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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co., Published January 16 2010

Kristo's homecoming ends with UND tie against Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – Danny Kristo is back home and he made sure everyone was aware.

The University of North Dakota freshman forward and Twin Cities native scored twice and had chances for a hat trick during a 3-3 tie against rival Minnesota on Friday night that left the Sioux with mixed emotions.

On the plus side, Kristo appears to have his legs back after competing in a grueling World Junior Championship that ended less than two weeks ago. He had goals in the first and second periods and finished with a team-best plus-three rating. He’s one point away from leading the team in scoring.

The Sioux (12-6-5, 8-6-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) also extended their unbeaten streak to five games – tying a season best – while making it six straight at Mariucci Arena without a loss.

But on the down side, UND gave up a late lead when Bowling Green transfer Jacob Cepis found a loose puck in the slot and beat Sioux goalie Brad Eidsness (24 saves) with just 2 minutes, 4 seconds remaining.

“It was an entertaining hockey game, for sure,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “There were three or four obvious momentum swings. It was hard-fought and there were a lot of guys who emptied their tanks and played hard. But from our standpoint, we feel like we lost a point, giving up a one-goal lead with two minutes to go.”

Brad Malone, who put the Sioux ahead 3-2 with 13:23 left in the third period, called the game bittersweet.

“To give up a goal with two minutes left isn’t what you want to do on the road,” the junior forward said.

“It’s not fun. We worked hard and we’ll take the point, but we can’t be satisfied with that. We realize that tomorrow’s game is going to be bigger now.”

UND was decked out in their black jerseys for the third time this season (they are now 2-0-1 with them) and had a loud and vocal crowd behind them. Many of the 10,231 in attendance erupted when UND scored goals and “Let’s go Sioux” chants rang throughout the building several times.

The Sioux have given their fans plenty to cheer about recently in this rivalry. After Friday’s tie, they are now 9-2-2 in the last 13 games between the teams.

“It was a little weird playing here, 15 minutes from my house,” said Kristo, whose family lives in Eden Prairie. “It is kind of my homeland, but I would rather be playing in Grand Forks.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, UND, Kristo (Trupp, Marto) 15:56.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, M, Schroeder (Budish, Fairchild) :53 (pp). 3, M, White (Flynn, Fairchild) 2:38. 4, UND, Kristo (Gleason, LaPoint) 13:24.

THIRD PERIOD: 5, UND, Malone (Trupp, LaPoint) 6:37. 6, M, Cepis (Schroeder, Budish) 17:56.

OVERTIME: No scoring.

SAVES: UND, Eidsness 11-9-4-0–24. M, Kangas 14-12-3-1–30.

Brad Schlossman is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.