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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service , Published January 10 2014

Chyzyk sparks UND's men's hockey victory

GRAND FORKS – The last month wasn’t easy for Bryn Chyzyk.

The suspended forward wasn’t allowed to play or practice with the team.

“It was a really tough month,” said Chyzyk, who violated team rules in early December. “I can’t say enough about the coaching staff and my teammates. Their support meant the absolute world to me and my family. I love these guys to death. I’m so happy to be back out there.

“When you have something as cool as the Sioux family taken away from you for a month, you realize how special it really is. I had some time to think about that. I’m so happy to be back.”

UND is happy, too.

Chyzyk scored a goal and added an assist in his first game in over a month, helping UND win its sixth straight game – a 5-3 victory over Colorado College on Friday night in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Michael Parks added two goals and Mark MacMillan and Dillon Simpson each had one for UND, which improved to 10-7-2 overall and 6-5 in National Collegiate Hockey Conference play.

But it was Chyzyk’s play that really stood out on Friday.

After skipping out on a cab fare estimated at $4 in early December, UND coach Dave Hakstol suspended him indefinitely without any promise that he would be back.

Chyzyk missed UND’s sweep of Northern Michigan before Christmas break, and he was the only member of the team who didn’t make the trip to Vancouver last weekend for UND’s exhibition games against the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser.

He was reinstated to the team on Monday.

Chyzyk said the hardest part of the suspension was “being away from the team and coaching staff. They are kind of my rock, coming to the rink and seeing the guys every day. Missing that was tough.”

Playing on a line with Colten St. Clair and Wade Murphy, he immediately made an impact.

With the game tied 1-1 early in the second period, he picked up a loose puck in the corner (after MacMillan forced a turnover) and found Parks standing on top of the crease. Parks broke a nine-game goal drought by putting it past Tigers goalie Josh Thorimbert.

Just 46 seconds later, Murphy attempted a shot on a rush that was blocked by a defenseman. Chyzyk picked up the rebound and sniped it in the corner of the net to make it 3-1.

“I had about 30 days to think about that one,” Chyzyk said. “I was rearing to go tonight. We got a couple of lucky bounces on our line. It was nice to get, though.”

Hakstol said he’s not sure if Chyzyk will play in tonight’s series finale (7:07 p.m., Ralph Engelstad Arena) because his conditioning isn’t at a top level after missing a month.

“I didn’t think he showed a lot or (rust),” Hakstol said. “He kept it very simple. I thought he played in straight lines. I don’t know if you’re going to find a shift of his that was over 25 seconds long. That tells me that he was mentally prepared to overcome some of the difficulties that you have coming back into the lineup after being out a month.”

UND had a three-goal lead heading into the third period after Simpson’s goal with six seconds remaining in the middle frame, but the Tigers quickly jumped back into the game.

Freshman defenseman Jaccob Slavin, the brother of former UND women’s defenseman Jordan Slavin, scored back-to-back goals at 2:21 and 4:52 to make it 4-3.

But Tigers freshman forward Sam Rothstein took a major for checking from behind with just 4:58 left, and Parks iced it with a power-play goal.

“We’re a bit healthier,” Hakstol said. “We got contributions from everyone in the lineup tonight. The question is: Will we get contributions from everyone tomorrow night? That’s what we have to answer. I’m confident that we will. I’m confident that we’ll show that maturity. But it’s definitely not going to be an easy day tomorrow. We’re going to have to be a little bit better in every phase of our game.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, UND, MacMillan (Schmaltz, Simpson) 7:36. 2, CC, Olofsson (Stoykewych, Taft) 11:45.

SECOND PERIOD: 3, UND, Parks (Chyzyk) 4:49. 4, UND, Chyzyk (Murphy, Gaarder) 5:35. 5, UND, Simpson (Johnson, Grimaldi) 19:54.

THIRD PERIOD: 6, CC, Slavin (Harstad, Bradley) 2:21. 7, CC, Slavin (Stoykewych, Harstad) 4:52 (pp). 8, UND, Parks (Mattson, Stecher) 17:43 (pp).

SAVES: UND, Gothberg 3-10-7–20. CC, Thorimbert 6-12-5–23.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald