ontario) in the second period. Gothberg stopped 10 of 12 shots, while Saunders turned aside seven of eight.
"I think we were sloppy in a couple of areas but obviously it's the beginning of the year and we're gonna get better," said freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi. "I'm not too upset with it. We'll get better."
Caligiuri took the loss for Manitoba. He allowed four goals on 17 shots before being pulled for Deckert in the second period. Deckert stopped 10 of 11 shots in relief.
UND will play its final exhibition game next Friday night when it hosts the U.S. Under-18 Team. The puck drops at 7:37 p.m. Central.
Notes: Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play ... Rowney had a goal and two assists for a game-high three points ... Kristo, MacMillan and Knight were named the game's three stars ... Forwards Grimaldi, Derek Rodwell and Brendan O'Donnell all made their returns to the lineup after suffering season-ending injuries last year. All three were held off the scoresheet, although Grimaldi led all players with six shots. No other player on either team had more than three shots on goal ... Freshman Colten St. Clair made his UND debut after sitting out the 2011-12 season due to an NCAA eligibility issue ... Sophomore forward Michael Parks (St. Louis, Mo.) left the game with an injury in the third period and did not return. Hakstol said nothing definitive was known and expected to know more on Monday.
UND starts year with 5-3 exhibition win
Courtesy: Jayson Hajdu, UND Athletic Media Relations