Sioux tie top-ranked Miami
GRAND FORKS -- UND and Miami-Ohio are two of the top four defensive teams in the country.
That doesn't mean they lack playmakers and goal scorers.
That was evident during an entertaining 5-5 tie between the No. 1 and No. 4 teams in the country in the finale of the Subway Holiday Classic in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
No. 1 Miami rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to earn the tie in a game that was back-and-forth all along. The game was tied 1-1 after one period and again at 3-3 in the second. When the five-minute overtime frame ended, both teams skated away with similar feelings.
"There were a lot of great plays made out there," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "We'll look at some of the mistakes and some of the breakdowns, but the first thing that really steps into my mind is that there were a lot of really good plays and a lot of tenacious play on both sides of the rink."
Miami coach Enrico Blasi agreed.
"For two of the top three or four defensive teams in the country, it sure didn't look like it at times, did it?" Blasi said. "But it was a good hockey game. I thought both teams played hard. We took some dumb penalties and their power play was hot, so we had to make some plays down the stretch to tie the game. I think you saw a little bit of everything from everyone tonight."
The offensive stars of the game were a pair of freshmen.
UND rookie Danny Kristo scored two goals, added an assist and finished off a four-point weekend. He was named the tournament's most valuable player.
Miami rookie Reilly Smith scored the first goal of the game and the last one - a game-tying tally with just 2 minutes, 41 seconds left in regulation. Smith finished the game with four points and made the all-tournament team.
"We were just talking in the locker room that it felt a little bit like New Hampshire last year," said UND forward Jason Gregoire, alluding to UND's back-and-forth overtime loss in the NCAA tournament last season. "It was back-and-forth with two good teams going at it. I guess it almost feels like a loss, giving up a lead in the third period in our rink. But we got three points out of four this weekend, so we're happy about it."
Hakstol said he's going to take the glass-is-half-full approach to the weekend. The Sioux moved to 8-4-2 overall and stayed unbeaten in nonconference play (3-0-1).
"I thought we took a real good step back to where we want to be this week," he said. "We got a win last night and this (tie) won't hurt us come tournament (selection) time. We're still undefeated in nonconference play. More important, we got back to playing and practicing the way we expect."
The Sioux came into the weekend with four goals in three games. They were 0-3 in that span. They scored nine times this weekend and there were several standouts in the group.
Friday night, it was Evan Trupp and Brad Malone. On Saturday, Malone scored a highlight-reel shorthanded goal, while Ben Blood and Jason Gregoire both had a goal and an assist. David Toews continued his breakthrough year with two assists. UND converted on three of seven power-play chances.
Miami also showed why it entered the weekend No. 1. Three lines got on the scoresheet, including a pair of assists by Pat Cannone.
"We knew they'd be revved up and they'd come out and play very well after getting beat last night," Hakstol said. "They are a good veteran team. They put us on our heels during the first seven or eight minutes. I really liked the way we regained our composure. We had a couple of really good shifts, drew a couple of penalties and got back on our toes."
The Sioux travel to Minnesota-Duluth next weekend for a Western Collegiate Hockey Association matchup. Duluth has the country's highest-scoring top line, so Saturday night might have been a preview for that series.
"You had two skilled teams that worked extremely hard," Blasi said. "That's the name of the game. You've got to make plays. I think both sides did that tonight. If you are going to score five goals, obviously your execution has got to be good."
Notes: The Subway Holiday Classic all-tournament team featured goalie Dan Bakala (Bemidji State), defenseman Brad Hunt (Bemidji State), Blood, Kristo, Malone and Carter Camper (Miami). . .UND played its fifth straight game without captain Chay Genoway (injury). . . Carter Rowney replaced Mike Cichy in the lineup for the Sioux. . . Brad Eidsness (21 saves) was the only goalie in the Subway Holiday Classic who played back-to-back games.
MIAMI-OHIO 5, TIE
First period - 1. M, Reilly Smith 3 (Pat Cannone 5) 8:17; 2. UND, Ben Blood 1 (Danny Kristo 8, Jason Gregoire 3) 13:52 (pp). Penalties - Mario Lamoureux, UND, checking from behind, 4:32; Vincent LoVerde, M, tripping, 9:54; Will Weber, M, cross-checking, 11:56
Second period - 3. M, Carter Camper 7 3:20; 4. UND, Kristo 4 (David Toews 7, Jake Marto 3) 7:23 (pp); 5. UND, Gregoire 6 (Blood 3, Brett Hextall 2) 7:59; 6. M, Tommy Wingels 5 (Smith 3, Cannone 6) 10:07; 7. UND, Brad Malone 3 16:00 (sh); 8. UND, Kristo 5 (Evan Trupp 9, Toews 8) 17:46 (pp). Penalties - Alden Hirschfeld, M, hooking, 2:17; Darcy Zajac, UND, cross-checking, 2:17; Chris Wideman, M, hooking, 6:52; Steven Spinell, M, cross-checking, 12:40; Hextall, UND, hooking, 14:28; Cameron Schilling, M, interference, 16:43; Zajac, UND, unsportsmanlike conduct, 20:00; Curtis McKenzie, M, unsportsmanlike conduct, 20:00
Third period - 9. M, Cameron Schilling 2 (Jarod Palmer 9, Smith 4) 9:27 (pp); 10. M, Smith 4 (Andy Miele 11, Wideman 6) 17:19. Penalties - Weber, M, cross-checking, :33; Andrew MacWilliam, UND, tripping, 7:28; Blood, UND, high sticking, 11:26; Alden Hirschfeld, M, cross-checking, 14:08
Goalie saves - UND: Brad Eidsness 6-10-3-2 - 21; M: Connor Knapp 6-7-6-0 - 19
Penalties-minutes - UND 6-12, M 9-18
Power plays - UND 3-7, M 1-4
Attendance - 11,425
Referees - Derek Shepherd and Marco Hunt