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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co. , Published October 26 2012

Kristo sets tone as UND prevails in WCHA opener

GRAND FORKS – In the first 10 seconds of Danny Kristo’s season, he got the puck in the neutral zone, flew up the right wing, burned a defenseman and launched a snap shot off the post.

It was just a sign of what was in store on Friday night.

Kristo, suspended for the first two games of the season, made up for lost time by dominating in UND’s 4-1 win against Alaska-Anchorage in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The senior alternate captain registered three assists and set a fast pace that UND played at throughout the game – one that the Seawolves were unable to play at during the Western Collegiate Hockey Association opener for both teams.

“It was definitely frustrating going to Alaska and having to sit out both games,” Kristo said. “Some guys had to sit out one game. I had to sit out two games. I felt like I had some motivation, some stuff to prove tonight. The team is moving on and we’re looking forward right now.”

Kristo consistently created scoring chances with his speed on the right wing, broke up two rushes with backchecks and even leveled Anchorage defenseman Quinn Sproule with a big hit in the third period.

“I think that’s to be expected,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “Some of the guys who were out of the lineup, I think you’d be disappointed if they didn’t want to come back in and try to make a positive difference. I thought we had everyone chipping in tonight. I didn’t think we had one or two guys carrying the load. I thought a lot of guys chipped in and that added up to a good win.”

Corban Knight, Drake Caggiula, Carter Rowney and Derek Forbort scored the goals for UND, while rookie goaltender Zane Gothberg stopped 17 of 18 shots in his first-career start. Gothberg became the first Thief River Falls, Minn., product to play goalie for UND since Ralph Engelstad.

Gothberg wasn’t tested much as UND built a 14-2 advantage in shots after the first period, then blew the game open with four goals in the second.

Anchorage, which was shut out by UND 5-0 a week earlier in nonconference play, managed just one goal this time – a chip-in by Alex Gellert on a goal-mouth scramble with 4 minutes, 21 seconds left in the second period.

“I thought tonight was probably our best 60 minutes as a team,” Kristo said. “I thought we played well in all three zones in all three periods. I felt that we won all three periods. We made some good decisions with pucks. Obviously, we still have stuff to work on, but I thought it was a solid game we had.”

UND took advantage of having a full lineup for the first time since mid-February of last season, dressing the full 18 players and rolling four lines. The fourth line of Stephane Pattyn, Bryn Chyzyk and Derek Rodwell “did their job as well as any of our four lines,” Hakstol said.

The other three lines each chipped in a goal.

“I think everyone was excited to get out there on home ice, the home opener at The Ralph,” Kristo said. “The fans were great. It was a good start.”

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, UND, Knight (Kristo), 1:10. 2, UND, Caggiula (Grimaldi and St. Clair), 4:46. 3, UND, Rowney (Simpson and Kristo), 6:58. 4, AA, Gellert (Roy and Tatchell), 15:39. 5, UND, Forbort (O’Donnell and Kristo), 16:01.

THIRD PERIOD: No scoring.

SAVES: AA, Kamal, 30. UND, Gothberg, 17.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald