GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Was it the major lineup shuffling that made a difference for the UND men's hockey team tonight?
A night after being outshot 33-15 in losing the Western Collegiate Hockey Association opener 3-1 to visiting St. Cloud State in a performance some UND players called "embarrassing,'' UND turned the tables tonight.
Not on the scoreboard, which showed a 2-2 overtime tie between UND and the Huskies. But UND outshot the Huskies 36-18, almost a reversal of Friday night, and left the sellout of 11,937 cheering on UND instead of some booing the night before.
UND coach Dave Hakstol changed the line combinations on three of his four lines, the pairings on two of his three defensive units and switched the starting goalie as well.
Yet what changed most, Hakstol said, had nothing to do with his lineup changes.
"Biggest change was our intensity and effort for the entire 65 minutes,'' Hakstol said. "Regardless of what the line combinations or D pairs are, if you play that hard night in and night out, you're going to win the majority of hockey games that we play.''
Still, North Dakota came out of the weekend with just one of a possible four points, the second consecutive weekend that has run true.
The tie dropped UND into a three-way tie for fourth place in the WCHA with Wisconsin and Minnesota State, with the Badgers coming to Grand Forks next weekend.
For the second night in a row, a bounce off the end boards set up an early goal for the Huskies, who retained sole possession of the WCHA lead with the tie.
Jimmy Murray's initial shot kicked off the back wall and out on the opposite side to linemate Ben Hanowski. He had open net to shoot at with UND goalie Clarke Saunders (Jr., Brockville, Ontario) caught on the other side of the net for a 1-0 Huskie lead courtesy of the power-play goal.
UND struck back to take a 2-1 lead before the period was over, however.
Senior wing Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) scored his second career shorthanded goal and his team-best 15th goal of the season at 5:02 to tie it at 1-all. He converted a centering pass from behind the net from center Corban Knight (High River, Alberta).
It was evident early that UND was back on its game. UND had eight shots on goal in the first 6:45 of the game after needing two full periods Friday to muster eight shots.
Knight gave UND the lead at 15:45 of the opening period. Ten seconds after UND dominated the zone on the power play but could not score, Knight blasted in his 12th of the season before the Huskies could get fresh skaters on the ice. He hit the far corner with a wrister from the top of the faceoff circle.
But early in the second period with a delayed hooking penalty coming on UND freshman defenseman Jordan Schmaltz (Verona, Wis.), St. Cloud tied it with the extra attacker before the penalty was enforced.
Hanowski, stationed at the side of the net, scored his second of the game and third of the weekend when he tipped in a hard pass from Drew LeBlanc just 1:57 into the second period. That concluded the scoring.
UND outshot the Huskies in every period, including overtime, but Ryan Faragher made 34 saves and UND misfired by inches on a few deflections to leave the game in a tie.
The tie wasn't what Hakstol wanted, though. "In terms of our team play, our performance and effort, I feel good about that,'' Hakstol said. "But to come away with one point, it's hard to feel good about anything.''
Kristo, who had a goal and an assist and was voted the game's No. 1 star by the media, agreed. "Definitely stings,'' he said. "I thought we deserved a better outcome. I thought we outplayed them all three periods. That's just the way it goes sometimes.''
Saunders finished with 15 saves and caught a break when St. Cloud's Jonny Brodzinski hit the goal post early in the third period.
UND had more jump right from the start compared to Friday. "That was the plan,'' Kristo said. "It was pretty embarrassing after last night. I thought we did all the right things we needed to to win, but that's how it goes sometimes. The puck bounces here and there.''
Kristo was on a line with his regular center Knight with freshman Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.) joining them on right wing. The three of them had 15 of UND's 36 shots, led by Knight with six. That line also scored both of UND's goals, though Kristo's came shorthanded.
Said Knight, "We left a point out there on Saturday night in a home game, so I don't think anybody's satisfied in that room right now. Definitely something's that pretty frustrating right now.''
UND had little puck luck either night. "That's hockey for you,'' Knight said. "Sometimes they go for you and sometimes they don't. It seems like tonight they weren't really going for us. We had a couple of Grade A chances that either their goalie made a good save, or it kind of bounced away us.''
UND NOTES: Ex-UND and long-time NHL defenseman Mike Commodore was at the weekend games and will stay in Grand Forks and work out at UND in hopes of landing a free agent contract with some NHL team . . . St. Cloud was 1-for-3 on the power play, but gave up the shorthanded goal....UND was 0-for-3 on the power play. . .. Hanowski was named No. 2 star and Knight No. 3 . . . Knight won 15 of 25 draws while St. Cloud's Nic Dowd won 12 of 18 as UND finished with a 34-31 edge.
Virg Foss covered UND hockey for 35 seasons for the Grand Forks Herald until his retirement in 2005. He now reports on UND home games exclusively for UNDSports.com.