DENVER — Visiting ninth-ranked North Dakota had a little bit of everything in a convincing 4-1 win over No. 2 Denver Saturday evening at Magness Arena. The victory featured a first career goal, a power-play goal, a short-handed goal, an empty-net goal and North Dakota killing off two major penalties and all seven DU power-play attempts in the win.
“It’s a big deal, coming into this rink and getting 5 out of 6 (points),” UND head coach Brad Berry said. “Any time you can come down here — and not only us but other teams come down here and play — it’s a tough place to play. We’ll enjoy it tonight then get ready for St. Cloud next weekend.
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“A lot of penalties tonight, our guys did a good job of having some resiliency on the penalty kill, Scheel was outstanding and our killers were really good, too, in finding a way to just nail it down there.”
UND’s first goal came on the power play. Collin Adams fed a pass to Jacob Bernard-Docker at the point, whose one-timer whistled through traffic in front and found the stick of Cole Smith and past DU goalie Magnus Chrona at the 12:59 mark of the opening period.
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Under a minute later, Josh Rieger seized his opportunity. Originally scratched from the lineup, he was inserted to spell Jonny Tychonick (ill). Judd Caulfield raced up the far boards, gaining entry into the zone and then spun and fired a no-look pass across the ice to Rieger, who rifled it past Chrona just 48 seconds after the initial goal for his first career goal.
Smith etched his second goal of the night when he created a turnover at center ice and raced in alone and solved Chrona five-hole short-handed for a 3-0 lead. That’s where it would stand after two periods.
In the third, UND had to fight off two separate 5-on-3 opportunities after a 5:00 and game disqualification for Smith. The road team took care of business by killing off all of the penalties to finish the night by squashing all seven Pioneer power-play opportunities. However, DU spoiled the shutout 10 seconds after the major elapsed to make it 3-1.
Westin Michaud put the icing on the cake with an empty-net goal to help clinch UND’s five team points on the weekend.
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“It was a disappointing effort all around, an embarrassing game for us,” Denver head coach David Carle said. “I liked our start, our first five minutes were good, and then we got on our heels and from there they took over the final 55 minutes. If we didn’t have the 5-on-3s, I’m not sure how much zone time we really would’ve had. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to execute. Tip your hat to them, they came out and played better in all facets.”
Adam Scheel was outstanding again in net for UND, making 27 saves for his eighth win of the season.
Notes: The last time UND won a series at Magness was in the 2003-04 season … Scheel collected his second career assist on the Rieger goal … UND has now beaten a team that was ranked No. 1 in at least one national poll in five consecutive seasons … North Dakota’s last short-handed goal was Hayden Shaw’s first-period tally to make it 2-1 in eventual 4-1 UND win against third-ranked Minnesota Duluth on Feb. 23 of last season … UND’s penalty kill unit is now 38-of-40 (95.0%) on the season.