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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co., Published January 08 2011

Sioux men's hockey team collects convincing victory against Robert Morris

GRAND FORKS – Last week, Brock Nelson opened up his computer after playing a World Junior Championship game to find out that his University of North Dakota men’s hockey team routed then-No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth 5-0.

Nelson arrived back in Grand Forks on Thursday – just in time to join in on his team’s current goal parade.

The freshman from Warroad, Minn., and sophomore Corban Knight each scored twice as the second-ranked Sioux stomped Robert Morris 8-0 on Friday in Ralph Engelstad Arena, extending the team’s unbeaten streak to eight and the winning streak to six.

Brett Hextall, Jake Marto, Matt Frattin and Evan Trupp also scored goals for the 15-5-2 Sioux, who have scored 16 consecutive goals.

“It felt good to be back,” said Nelson, who had two goals in the first half of the season. “Being here in front of the fans and putting on the jersey, it was good. We had a game today and I said I was ready. It worked out.”

The last time UND allowed a goal was Dec. 12 against Minnesota State-Mankato, when Mavericks captain Rylan Galiardi scored on a breakaway in the first period. Since then, UND has scored three against the Mavericks, five against Duluth and eight against the Colonials.

Goalie Aaron Dell’s shutout streak is at 164 minutes, 51 seconds.

“It’s a good feeling,” said Dell, who earned his first career shutout in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

“The team played great tonight. I can’t really say much. They were great offensively as well as defensively. They made my life pretty easy.”

Robert Morris, a team that sits in second place in Atlantic Hockey, entered the game with confidence. In the seven-year history of the Colonials’ hockey program, they had an all-time winning record against teams ranked in the top 10.

But UND took them out of the game early with some fluky goals.

On the second shift of the game, Knight threw a turnaround pass in the slot, only to deflect off of Colonials forward Colin South’s stick and in the net. About five minutes later, Knight’s centering pass went off Nelson’s skate and in the net for a 2-0 Sioux lead.

“There’s nothing much you can say about those ones,” Knight said. “Once in a while, you get those nights where everything seems to go in. But you have to credit our team. We worked really hard. We’ve been working really hard since we got back from break, so I don’t think it’s a pure fluke that those goals started coming.”

UND piled on some impressive statistics.

Frattin, the nation’s leading scorer with 19 tallies, has scored in seven straight games. Forward Danny Kristo picked up three assists and now has 10 points in the last five games (nine assists). Defenseman Ben Blood notched a plus-3 rating and is now plus-14 in the last eight games. And defenseman Chay Genoway had two assists to extend his career-long point streak to eight games.

“We had pretty good jump,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “We got some pucks toward the net and we had a couple of pretty good bounces.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, UND, Knight (Kristo, Simpson), 1:26. 2, UND, Nelson (Knight, Genoway), 6:24. 3, UND, Knight (Marto, Simpson), 16:12.

SECOND PERIOD: 4, UND, Hextall (Lamoureux, MacWilliam), 5:43 (sh). 5, UND, Marto (Malone, Kristo), 6:33. 6, UND, Frattin (Trupp, Genoway), 8:27.

THIRD PERIOD: 7, UND, Trupp (Malone, Kristo), 9:22 (pp). 8, UND, Nelson (Rowney, Marto), 10:14.

SAVES: RM, Ostergard 16-1-x–17; Levine x-4-9–13. UND, Dell 9-14-9–32.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald