Grand Forks, ND –So far this season, the University of North Dakota hockey team has had a tendency to come out flat on Friday nights and put the pedal to the metal on Saturday nights. That trend continued tonight. Coming into tonight’s game, UND had a 5-5-1 record on Friday night.
Enter the Colorado College Tigers, who are having a bit of a down season. The Tigers entered tonight’s game with a lackluster record of 5-14-1 (.275).
Records aside, the Tigers came out in the first period and pushed the pace. The Tigers played more like a team that had a 14-5-1 record.
“They were the better team in the first period,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I thought we were really sporadic in the first period. We got a little better in the second. The MacMillan goal was obviously the key part for us.”
Coach Hakstol was right, through one period of hockey, the Tigers were the better team. The Tigers would score the game’s first goal at the 04:01 mark of the first period. The Tigers outshot UND 14-10 in the first period.
Then the tide began to turn.
UND would come out of stronger in the second period. Senior forward Mark MacMillan would score the game-tying goal the 16:23 mark of the second period. UND would outshoot the Tigers in the second period 9-7.
Finally, UND would take the lead at the 06:37 mark of the third period with a shorthanded game-winning goal by Michael Parks. With his goal tonight, Parks now has six shorthanded points on the season.
UND leads the nation with nine shorthanded goals this season. What’s even more impressive, UND now has four shorthanded game-winning goals. UND also has four players with two shorthanded goals each.
Parks broke down the game-winning shorthanded goal.
“Well, that goal we were just benefiting from a lucky bounce,” Parks said. “I don’t know who’s stick broke. I think MacMillan broke a stick. Their guy broke their stick, too. Their high d-man just fumbled it and I was able to chip it by him and I was all along. I don’t know, I think that was us just earning a lucky bounce.”
Fourth line sets pace for UND
The story of the game was the play of UND’s fourth-line. Four games ago, head coach Dave Hakstol put the forward line of Brendan O’Donnell, Connor Gaarder, and Austin Poganski together and the move has paid dividends for UND.
While the fourth line didn’t get any points tonight, they were tenacious and tough to play against. That line was in the Tigers face all night long. The fourth-line generated a lot of opportunities and got the momentum going in UND’s favor.
The Tigers would make a big push in the waning minutes of the third period, but UND was able to hold on for a 2-1 win.
With the win, UND improves to 6-5-1 on Friday nights. Same two teams tomorrow night. Game time is 7:07 pm CT.
On Saturday, UND will look to get its first league home sweep of the season.
With the win, UND improves to (17-5-2, 8-4-1 NCHC). With the loss, C.C. falls to (5-15-1, 1-10-1 NCHC).