Grand Forks, ND – During the off-season, there have been a few well documented distractions for the UND hockey team but tonight, that focus finally changed to playing hockey.
Tonight, it was all about playing hockey as UND took on a very determined and pesky CIS team the University of Manitoba Bison.
In the past, UND has had a lot of success against the University of Manitoba. UND hasn’t lost to the Bison since the 1949 season – tonight was no different as UND extended that streak (9-0 under coach Dave Hakstol) by shaking off some early season rust to beat the Manitoba University Bison 5-3 at Ralph Englestad Arena.
After the game head coach Dave Hakstol talked about his team’s play during their first exhibition game.
“I thought there was a lot of rust – lots of good effort – that probably was expected, Hakstol said. “I thought the sharpest part of our game was offensively, not a lot of cohesion defensively.”
Coming into this season, there are high expectations, the University of North Dakota is looking to have a strong season based on who they have coming back, but also who they have coming in this season.
Although tonight’s game was only an exhibition game, the game can still be used as an audition for the players that are trying to solidify their position on the roster for the regular season – from what I have seen tonight – it would appear that the upcoming season looks promising for UND.
One of those bright spots was UND’s second line of Mark MacMillan, Carter Rowney and Michael Parks, that line looked like they picked up right where they left off from last season – that line scored the first and third goals for UND.
Coming up big for that line were sophomore forward MacMillian, who had a goal and an assist for UND. Senior forward Carter Rowney also chipped in a goal and two assists as well.
One problem from last season was that UND was bitten by the injury bug during the middle part of the season and couldn’t even fill out a full lineup by the end of the season.
That second line chemistry for UND might be broken up for an extended period of time – it appears that UND wasn’t able to get out of the first game unscathed as sophomore Michael Parks suffered what appears to be a lower body injury and left the game midway through the third period and didn’t return to the UND bench.
After the game head coach Hakstol was asked about the condition of his sophomore forward Michael Parks.
“Nothing definitive,” Hakstol said. “That something I am not going to comment on right now.”
After missing all but four games last season, red shirt freshman Rocco Grimaldi showed us why he was worth the wait – as he literally had the crowd on the edge of their seat each time that he the puck on his stick. Grimaldi’s is very strong on his skates and he has speed few players can match.
“It felt good, the knee felt good, I was just happy to get out there, Grimaldi said. I thought I started pretty well getting my chances and then kind of slowed down a little bit I am kind of upset right now so, it is what it is.”
Senior forward Danny Kristo gave his impression of the first game as well.
I thought it was a pretty solid game we worked on some stuff we want to work on, Kristo said. Manitoba played hard, I thought we did a lot of things offensively, we have some stuff we have to sharpen up in the d-zone, neutral zone, turnovers, stuff like that you can expect this time of the year, but over-all I thought it was good – good solid first game.”