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Sioux hockey: UND, Gophers have many connections

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Danny Kristo says if anybody can get under the skin of Minnesota star forward Jordan Schroeder this weekend, it will be him. After all, there aren't many people who know Schroeder as well as Kristo. The pair of standout forwar...

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Danny Kristo says if anybody can get under the skin of Minnesota star forward Jordan Schroeder this weekend, it will be him.

After all, there aren't many people who know Schroeder as well as Kristo.

The pair of standout forwards lived together for two years in the same billet house while they played for the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., and are the best of friends.

They stayed in close contact last year while Kristo was in Omaha, Neb., and Schroeder was a freshman at Minnesota. The Twin Cities residents hung out often during the summer, even making a trip to the lakes together.

"We're pretty close," Schroeder said.

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But friendships don't carry over to the ice.

Kristo and Schroeder will line up on opposite sides of the University of North Dakota-Minnesota rivalry, which begins with a game at 7:37 p.m. Friday in Ralph Engelstad Arena. It will be the first time that Kristo and Schroeder have played on opposite teams since they were about 9 years old.

Recently, they've been teammates on the U.S. Under-17 team, the Under-18 team and the 2009 World Junior team.

Kristo said the two talked on the phone Monday about life in general, but decided not to speak again until the series is over.

"I know they are trying to get focused," Kristo said, "and we are trying to get focused. We kind of agreed that we'll not talk until after the weekend."

Schroeder isn't the only familiar face on the other side of the rivalry for Kristo. He played with defenseman Nick Leddy for three years on Eden Prairie bantam and prep teams and spent two years as a teammate of Minnesota defenseman Sam Lofquist in Ann Arbor.

"This will probably be the first time ever where I've played against Leddy," Kristo said. "We were in the same grade in school and I've known him for a long time, being from the same hometown."

UND freshman defenseman Joe Gleason, Kristo's roommate, also will be lining up against a longtime friend this weekend in the rivalry series. Gleason said he's known Gopher freshman forward Zach Budish since about fifth grade.

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The last regular-season game that Budish has played in was the Minnesota Class 2A state championship in 2008. Gleason was the captain of Edina.

Budish sat out last season with a knee injury, while Gleason played for Des Moines in the United States Hockey League.

The Grand Forks Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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