Grand Forks, ND – The University of North Dakota has suffered their fair share of injuries this season, and coming into tonight they didn’t even have enough healthy players on their roster to have 12 forwards and six defenseman playing in the series finale.
With all of the players out with various ailments, you could field a pretty good forward line with the players that didn’t dress for tonight’s game between the Harvard Crimson and the University of North Dakota.
Here is the updated breakdown of the injury reserve list for the UND hockey team: Senior forward Mario Lamoureux, upper body injury, Junior forward Corbin Knight, suffered a lower body injury in Friday’s game and is listed as day to day. Freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi has been out with an injured knee. Grimaldi has played in a total of four games out of the 20 games that UND has played in this season. Sophomore forward Derek Rodwell was injured in last night’s game and is out with an upper body injury. Rodwell is listed as out indefinitely.
You can see where this is going…the University of North Dakota has four important forwards out of its lineup and no room for error or anymore injuries. It would be an understatement to say that it has been a season of adversity for the UND hockey team. One might assume that they are due some good Karma.
The UND hockey team didn’t use injuries as an excuse and with their shorthanded/depleted line-up. Junior forward Danny Kristo did his best impression of Kirby Puckett and took the UND hockey team on his shoulders and lead them to victory. Kristo had two goals and an assist to lead the team to a 7-3 win against the Harvard Crimson.
Kristo was most impressive during the first period where he scored two goals and almost buried his third goal before the first 20 minutes of the game expired. Kristo would added an assist in the third period on Brock Nelson’s 15th goal of the season.
After the game, Kristo was asked about the mentality of the team knowing that the team was playing with 11 forwards and five defenseman. “We didn’t really talk about that too much we just kind of talked about everyone stepping up a little bit. We kind of gave that game away there yesterday and everyone was pretty upset about it. Basically the mentality was to come in hard and play Fighting Sioux hockey and come back and get a victory tonight.”
This season the Fighting Sioux hockey team has had trouble getting scoring from the other forward lines in their lineup. Tonight the all-freshman line of Mark MacMillan (1g-1a—2pts), 21 Brendan O’Donnell (1g-0a—1 pts) , Connor Gaarder (1g-2a—3pts) was a major force on the ice and chipped in three goals on the delayed penalty.
Connor Gaarder was asked about the mentality of the team, knowing that the team was playing with only 11 forwards and five defenseman. “We have a lot of guys out of the lineup, its hard to do, a lot of guys came out and stepped up and made some big plays tonight…” Gaarder also talked about the importance of having a big weekend, “It’s always good to have a big weekend, every weekend I come out and try to play my best and try to get a little bit better come out and it’s nice to back it up a little bit.” The freshman had a very good weekend (2g-2a—4pts), and doubled his point production for the season. On the other end of the ice, Harvard senior forward Alex Killorn had a big weekend for the Crimson as he recorded (2g-2a—4pts) and was a force all weekend.
UND Hockey head coach Dave Hakstol was unhappy with his team’s effort on Friday night. Compare and contrast a difference one night made.
Fast forward to tonight, coach Hakstol was a little more satisfied with the play of his team on the ice and was asked the mentality of his team knowing they were playing with only 11 forwards and five defenseman. Hakstol said, “ I think our mentality was right, we weren’t real happy about our finish last night, the way we came out in the third period last night and squandered the two goal lead, and I think that stuck with us through the day and I don’t think the lineup was really an issue our mind set was focused on how important this game was and how critical it was to get the win. “
The UND hockey team ends the first half of the season with a 10-8-2 record and a 7-7 record in the WCHA. With the loss the Harvard Crimson drop to 4-4-4 and own a 3-3-2 record.