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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service, Published January 04 2013

UND men's hockey powers past Holy Cross

GRAND FORKS – Holy Cross received a nice ovation once on Friday night, but it had nothing to do with the upset it pulled against Minnesota six years ago in this building.

No, the only cheer the Crusaders received was a sarcastic one when they finally got a shot on goal – 13 minutes, 30 seconds into the nonconference game. By that time, the University of North Dakota already scored two goals and was well on its way to a 5-2 win in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Despite going 20 days between games, UND (11-5-3) picked up where it left off, scoring three times in the first period to extend its unbeaten streak to six games.

“It was probably the ideal start for us,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “I thought it was a workman-like 60 minutes.”

Corban Knight, who was named the national player of the month for December, showed no signs of slowing down in the new year, registering two goals and two assists against the Crusaders. His goal streak is at six games and his point streak is at 14. It is the longest point streak by a UND player in a decade (Brandon Bochenski, 17 games in 2002-03).

Knight, who leads the race for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association scoring title and leads UND with 27 points in 18 games, is starting to get noticed around the country.

“I feel that it’s getting blown out of proportion a bit,” Knight said. “The team is playing extremely well. I’ve been on the good end of a lot of nice plays by my linemates and teammates. It’s not just me, it’s the whole team that’s been playing well. I’ve just been on the good end of some good plays.”

Knight’s linemates – Danny Kristo and Michael Parks (playing his first full game of the year) – both scored, as did Carter Rowney. Defenseman Dillon Simpson had two assists.

Holy Cross (10-5-2) earned a spot in the national rankings this week for the first time since it upset Minnesota in The Ralph in 2006. During that trip, the Crusaders weren’t the least bit intimidated by their surroundings or opponent.

This time, the Crusaders got off to a disastrous start, allowing two power-play goals in the opening five minutes and trailing in shots 14-0 with seven minutes to go in the opening frame.

“I was expecting a little more rust from myself and some of my teammates,” Knight said. “But overall, there wasn’t a whole lot of rust there.

“We were pretty happy with (our start). We were changing quick, getting pressure and getting everyone involved. I think it was a good way to set the tone for the game.”

UND mixed up its lines with Parks returning from injury and Mitch MacMillan becoming eligible after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules. Rocco Grimaldi (World Juniors) and Derek Rodwell (thigh injury) were out of the lineup.

Parks took Mark MacMillan’s spot on the top line, but that didn’t slow down Knight at all.

“He continued the momentum he finished the first half with,” Hakstol said. “He had a good night offensively, but he’s playing well in all three zones. That, for me, is the key to his whole game. He’s playing a complete game and he’s reliable all over the ice.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, UND, Rowney (MacMillan, Schmaltz) 1:21 (pp). 2, UND, Knight (Kristo, Simpson) 4:20 (pp). 3, UND, Knight (Simpson) 16:32.

SECOND PERIOD: 4, UND, Parks (Knight, Schmaltz) 4:30. 5, UND, Kristo (Knight) 17:58 (pp).

THIRD PERIOD: 6, HC, McNamara (Youso, Bolton) 13:48. 7, HC, Sommer (Schmidt, Domagala) 18:43 (pp).

SAVES: HC, Ginn 15-9-12–36. UND, Saunders 4-6-3–13.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald