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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service , Published February 23 2013

UND bounces back with blowout of Denver

DENVER – Hobey Baker Award candidates Corban Knight and Danny Kristo didn’t see the ice for the final five or six minutes of the game Saturday night.

By that time, the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team didn’t need them anymore. UND handed the University of Denver its worst home loss in more than five years – a 6-1 blowout in a game that featured 16 power plays and turned chippy at the end.

Kristo, Carter Rowney, Rocco Grimaldi, Mark MacMillan, Michael Parks and Dillon Simpson all scored goals, while Clarke Saunders stopped 28 of 29 shots in net for UND, which gained a series split.

“It was a lot better,” said Simpson, referring to Friday night’s 5-4 loss to Denver. “I think, as a team, we came with a lot more energy. Guys were rolling with short shifts and guys were having fun out there, which was good to see.”

UND improved to 17-9-6 overall and 12-6-6 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, where they moved into a third-place tie with Nebraska Omaha, three points back of first-place St. Cloud State. UND moved to seventh in the Pairwise Rankings.

UND scored three times on the power play, while killing six of seven Pioneer advantages.

“This game had so much specialty team play that there were a lot of guys who didn’t get a lot of minutes,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “I think the difference from (Friday night) is that every time we had guys on the ice, they were contributing one way or another. Whatever their role is, I thought guys played them well tonight. I thought that’s what we were missing in (Friday night’s) game.”

UND scored three times in the first period, once late in the second and tacked on two in the third as the Pioneers (16-10-5, 11-8-5) lost their composure. Denver was whistled for 10 penalties in the final 26 minutes of the game, including six in the final five minutes.

As the game deteriorated, UND kept its star players on the bench.

“There’s different ways to deal with some of the crap at the end of the game,” Hakstol said. “One way is to go out and respond and drop the gloves, but at this time of year, that doesn’t help us. The other way, we could put our No. 1 unit out there, but I don’t believe that’s the right thing to do.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, D, Loney (Zajac, Shore), 8:50, (pp). 2, UND, Kristo (Knight, Simpson), 10:34. 3, UND, Rowney (MacMillan, Grimaldi), 18:24, (pp). 4, UND, Grimaldi (Kristo, Simpson), 19:48.

SECOND PERIOD: 5, UND, MacMillan (Rowney, Schmaltz), 19:59, (pp).

THIRD PERIOD: 6, UND, Parks (MacMillan, Caggiula), 12:43. 7, UND, Simpson (Mattson, St. Clair), 19:20, (pp).

SAVES: UND, Saunders 6-16-6–28. D, Olkinuora 5-x-x–5; Brittain x-12-14–26.