Photo Special to the Herald courtesy Chris Machian/Omaha World Herald.
After Danny Kristo clinched Saturday’s 5-2 win over Omaha with a late goal, you could see a wave of fans heading toward the dugout where UND walked to its locker room. More and more fans went over there and they got louder and louder.
As the final seconds ticked away, they chanted, “This is our house.”
Then, they went into the customary, “Let’s go Sioux” chant.
By the time they players walked off the ice, it was a wild scene at T.D. Ameritrade Park. Captain Andrew MacWilliam was the first to go down the tunnel. As he got in there. He stopped and let out a primal scream. Others did the same.
The last player to walk through the tunnel was alternate captain Corban Knight. When he came through, the chants quickly turned to “Hobey Baker.”
It was a scene that the players say they will never forget. And for all the delays and ice problems, in the end, I think the fans and players of both teams got to experience a pretty cool event.
Of course, UND enjoyed it a bit more because of the outcome of the game. Stories:
- UND moved up to No. 6 in the Pairwise Rankings with the sweep.
- There’s been a lot of focus on UND playing below average recently — and at times they have — but UND has just 3 losses in the last 17 games, which is extremely good.
- The ice conditions weren’t great for the UND game, but they were significantly better than the USHL game earlier in the day.
- UND coach Dave Hakstol said that he thought a big key would be scoring early. It definitely was in the USHL game, as transitioning and scoring goals became more difficult as the ice deteriorated. UND got that with a quick wave of three goals in 3:41 during the first period.
- Hakstol said that Jordan Schmaltz got all of his shot — that it wasn’t a wrister or a snap shot — it was an all-out slap shot for the first goal. Of course, the screen by Mark MacMillan didn’t hurt.
- With all the UND fans in Omaha and with the team earning the sweep, a lot of people were saying it was UND’s weekend. Perhaps that included Omaha, as its two goals today were scored by an Archibald and a Zombo.
- UND’s first three goal scorers today — Schmaltz, Nick Mattson and Mitch MacMillan — entered the game with a combined four goals on the season.
- Danny Kristo is second nationally with 18 goals. Only St. Lawrence’s Greg Carey (20) has more.
- Zane Gothberg once again had a strong game, and his defense helped him out a lot. Omaha didn’t have many Grade A chances during the first two periods of the game.
That’s it for a quick Saturday night rewind update. There will be more coming when (if?) I get back to Grand Forks.