Grand Forks, ND –The Fighting Sioux and the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks have played a total of six games in their school’s history, and every game except one has been very close and highly competitive. This game was no different, as both teams got after each other from the drop of the first puck to the last whistle. There have been six games and each time the two game series has ended in a split.
After the game, Danny Kristo was asked about the new rivalry with the UNO Mavericks. He said, “it’s already a good rivalry, they are a good team over there and one of the most frustrating teams that I play. They do a good job clogging the neutral zone, they finish every check. They have a really good head coach over there, it’s good competitive series every time. For all three series with them have been splits and all three have been great series, it’s a great new rivalry.”
It would not be an understatement to say that the Fighting Sioux have suffered their fair share of injuries this season, and earlier in the day they learned that they would be even more shorthanded as their first line center Corbin Knight had suffered a lower body injury and would be unavailable for game two of the series.
The majority of play during the first two periods of the game was spent in the neutral zone. Frankly, the game wasn’t exciting at all. I am sure that many of the fans that attended tonight’s game would say the same thing. After two periods of hockey, the game was tied 0-0 with both teams having put 21 shots on net. The game would pick up a little bit during the third period.
If I had to pick out one player that was solid all weekend for either team, it would be Fighting Sioux goalie Aaron Dell. Dell was impressive on the weekend 59 out of 61 shots for a .967 save percentage.
After the game, Aaron Dell was asked how it felt to win a game like this for a goalie, to which he said, “It’s huge. We had guys battling hard, we did everything right tonight, made my life easier no breakaways tonight.”
After watching two periods of grind it out boring hockey, the game finally got a little more interesting, and at the 0:44 mark of the third period Fighting Sioux forward Danny Kristo beat a UNO defenseman Jacob Megna into the corner. Kristo picked up the puck skated out front and scored a great wrap around goal, shooting the puck past UNO Maverick Goalie Ryan Massa to give the Sioux a 1-0 lead. That was all the offense the Fighting Sioux would need as the Sioux were able to hold off a late surge by the Mavericks to earn the split in the series against the Mavericks.
After the game Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol had this to say about his team’s play, it was a real gutsy performance by our team, in a real hard fought game, in a real hard fought series, I thought it was a gutsy performance by our team.”
The Fighting Sioux are 7-7-0 half way through their league schedule and Coach Hakstol was asked how he likes his team half way through the league schedule. Coach Hakstol said, “we are growing up, I like the team we are becoming. We are starting to define what we are…we are starting to figure ourselves out a little bit. Quite honestly, I have not seen our entire team together yet. That’s something hopefully we will be able to do during the second half. Hopefully we will be able to get healthy and be able to have everybody available and try to put that together to see how good we can become. I know this, we dug ourselves out of a pretty deep hole, I think we have put ourselves back into a position where we have the opportunity to control our own fate in the second half by our performance.”
The Fighting Sioux have an exhibition game next weekend against the Russian Red Stars on December 17th. The Fighting Sioux will return to action against the Harvard Crimson on the 30th and 31st of December.