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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service , Published February 01 2013

Kristo, UND skate to men's hockey tie

GRAND FORKS – Danny Kristo caught a pass in the left circle and spotted a hole and rifled a shot.

But for the second time in three weeks, his overtime chance rang off the post, and the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team left the arena with mixed feelings after a tie.

This time, a highly entertaining game against the University of Wisconsin ended 1-1, extending an impressive streak for the Badgers and a frustrating one for UND.

Wisconsin extended its unbeaten streak in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play to 11 games (7-0-4), while UND extended its winless streak to five (0-2-3) – its longest under ninth-year coach Dave Hakstol.

“I don’t know, that’s the kind of breaks our team is getting right now,” said Kristo, who hit the post in overtime against the University of Minnesota 13 days earlier. “The last two games we’ve played well. I thought we deserved a better fate the last two games, but that’s hockey. Luckily, we get another crack at them tomorrow. It should be a good finale.”

The rivalry game had a throwback feel to it with intensity and scuffles throughout. The teams combined for 100 penalty minutes, including four 10-minute misconducts and one game misconduct.

“We talk about solving riddles, but that was a wild one,” Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said. “I don’t know how that riddle was going to be solved tonight. Great energy in the building. Lots of wild, crazy things going on on the ice, but I thought it was an entertaining game for the fans.

“I haven’t seen scuffles like that in a long time, so yeah, it was a bit of a back to the future type of thing.”

Kristo scored the lone goal for UND early in the second period, Michael Mersch responded for the Badgers just 13 seconds later, and a pair of young goaltenders made sure it stayed that way.

UND freshman Zane Gothberg put together perhaps his best performance of the season, stopping 29 of 30 shots, including a highlight-reel save on Kevin Schulze in the third period.

Wisconsin sophomore Landon Peterson made 21 saves, including a fantastic glove stop on Carter Rowney in the second.

“From start to finish, it was a hard-played 65 minutes,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said.

There are a few chances UND will certainly be thinking about.

In the first period, Corban Knight had an open net to shoot at when Peterson lost sight of the puck. Knight quickly rifled a backhand just wide, though. At the end of the period, Rocco Grimaldi launched a point shot off the right post on the power play.

“I thought we had an empty-netter or two,” Hakstol said. “But that’s the game. For us, we’re doing a lot of things the right way right now, which is a big difference from a couple of weeks ago. We’re doing a lot of things the right way. We have to continue with that type of effort.”

The Badgers, too, had their chances to win it.

With 6:30 left in the game, UND freshman forward Drake Caggiula was called for a checking-from-behind major, putting Wisconsin on the power play for a full five minutes. But the Badgers only mustered two shots and no Grade A chances.

In overtime, the Badgers had another chance on the power play, but UND killed that as well. Wisconsin is now 0-for-its-last-32 power-play chances on the road.

“That’s putting ourselves in a tough position,” Hakstol said. “The five-minute major, I saw it, it’s a fast play. I know once you get to overtime, we don’t need an extra push in there. That being said, the positive is our guys really bared down and went out and did a job.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald