Nov. 29, 2009

Courtesy of North Dakota Athletics

GRAND FORKS, N.D.--The final game of the annual Subway Holiday Classic was just that -- a classic.

A college hockey heavyweight battle, tonight's tilt between No. 4 North Dakota and top-ranked Miami featured a little bit of everything. Except a winner.

Miami freshman forward Reilly Smith knotted the game at 5-5 with 2:41 remaining in regulation to enable the RedHawks to salvage a tie with the Fighting Sioux, who had led 5-3 entering the third period.

"It was entertaining," said UND head coach Dave Hakstol. "We'll look at some of the mistakes and some of the brakdowns but one of the first things that comes to mind is there were a lot of great plays out there tonight."

Reilly's goal was his second of the game and fourth point of the night, capping an intriguing battle-within-the-battle between Reilly and fellow freshman forward Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.).

Kristo scored twice, both on the power-play, and added an assist for the Sioux and was named the tournament's most valuable player. His second goal with 2:14 left in the second period put UND in control with a 5-3 lead after 40 minutes and capped a wild, six-goal second period. Kristo drove the net through the right circle and whiffed on his initial shot, but quickly regained the puck and slid it inside the near post for his third goal of the weekend.

The RedHawks, however, would rally to tie with a pair of goals in the final 10:33 of the third period.

First, with Miami on the power-play, sophomore defenseman Cameron Schilling took a nifty pass from Jarod Palmer at the left point, made his way into the faceoff circle and whistled a wrist shot past Brad Eidsness (So., Chestermere, Alberta) to make it 5-4 at 9:27.

Then with just under three minutes remaining, UND had a defensive breakdown inside its own zone and Smith slipped behind the defense in the slot and went backhand-to-forehand to deke Eidsness at 17:19.

Nothing was settled in a five-minute overtime.

"That was one of the must fun games i've played this year," said Kristo. "It's a little bittersweet. I felt like we should have came away with (the win) but that's how it goes sometimes."

The two teams traded goals in the first period, first when Smith opened the scoring at 8:17, beating Eidsness with a wrist shot from the left circle high to the glove side.

"They came out and got us back on our heels a little bit but I really liked the way we regained our composure."

UND indeed answered at 13:52 on Ben Blood's (So., Plymouth, Minn.) first collegiate goal. The big defenseman threaded a shot through traffic from the left point that eluded Miami goalie Connor Knapp low to the short side, the first of three power-play goals on the night for the Sioux.

Carter Camper put the RedHawks back on top with his third goal of the weekend 3:20 into the second period, but Kristo responded with his first of the night just four minutes later with a wrist shot through traffic while manning the point on the power-play.

Just 26 seconds later, Jason Gregoire (So., Winnipeg, Manitoba) knocked home a Blood rebound for his team-leading sixth goal of the season and a 3-2 Sioux lead.

That lead was short lived, however, as Miami captain Tommy Wingels countered with his fifth of the season at the 10:07 mark.

Almost exactly six minutes later the Sioux regained the lead while shorthanded after a brilliant shift by forwards Evan Trupp (Jr., Anchorage, Alaska) and Brad Malone (Jr., Miramichi, New Brunswick). The duo caused a turnover high in the Miami slot, and Malone found himself in alone on Knapp, outwaited and walked around the netminder before burying his third goal of the season.

The goal was UND's fourth special teams tally of the night. The Sioux went 3-for-7 on the power-play in addition to Malone's shorthanded effort.

Miami went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.