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Brad E. Schlossman, Forum Communications Co., Published January 16 2011

Men's hockey: Sioux earn split with Gophers

GRAND FORKS – Asked to describe his goal, Evan Trupp paused and thought about it.

“How did I score?” he asked.

His teammates and coaches sure didn’t forget.

Trupp’s first-period breakaway tally evened the game, turned momentum toward UND and eventually led to a 4-1 Sioux victory over rival Minnesota on Saturday.

It wasn’t pretty and there wasn’t much flow to the game, but the third largest crowd in Ralph Engelstad Arena history (11,975) was able to watch the hometown team earn a series split after a disappointing loss in the opener.

UND improved to 17-6-2 and 12-4 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play, moving into first place all alone because Minnesota-Duluth lost to Wisconsin. Minnesota dropped to 10-9-3 and 7-7-2 overall.

The Gophers got the start they were looking for when defenseman Mark Alt scored a fluky goal at 8 minutes, 45 seconds of the first period by throwing a lob shot from the point over defenseman Derek Forbort and into the corner of the net.

But just 32 seconds later, Trupp picked the puck off of Nick Larson’s stick and beat Minnesota goalie Kent Patterson (22 saves) on a breakaway. That goal immediately got the crowd back into the game and the Sioux took control from there.

“That was the biggest point in the hockey game, I thought,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “It was one of those typical Evan Trupp plays, where he’s just a half-step ahead of the game. He intercepted that puck, created the turnover and definitely an Evan Trupp-like goal, putting it through the five-hole.”

Trupp, who added an assist later in the game, was named the No. 1 star.

“Trupper. . . you never know what that guy’s thinking,” said UND’s Danny Kristo, who extended his point streak to eight games with a goal late in the third. “He seems to amaze me every day. He’s a fun player to watch out there. He has a great head for the game and he always knows what’s going on out there.”

Trupp wasn’t so adept during the postgame interviews. After being reminded of how he scored, he said: “It was just kind of a turnover. They were able to thread some passes through my stick and my skate, but this one didn’t quite make it through. Lucky enough, I had a breakaway. I had to redeem myself for a couple of breakaways that I had that I missed on. Guys were giving me a hard time. Finally, I scored on a breakaway.”

Soon after that, UND took the lead for good, capitalizing on a double minor penalty to Gopher captain Jay Barriball and a cross-checking minor to defenseman Aaron Ness. A five-on-three power-play resulted in Chay Genoway feeding Brad Malone at 14:12.

That play extended Genoway’s point streak to 11 games – the longest run by a defenseman this decade. Malone, who added an assist later in the game, now has 15 points in the last nine games.

Still, Minnesota liked its position after an ugly second period that saw only 11 shots on goal from the two teams combined.

“I told the guys going into the third that hey, if you would have said on the bus coming up that we would win Friday and be down one goal going into the third, (we’ll take it),” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. “The only disappointment I had was that I didn’t think we played as good of a game. We just couldn’t get anything going to give ourselves a chance. The guys competed, Kent played well, guys worked hard from start to finish. . . there just wasn’t a lot of flow.”

UND iced the game in the third with a fluky goal by Corban Knight and a gritty goal by Kristo. Brett Hextall’s point shot went off of Knight’s body and in the net at 4:12 and a diving Kristo swatted a puck in with his backhand from the top of the crease.

“It’s always fun to score against the Gophs,” Kristo said. “It was a big game. The team came out and played hard. I had a little bit of a soft period to start the third. The boys picked me up a little bit and I responded with the power-play goal.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, UM, Alt, 8:54. 2, UND, Trupp, 9:28. 3, UND, Malone (Genoway, Frattin), 14:12.

SECOND PERIOD: no scoring.

THIRD PERIOD: 4, UND, Knight (Hextall, MacWilliam), 4:12. 5, UND, Kristo (Trupp, Malone), 14:57 (pp).

SAVES: UM, Patterson 15-4-3–22. UND, Dell 4-7-10–21.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald