Gameday final: UND 7, Harvard 3

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First period

Harvard 1, UND 0 — Alex Killorn (Patrick McNally, Danny Biega) 5:33 (pp). Killorn settled the puck on his stick at the top of the right circle and bombed a wrist shot high over Dell’s glove.

Harvard 1, UND 1 — Brendan O’Donnell (Connor Gaarder, Mark MacMillan) 7:02. Gaarder snapped a shot from the left circle that got behind Michalek and sat on the goalie line. O’Donnell crashed the net and got it to go.

UND 2, Harvard 1 — Connor Gaarder (Ben Blood, Joe Gleason) 8:47 (pp). Gleason sets up a Blood for a one-timer from the point. Gaarder redirects it past Michalek for a power-play goal.

UND 3, Harvard 1 — Danny Kristo (Stephane Pattyn) 13:31 (dp) (ea). With a bench minor coming to Harvard, UND gets the extra attacker on the ice and scores when Kristo makes a fantastic play, cutting across the slot and sniping the corner of the net.

UND 4, Harvard 1 — Danny Kristo (Nick Mattson, Dillon Simpson) 15:13 (pp). Tic-tac-toe passing play results in a goal for UND. Simpson, at the point, gets it to Mattson in the right circle. Mattson makes a great one-timer pass across the slot to Kristo who makes no mistake.

UND 4, Harvard 2 — Eric Kroshus (Petr Placek) 19:40. Placek makes a nice hold at the blue line. UND’s players started skating up the ice and Placek found Kroshus behind the UND defense.

Second period

UND 5, Harvard 2 — Mark MacMillan (Connor Gaarder, Carter Rowney) :57 (dp). Right after Harvard takes a penalty, UND gets the puck to Gaarder at the point. He slaps one that’s re-directed by MacMillan.

UND 6, Harvard 2 — Michael Parks (Stephane Pattyn, Joe Gleason) 15:28. Pattyn dug the puck out of the corner and sent it to the top of the crease, where Parks’ initial shot was stopped, but he swatted home a backhand rebound.

Third period

UND 6, Harvard 3 — Luke Greiner (Colin Blackwell, Max Everson) 5:23. Blackwell holds the puck in and sends it to Greiner, who is uncovered at the bottom of the right circle. Greiner holds it and waits for Dell to go down, then puts it over his glove.

UND 7, Harvard 3 — Brock Nelson (Danny Kristo) 16:41. Kristo makes an outstanding play, forechecking hard on a Harvard defenseman, picking his pocket and quickly setting up Nelson, who walked in on the goalie alone, moved it to the backhand and just slid it under him.

UND’s lines

29 Brock Nelson–27 Carter Rowney–7 Danny Kristo
16 Mark MacMillan–21 Brendan O’Donnell–13 Connor Gaarder
15 Michael Parks–28 Stephane Pattyn–20 Joe Gleason
8 Dan Senkbeil–14 Taylor Dickin

2 Andrew MacWilliam–5 Nick Mattson
18 Dillon Simpson–24 Ben Blood
22 Andrew Panzarella

32 Aaron Dell
31 Brad Eidsness
35 Tate Maris

Friday night rewind

UND got off to a great start, building a two-goal lead and outshooting Harvard 29-11 through two periods, but a lackluster third period let the Crimson come back and grab a 4-4 tie against UND. Game stories:

Grand Forks Herald

FightingSioux.com

Other notes:

  • Corban Knight tried to give it a go, but fell awkwardly on his second shift of the game and went down the tunnel. Knight tried to come back in the second period, skated one shift, then went off for the rest of the night. He won’t play in the series finale.
  • Knight’s absence was extremely noticeable in the faceoff circle. Harvard’s top-line center Alex Killorn went 17-4 on draws. That would not have happened with Knight playing the whole game.
  • The faceoff losses made a big difference when UND was on the power play. Instead of Knight winning the draw and UND setting it up right away, the team was losing the draw and Harvard was getting clears. UND didn’t have a good power play until the one in overtime.
  • Derek Rodwell was injured during Friday’s game as well and left the bench a couple of times. Rodwell came back but won’t be able to go tonight. I believe it is an upper-body injury.
  • Nick Mattson continues to impress. He scored two important goals for UND on Friday and now has five for the season. He’s tied for fourth on the team in goals, trailing only Knight, Danny Kristo and Brock Nelson.
  • Harvard’s goals were results of some brief defensive breakdowns. UND can’t have that in the series finale, especially with the shorthanded lineup.
  • Brock Nelson is on a three-game point drought, which is his longest of the season.
  • The tie doesn’t kill UND’s Pairwise Ranking, but a win would have been big. There are only two games nonconference games left for UND this season.

U.S. headed to relegation round

Tonight, the U.S. plays Canada at the World Junior Championship — a New Year’s Eve showdown.

Who would have ever thought it would mean so little?

After a surprising loss to the Czech Republic on Friday, the U.S. is headed to the relegation round to try to play for seventh no matter what happens tonight. At best, the Americans will have their second-worst finish ever in the tournament.

The only time that Team USA finished lower than seventh was 1999, when the team took eighth in Winnipeg. That’s also the last time that the Americans were sent to the relegation round.

That’s not the only bad news. UND defenseman Derek Forbort also was boarded in the first period and left with an undisclosed injury. There haven’t been any updates on his injury from Edmonton.

After tonight, USA will join Latvia, Denmark and either Switzerland or Slovakia in relegation.

Gameday final: UND 4, Harvard 4, tie

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Tonight’s viewing options: FSSN, MidcoSN3 (GF 323), Fox College Sports Central, DirecTV 617.

First period

Harvard 1, UND 0 — Patrick McNally (Alex Killorn) 15:13 (pp). Harvard doesn’t get a shot in the game’s first 15 minutes, but the Crimson convert on their first chance. The puck squirts out of a scrum during a faceoff and McNally walks it to the net and scores on his backhand.

Second period

Harvard 1, UND 1 — Nick Mattson (Carter Rowney, Taylor Dickin) 1:25. UND gets traffic in front of the net and Mattson threads a point shot for his fourth goal of the year. Mattson made a nice fake to get the forechecker off balance.

UND 2, Harvard 1 — Brendan O’Donnell (Dillon Simpson, Andrew Panzarella) 1:39. O’Donnell led a rush up the right wing and snapped a shot over Michalek’s glove from the top of the right circle.

UND 2, Harvard 2 — Alex Killorn (Ryan Grimshaw) 2:55. Killorn led a two-on-two rush and Blood and Nelson both took the guy driving to the net. Killorn picked the corner to tie it.

UND 3, Harvard 2 — Nick Mattson 5:12 (sh). Mattson leads a 3-on-2 rush up the left wing and rips a snap shot from the middle of the circle for his second of the night.

UND 4, Harvard 2 — Connor Gaarder (Carter Rowney, Brendan O’Donnell) 12:51 (dp) (ea). One Edina player takes a penalty (Harvard’s Max Everson) and another one takes advantage for his first-career goal. Gaarder spots a loose puck behind the net, sees the goalie out of position and scores on a wraparound.

Third period

UND 4, Harvard 3 — Alex Fallstrom (Dan Ford, Marshall Everson) 10:16. Everson left a drop pass for Ford on a rush. Ford moved the puck to his backhand and slid a shot into the slot area, where Fallstrom deflected it into the corner of the net.

UND 4, Harvard 4 — Marshall Everson (Alex Killorn) 13:16. Harvard worked the puck low and MacWilliam buried a Harvard player in the crease. The puck squirted out along the goal line and everyone stopped, losing sight of it, except Everson, who picked the corner from the angle.

Overtime

No scoring.

UND’s lines

29 Brock Nelson–10 Corban Knight–7 Danny Kristo
11 Derek Rodwell–27 Carter Rowney–15 Michael Parks
21 Brendan O’Donnell–16 Mark MacMillan–13 Connor Gaarder
8 Dan Senkbeil–28 Stephane Pattyn–14 Taylor Dickin

24 Ben Blood–20 Joe Gleason
2 Andrew MacWilliam–5 Nick Mattson
18 Dillon Simpson–22 Andrew Panzarella

32 Aaron Dell
31 Brad Eidsness
35 Tate Maris

Harvard’s lines

21 Marshall Everson–19 Alex Killorn–16 Alex Fallstrom
63 Colin Blackwell–26 Luke Greiner–22 David Valek
13 Tommy O’Regan–18 Mike Seward–10 Eric Kroshus
17 Rence Coassin–12 Colin Moore–11 Daniel Moriarty

5 Dan Ford–9 Danny Biega
8 Patrick McNally–6 Ryan Grimshaw
44 Max Everson–7 Danny Fick

34 Steve Michalek
30 Raphael Girard

Friday morning reading

It’s still Christmas break. It’s an unfamiliar, nonconference opponent. The students won’t be in the house and the crowd may not be sold out.

Make no mistake, though. This weekend’s series against Harvard is a significant one if UND wants to reach the NCAA tournament for a 10th consecutive season.

The WCHA has not been its usual dominating self in nonconference play this year. That means there’s a good chance only three WCHA teams will be advancing to the NCAAs, which ties the league’s fewest number of reps since the tournament expanded to 16 teams in 2003.

Read more about the WCHA’s predicament here.

The next three games will be UND’s final chances to improve that nonconference mark. Then, the team can get to work on the conference record.

UND currently sits No. 21 in the Pairwise Rankings. The team can dig its way into NCAA contention from there, but it has to start against the Crimson.

Harvard may be a bit of an unfamiliar opponent, but many of the players know each other. That starts with the Edina crew. There will be four members of the 2007-08 Edina Hornets state runner-up team on the ice this weekend.

Or as Joe Gleason puts it in this article, “A lot of former cake-eaters are going to be on the ice.”

The Crimson also have a couple of Shattuck players in Luke Greiner and Alex Fallstrom. If I’m not mistaken, Harvard defenseman Ryan Grimshaw played with Danny Kristo at the NTDP, too.

That notebook also points out that the Crimson have a weird stat line when it comes to special teams: Their power play is the best in the nation. Their penalty kill is the worst in the nation.

Harvard has two defensemen who are averaging more than a point per game, so look for them to be active in the play. Colorado College scored a bunch of goals on point shots against UND last month, so blocking shots will be a big goal, I’m sure.

One stat that might be a little surprising is that Harvard has eight drafted players — that’s only one shy of Boston College, which beat UND in Ralph Engelstad Arena earlier this season.

This week’s Q&A is with forward Derek Rodwell. I don’t see it online right now, but it features an interesting story about Rodwell’s Christmas vacation. He went to Arizona, and while he was there, he went to a Coyotes game. Walking around the concourse, Rodwell said he saw at least a dozen Sioux jerseys, a “Sioux, yeah, yeah” sign and a T.J. Oshie sign.

Other WCHA teams in action this weekend…

Michigan Tech at the GLI: Tech lost its opener Thursday afternoon to Michigan State 3-1, despite outshooting the Spartans 46-26. The Huskies will play Boston College for third. Boston College lost to Michigan.

Western Michigan at St. Cloud State: This battle of late additions to the NCHC started Thursday with a comeback win by St. Cloud State. The Huskies trailed 2-1 in the third period and used back-to-back goals by Jared Festler to take the lead before tacking on an empty-netter.

Minnesota at Mariucci Classic: The Gophers host Niagara tonight and either Northeastern or Princeton on Saturday. It’s not really a surprise, but the Gophers will continue rolling with Kent Patterson in net while the backup waits for his turn. Minnesota will be without Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau this weekend as they are with the World Junior team.

Quinnipiac at Nebraska-Omaha: Omaha has the worst nonconference record among WCHA teams and has a chance to work on that against a team that swept them a year ago. Omaha won’t have coach Dean Blais behind the bench. Instead, it will be Crookston’s Mike Hastings, who Blais has said will be the next Mavs head coach.

Bowling Green at Bemidji State: This is a matchup of future WCHA rivals as the Falcons will be joining the league in 2013-14. The Beavs have been hot lately, going 5-1-1 in the last seven. Bowling Green has not, going winless in eight.

Denver vs. Union, at Air Force: Denver, the preseason favorite to win the league, hasn’t been able to get much traction this season and will try to do so against Union and Air Force, despite playing without Jason Zucker (WJC), Beau Bennett (inj.) and Sam Brittain (inj.).

Colorado College vs. Air Force, vs. Union: Colorado College will play without Jaden Schwartz (WJC), but it still has Rylan, who is racking up the goals this season. Rylan has 16, which is second nationally only to Colgate’s Austin Smith (18).

WJC: Finland 4, USA 1

Team USA now has its back against the wall at the World Junior Championship.

The Americans lost 4-1 to Finland on Wednesday afternoon, setting up a critical game against the Czech Republic on Friday.

If the U.S. loses to the Czechs, it will likely be sent to relegation to play for seventh and for a spot in next year’s tournament. If it beats the Czechs, it still has an outside shot at winning the pool and earning a bye to the semifinals.

Team USA started backup goalie John Gibson against the Finns and the tide appeared to turn in the third period when he took an interference penalty. The Finns scored a go-ahead goal on the ensuing power play and tacked on two more after that.

Brandon Saad scored the lone U.S. goal with assists going to Emerson Etem and Charlie Coyle.

The Americans outshot Finland 38-24 in the game.

Weekly Wednesday update

At today’s weekly session with local media, UND coach Dave Hakstol said that forwards Corban Knight and Mario Lamoureux have returned to practice, but a decision on their availability for Friday night’s game won’t be made until Thursday or game day.

Both players missed the exhibition game on Dec. 17 due to lower-body injuries.

Rocco Grimaldi is still out at least another two or three weeks. That’s when the team will start to know more about Grimaldi.

One of the topics Wednesday was the big Edina battle this weekend. UND has a pair of Hornets in Joe Gleason and Connor Gaarder. Harvard has two in the Everson brothers. They were all on the team during Gleason’s senior season. That squad went to the state tournament.

For Thursday’s paper, I will be writing about the WCHA’s struggles in nonconference play this season, which could lead to fewer league teams making the NCAA tournament. Right now, two are comfortably in and a third is on the bubble.

That’s it for now, as I have two prep games and the World Juniors to cover.

WJC opener: USA 11, Denmark 3

There was no letdown to open the World Junior Championship for Team USA.

After a lackluster first period — where the U.S. held a narrow 3-2 lead — the Americans blew it open in the second by scoring six straight goals. The final score was Team USA 11, Denmark 3.

Charlie Coyle, who is leaving BU for major juniors, had a hat trick. Minnesota freshman Kyle Rau had two goals and UND sophomore Derek Forbort had two assists in the opener.

The other goals were scored by J.T. Miller, Nick Bjugstad, Jarrod Tinordi, Bill Arnold, Jason Zucker and Stephen Johns.

The Americans will find out a little more about themselves when they play Finland at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

World Juniors set to begin

The U.S. is entering the World Junior Championship as medalists in back-to-back years for the first time ever. Canada is entering the tournament with a two-year gold drought for the first time since the tournament came to Grand Forks in 2004-05.

Even so, the host Canadians will be big favorites again when the tournament begins today in Edmonton and Calgary.

What’s the scouting report on the Americans?

1. They went with an older roster. There are only two skaters who aren’t 1992 birthdays — ’94 defenseman Jacob Trouba, who has committed to Michigan, and ’93 forward J.T. Miller, who woulda/coulda/shoulda been at freshman at UND this season. Backup goalie John Gibson also is a ’93. (Of note, if not for injuries, ’94 defenseman Seth Jones and ’93 forward Rocco Grimaldi would have been on this team).

2. The defensemen have great size. Only one defenseman is smaller than 6-foot-2. That’s BU blue liner Adam Clendening. Otherwise, the Americans have 6-7 Jarred Tinordi, 6-5 Derek Forbort, 6-4 Stephen Johns, 6-4 Kevin Gravel and 6-3 Jon Merrill.

3. Up front, look for Jason Zucker, Nick Bjugstad and Brandon Saad to carry the load scoringwise. Charlie Coyle also has provided quite a bit of scoring in the exhibition games.

4. In goal, the U.S. has Jack Campbell, who has led the Americans to gold at the U18s twice, gold at the World Juniors once and bronze once. His international accomplishments have been unbelievable and he should give the U.S. a shot to contend at a medal again.

5. USA’s pool also includes Canada, Finland, Czech Republic and Denmark. Everyone will be expecting the Americans, Canadians and Finns to come out of it. The U.S. gets its feet wet against the Danes today. The Canada game is once again on New Year’s Eve and it could be for a bye to the semifinals.

For a story on Forbort, go here.

For the team roster, go here.

USA’s schedule

USA vs. Denmark, 7 p.m. today
USA vs. Finland 2:30 p.m. Wednesday
USA vs. Czech Republic, 2:30 p.m. Friday
USA vs. Canada, 7 p.m. Saturday

U.S. announces final WJC roster

The U.S. announced its final World Junior roster on Thursday morning and Derek Forbort is on the squad. For more on Forbort and his role on this team, read Saturday’s Herald.

Here’s the full roster:

Pos.         Name    Ht    Wt    Birthdate    S/C    Hometown    2010-12 Team
G    1    Jack Campbell*^    6-2    182    1/9/92    L    Port Huron, Mich.    Soo Greyhounds (OHL)
G    35    John Gibson    6-3    200    7/14/93    L    Pittsburgh, Pa.    Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
G    29    Andy Iles*%    5-9    180    1/30/92    L    Ithaca, N.Y.    Cornell Univ. (ECACH)
D    5    Adam Clendening    5-11    190    10/26/92    R    Niagara Falls, N.Y.    Boston Univ. (HEA)
D    4    Derek Forbort*    6-5    200    3/4/92    L    Duluth, Minn.    Univ. of North Dakota (WCHA)
D    12    Kevin Gravel    6-4    190    3/6/92    L    Kingsford, Mich.    St. Cloud State Univ. (WCHA)
D    28    Stephen Johns    6-4    221    4/18/92    R    Wampum, Pa.    Univ. of Notre Dame (CCHA)
D    15    Jon Merrill*    6-3    209    2/3/92    L    Brighton, Mich.    Univ. of Michigan (CCHA)
D    24    Jarred Tinordi    6-7    215    2/20/92    L    Millersville, Md.    London Knights (OHL)
D    8    Jacob Trouba    6-2    191    2/26/94    R    Rochester, Minn.    U.S. NTDP U-18 (USHL)
F    21    Josh Archibald    5-10    170    10/6/92    R    Brainerd, Minn.    Univ. of Nebraska Omaha (WCHA)

F
14    Bill Arnold    6-0    215    5/13/92    R    Needham, Mass.    Boston College (HEA)

F
27    Nick Bjugstad*    6-4    204    7/17/92    R    Blaine, Minn.    Univ. of Minnesota (WCHA)
F    23    Connor Brickley    6-1    195    2/25/92    L    Everett, Mass.    Univ. of Vermont (HEA)
F    3    Charlie Coyle*    6-2    207    3/2/92    R    East Weymouth, Mass.    Boston Univ. (HEA)
F    2    Austin Czarnik    5-8    152    12/12/92    R    Washington, Mich.    Miami Univ. (CCHA)
F    10    Emerson Etem*    6-1    197    6/16/92    L    Long Beach, Calif.    Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
F    11    J.T. Miller    6-1    195    3/14/93    L    East Palestine, Ohio    Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
F    20    Kyle Rau    5-8    172    10/24/92    L    Eden Prairie, Minn.    Univ. of Minnesota (WCHA)
F    22    Brandon Saad    6-2    206    10/27/92    L    Gibsonia, Pa.    Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
F    19    T.J. Tynan    5-8    170    2/25/92    R    Orland Park, Ill.    Univ. of Notre Dame (CCHA)
F    26    Austin Watson    6-3    195    1/13/92    R    Ann Arbor, Mich.    Peterborough Petes (OHL)
F    16    Jason Zucker*^    5-11    180    1/16/92    L    Las Vegas, Nev.    Univ. of Denver (WCHA)