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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co., Published January 23 2011

Trupp's play pushes UND men's hockey team to victory against Nebraska-Omaha

GRAND FORKS – Evan Trupp sent a buzz across Ralph Engelstad Arena in the first period, bouncing the puck on his stick until he skated around a defenseman.

He brought everyone out of their seats later on with a play that sparked his team to a 4-2 victory over Nebraska-Omaha, preventing a rare second consecutive loss at home.

Trailing 1-0 with 7 minutes, 5 seconds left, Trupp blocked a shot, fought through a hook, buried the tying goal and drew a power play that would give UND the lead for good in front of 11,916 in Ralph Engelstad Arena on Saturday night.

Danny Kristo scored the go-ahead power-play goal and Jason Gregoire provided a pair of necessary insurance goals in the final two minutes to help the Sioux improve to 18-7-2 overall and 13-5 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play.

The Sioux, battered 8-4 by the Mavericks a day earlier, responded to even the regular-season series 2-2.

“Tonight was extremely important for us,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said.

“The last 24 hours have been a real test for our team. There’s no easy way out of where we were last night. We’ve been slowly sliding toward that the last couple of weeks and it takes a great effort to get out and get back to the type of play we want. Tonight was a good step toward that. It’s not all the way out, but it’s a good step. It’s a great character performance.”

One night after almost everything went in the net, the teams were scoreless after two periods.

Omaha’s Terry Broadhurst then buried a shorthanded goal to give the Mavericks a 1-0 lead at 4:10 of the third period and send the section of Omaha fans into “Ole!” chants.

“It’s not a time you can get down,” Gregoire said. “It’s a time you can pick it up a little more. Everybody has to have their chins up on the bench.”

Several players pointed to Aaron Dell’s blocker save on Ryan Walters as the turning point. Walters almost gave the Mavs a 2-0 lead, but Dell turned him aside.

A few minutes later, Trupp blocked a shot by Omaha defenseman Eric Olimb, fought off a hook by defenseman Michael Young and snapped one high over John Faulkner’s glove.

“That’s a goal that coach (Dane) Jackson is going to really like,” Trupp said. “He’s been all over our case about blocking shots. I was able to block a shot, use my speed and I just tried to get a shot off. Usually, I try to go five-hole, but I knew there was a guy on me. Luckily, I was able to beat him up high and draw a penalty.”

Because of a new rule in college hockey this season – one that Hakstol said after the game that he does not like – UND got to keep the power play. With the extra man, Knight found Kristo with a cross-crease pass.

And less than four minutes later, defenseman Ben Blood made a phenomenal chip pass to send Gregoire on a breakaway. Gregoire fought off a hook to score, while drawing another penalty.

“After last night, for our team to come back and play like that after going down is a big testament to our character,” Gregoire said. “We have to carry it forward to next weekend.”

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: No scoring.

THIRD PERIOD: 1, UNO, Broadhurst 4:10 (sh). 2, UND, Trupp 12:55. 3, UND, Kristo (Knight, Gregoire) 14:26 (pp). 3, UND, Gregoire (Blood) 18:05. 5, UNO, Young 18:36 (sh). 6, UND, Gregoire (Knight, MacWilliam) 19:08 (pp).

SAVES: UNO, Faulkner 9-8-6–23. UND, Dell 5-6-8–19.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald