Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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UND takes 'A' off Blood's jersey for handshake line scuffle

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey, North Dakota Updated: January 16, 2012 - 11:38 PM

North Dakota defenseman Ben Blood had his status as assistant captain taken away on Monday.

Coach Dave Hakstol announced the disciplinary action because of what Blood did in the handshake line after Saturday's game. Blood appeared to throw a punch or a forearm shiver at Gophers freshman Kyle Rau following UND's 6-2 loss rather than shaking his hand. Soon Blood was engaged in a wrestling match with Gopher Seth Ambroz, who came to Rau's defense.

"Regardless of any provocation, Ben's actions in the post-game handshake were not acceptable," Hakstol said in a UND news release. "The handshake line is a traditional, gentlemanly part of our game where, at the end of a hard-fought battle, opponents show good sportsmanship and shake hands like men."

Hakstol said Blood will be subject to further internal team discipline.

Said Blood, "I am not proud of my behavior. That's not how I want to represent our program, and that's not how we handle ourselves here. I understand and respect the punishment, and I'll move forward and not let my emotions get the best of me in the future."

Blood, who is 6-4, 226 junior defenseman, was the first player in the UND line and made it almost all the way through  when he came to Rau.

Rau is 5-8, 172 freshman. He's the smallest Gopher but, in a video, Blood sends Rau backward. Because Ambroz is in the way, the video does not show whether it was a punch or a forearm. Rau didn't fall but  Ambroz, who was in line right behind Rau, immediately went after Blood.

That's a better matchup. Ambroz is 6-3, 210. Ambroz and Blood were soon rolling around on the ice.

Suffice it to say, the handshakes were over. Officials sent Ambroz and Blood to their respective locker rooms. And Gophers coach Don Lucia ordered his players off the ice by words and hand gestures.

A video of the incident is here.

To add a little more context to why Blood might have acted stupid, you need to go back to the end of the game.

Blood and Ambroz collided and started pushing and shoving. Officials separated them while both were still standing. As one official was shoving Blood away, Blood fell backward.

Another video from a different angle shows it wasn't the official who caused Blood's fall, but a slash to the back of his legs by Gopher Jake Hansen. That video is here. Blood got up more angry than ever and went after Ambroz harder but never got to him.

Then came the handshake line with Blood leading his team. Maybe Blood had a gripe with Rau, who had two assists in the game. Or maybe he just wanted to tangle with Ambroz and a sure way of getting his wish was to pick on Rau. Ambroz came to Rau's defense immediately.

Blood received a two-minute minor for roughing and a 10-minute game misconduct. Ambroz was not penalized.

UND coach Dave Hakstol talked about the Gophers series and Blood here.

Hakstol called Blood a "great young man" and said he would not trade him for many players in the country.

But he said Blood's actions Saturday were not acceptable and "won't happen again."

KRISTO SORRY, TOO

Danny Kristo, another North Dakota, also issued an apology on Monday. He used twitter: "I am sorry for my actions that took place on friday night. I am an intense person and let my emotions get the best of me. Sorry to you fans."

Kristo received a five-minute major penalty for checking from behind and a game misconduct late in the first period.He hit Gophers defenseman Ben Marshall.  A TV camera also followed him as he left the rink and caught him swinging his stick against a wall, tossing the stick aside and coming back out of the tunnel briefly to yell something.

Both Blood and Kristo are from the Twin Cities. Blood is from Plymouth, Kristo from Eden Prairie. Both had to pumped up for the Gophers series.

The Kristo video is here.

 

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