No. 7 UND remains on top of the league

Men’s hockey wins 5-3 over No. 5 SCSU

If Friday night was a horror film for the University of North Dakota, then Saturday night’s 5-3 win over No. 5 St. Cloud State was a redemption film.

The seventh-ranked Fighting Hawks (11-6-0, 6-2-0-0-0-0 NCHC) received points from 10 of their skaters and goaltender Zach Driscoll stopped 30-of-33 shots to put together a strong response following Friday’s 8-1 loss to the Huskies (10-6-0, 4-4-0-1-1-0 NCHC).

Led by the identity line of Gavin Hain (G, A), Louis Jamernik (G) and Mark Senden (A, A), UND answered an early goal by the hosts and a 2-2 deadlock after 20 minutes with two in the second and a fifth in the third to hand St. Cloud State its fourth loss in the last five games.

After taking only 18 seconds to start the scoring on Friday, St. Cloud State needed only 17 on Saturday, as the Huskies struck first to make it 1-0 early once again. This time, however, North Dakota responded quickly when Jackson Kunz pounced on a loose puck in the crease to even the game at one just three minutes after the first SCSU tally.

Special teams were an area that UND head coach Brad Berry pointed to as an area his team could improve, and that was put to the test moments after Kunz’s strike when Cooper Moore was called for a penalty. Driscoll made a few key stops, including a big pad stop just as the penalty expired, to keep the game even at 1-1.

UND cashed in on a man advantage a few minutes later following a too many men call on the Huskies, as Riese Gaber snapped a wrist shot off the far post and in for his fourth tally on the power play this season and giving the Fighting Hawks a 2-1 lead near the midway point of the first period.

The Hawks looked poised to take the 2-1 lead into intermission, but a quick rush led to a shot by Kyler Kupka over the shoulder of Driscoll to tie the game at two with 23 seconds remaining in the opening frame.

An early penalty to North Dakota looked to keep momentum on the side of the hosts entering the second period, but Hain beat everyone to a loose puck, made a power move to the net and tucked it between the legs of David Hrenak for a shorthanded tally and a 3-2 UND lead just minutes into the middle stanza.

The reunited line of Hain, Jamernik and Senden kept it rolling in the second, with Jamernik knocking a puck off Hrenak and into the net following a great forechecking shift by the line to extend the lead to 4-2 with just under halfway played in the period.

Driscoll made his finest stop towards the end of the second period, when the former St. Cloud State netminder slid post-to-post to deny a one-time attempt from the slot and keep the visitors in front, 4-2, after 40 minutes of play.

UND kept its foot on the gas in the third, adding a fifth goal on a pretty passing play during a delayed penalty call. St. Cloud native Nick Portz took the puck up near the point where he found Ford streaking off the bench for a back-door goal to make it 5-2 with just over 10 minutes to play in the game.

St. Cloud State added a third goal with around six minutes to play in the third, but North Dakota held off the late charge by the hosts for the victory. The Fighting Hawks will close out the first half of the regular season next weekend in Colorado Springs, Colo. to battle Colorado College on Friday and Saturday night.


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