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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service, Published January 11 2014

UND men's hockey stays hot with win over Colorado College

GRAND FORKS – After the game, Colorado College coach Scott Owens didn’t seem particularly rattled.

He’s seen this show before.

Once again, his Tigers found a way to lose a close, winnable game, and this time, the University of North Dakota was the beneficiary.

Keaton Thompson and Rocco Grimaldi scored back-to-back goals in the third period to help UND earn a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Tigers, completing a series sweep.

UND (11-7-2) now has the longest winning streak in the country at seven games. It hasn’t lost or tied a game since November, climbing to second place in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings and inching up to No. 19 in the Pairwise Rankings.

“I think it’s just guys playing hard and playing consistently,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “Our team is starting to show some maturity.”

Colorado College, on the other hand, has just one win in its last 19 games – nine of those games being decided by a goal.

“It’s been four months of this,” Owens said. “Yeah, it’s frustrating. The whole year has been frustrating. Since the 19th of October.”

The Tigers (2-15-3) were in position to grab a win after Alexander Krushelnyski and Jaccob Slavin scored power-play goals with 24 seconds remaining in the second period and 1:16 into the third period for a 2-1 lead.

But UND rallied. Thompson, a freshman defenseman, got the puck at the point and held it long enough for traffic to set up in front of Tigers goalie Josh Thorimbert. Then, the Devils Lake product blasted one past Thorimbert’s blocker to tie the game at 6:36.

Just 2:04 later, Tiger freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson turned the puck over right in front of the net and Grimaldi was there to sweep it in.

“That was a nice bounce,” Grimaldi said. “I was just trying to go for a good forecheck. The defenseman tried to slip it by me and it hit me in the chest. It was kind of in my feet and I didn’t know where it was. I finally found it and thankfully the goalie had no idea where it was. It was a big goal for us, but obviously, a lucky one.”

While Colorado College continues to find ways to lose close games, UND is finding different ways to win them right now.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, UND, MacMillan (Parks, Simpson), 11:09.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, CC, Krushelnyski (Harstad, Stoykewych), 19:36 (pp).

THIRD PERIOD: 3, CC, Slavin (Krushelnyski, Rothstein), 1:16 (pp). 4, UND, Thompson (Chyzyk, St. Clair), 6:16. 5, UND, Grimaldi, 8:20.

SAVES: UND, Gothberg 10-6-5—21. CC, Thorimbert 6-13-3—22.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald