UND Skates Past DU in Grand Forks

Grand Forks, ND – Last night after the game freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi took the blame for not scoring the game-winning goal when he missed a wide open net in the waning minutes of the third period.

While hockey is a team game, the talented forward Grimaldi has high expectations for himself as he stepped forward to shoulder the blame for the rest of teammates.

“For me I have to put that in that in the empty net,” Grimaldi said. “I don’t know how I missed the net – I hit the post whatever… so I have to bear down, so I basically lost the game. He [Juho Olkinuora] won it and I lost it for our team so.”

Tonight, it appeared that Grimaldi had an extra gear, but also a little extra pep in his step – as did the rest of his line mates. UND’s forward line of Grimaldi (1g-3a—4pts), Carter Rowney (2g-2a—4pts) and Drake Caggiula (0a-2g—2pts) slashed through the Denver defense like a hot knife through butter and burned the Pioneers back end for an eye popping 10 points.

After the game, a relieved Rocco Grimaldi had this to say 24 hours later after UND’s disappointing finish on Friday night.

“I was pretty upset with myself yesterday,” Grimaldi said.  “I thought if I would have put that in obviously we would have had the win. A couple of chances; I just didn’t bury it. Then first period I get a break away – I don’t know what I was thinking – it was a terrible move. I don’t know what I was thinking. It was a terrible move. Then I am thinking; you know what – I starting thinking about myself… ah it’s not going to happen. Whenever I rely on myself I can never get it done. I have to trust in the Lord to do that. I started leaning on him today and great things happen and it was a big win for our hockey club today and hopefully I am going to continue to do that.”

Carter Rowney who had been on a bit of a scoring slump as of late was also relieved about his performance to night. Seems as if scoring goals makes everything alright.

“The last couple of weekends I was having my chances but they were going into the back of the net,” Rowney said.  On Friday night I did get that one, it was a greasy one – but you know I will take it. I kind of felt like I got the monkey off of my back, then today they started rolling in bunches.”

UND is 2-2-3 when having the first goal scored against them. Make that 3-2-3 after tonight’s 6-3 win over the first place Denver Pioneers.

Tonight, Denver again scored the first goal of the game when DU forward Grant Arnold took a UND turnover in the defensive zone and blasted the puck past UND goalie Clarke Saunders to give the Pioneers an early 1-0 lead at the 01:25 mark of the first period.

UND didn’t let the early goal rattle them as the Green and White quickly rebounded and took the play to the Denver Pioneers. UND would finally even the score at the 17:10 mark of the first period with a goal from Rocco Grimaldi. Assisting on Grimaldi’s goal was Drake Caggiula and Carter Rowney.

In the second period, UND would race to a 4-1 lead with goals by Derek Forbort and Carter Rowney.

Then things changed quickly, UND forward Dan Senkbeil was assessed a five minute major for checking from behind and given a game misconduct.

Denver would score two quick goals on the power play by Ty Loney and Joey LaLeggia to bring the score to 4-3.

That was all of the scoring that DU would get the rest of the way.

After giving up two quick goals on the five minute major penalty – UND didn’t panic – they recovered and in the third period would again gain the upper hand on the Denver Pioneers. UND would ice the game with two more goals by senior forwards Danny Kristo and Corban Knight.

After last night’s game, UND head coach Dave Hakstol seem less than pleased with the effort of his squad. Again what a difference 24 hours made. Even with giving up two goals on the five minute power play, the head coaches seemed pleased with his team’s effort tonight.

“Well we put ourselves in a good position in that point and time,” Hakstol said. We haven’t given up that much. We found a way to gain the momentum but we gave that back pretty quickly with an unfortunately play.”

While the UND versus Denver Pioneer series traditionally can be a blood bath, this weekend’s series was relatively tame.

Originally post at the Hockey Writers Combine.

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