Grand Forks, ND – The first shot on net by the University of North Dakota went into the Miami net. Unfortunately for UND, the referee ruled that junior forward Mark MacMillan interfered with the Miami goalie Ryan McKay. Video replay confirmed that MacMillan caught the McKay with a forearm, in the head, knocking his goalie mask off– you can’t do that.
The next shot by sophomore defenseman Jordan Schmaltz went in the net, this time it counted. UND would have another goal waved off in the first period, but it didn’t seem to faze UND all that much.
“It didn’t seem to matter,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “We were ready to play. We had a great start. Couple of disallowed goals through the first period, but it really didn’t matter. We were ready to play the next shift. Everybody was ready to play.”
UND would push the lead to 2-0, when sophomore forward Colton St. Clair scored his second goal of the season to make it 2-0. That was St. Clair’s first goal since October 19, 2013, when he scored against Miami.
Rocco Grimaldi and Keaton Thompson scored four minutes apart to push the lead to 4-0 after one period of hockey, and the route was on.
UND would score four more goals in the second period, and add a single goal on the power-play in the closing seconds of the third period. Yeah, you heard that right, UND scored two power-play goals on Saturday night. On Saturday night, UND was 2-5 on the much maligned power-play. After coming to the series going 3-for-38 on the power-play, UND was 3-11 (27.3%) for the weekend on the man advantage.
North Dakota had two goals waved off in the first period, but it didn’t seem to matter, as UND took Miami to the proverbial woodshed, winning 9-2. That was most goals that UND had scored at the Ralph Engelstad Arena since December 31, 2011, when UND beat Havard 7-3.
“I thought we had great jump from the start. all the way through the first period,” Rocco Grimaldi said. “I thought that every line was building momentum, every time they were on the ice. The power-play was clicking. Things were just going our way. It was a total team effort.”
While Grimaldi led UND with a goal and three assists, he was quick to credit his fellow teammates who played a sold 60-minute game.
“It was total team effort, every guy did his part,” Grimaldi said. “Every guy played his heart out, and was just motivated to get the three points. Especially looking at last weekend, we had Omaha on the ropes on Saturday night, and let it slip away and let them score five unanswered (goals). It was a message that was preached a lot.”
There were a lot of positives for UND tonight and the head coach seemed pleased with his team’s effort, 14 players recorded at least a point, and five players record two or more points.
“I thought our third period, other than probably two or three shifts where I thought we were happy to play defense in our own zone," Hakstol said. "We played on our toes. Guys were having fun. Again, nobody stepped outside the box. They just went out and played well, played hard."
Sophomore goalie Zane Gothberg returned from injury, and continued his torrid streak. Over his last 10 starts, Gothberg is 9-0-1 with a 1.79 goals against average and a .924 save percentage.
UND now has two of its three remaining series on the road. Next weekend, UND travels to Minnesota Duluth, to play the Bulldogs in an important two-game NCHC series. With the win, UND improves to (16-9-3 and 10-7 NCHC).