GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota used a suffocating defense and goals from four different players on Saturday to beat Minnesota 4-1 and move back into first place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
The win, which came one night after the second-ranked Fighting Sioux (17-6-2, 12-4-0) had their seven-game winning streak snapped, moved them two points ahead of Minnesota-Duluth, which lost to Wisconsin. Denver stayed a point behind North Dakota with an overtime win over Minnesota State-Mankato.
“Anytime you can get two points, you’ve got to be happy and move on,” said North Dakota senior forward Brad Malone.
Evan Trupp and Corban Knight scored even-strength goals for North Dakota and Malone broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal at 14:12 of the second period. Danny Kristo netted the last North Dakota goal late in the third period.
Minnesota (10-9-3, 7-8-2) took a 1-0 lead on Mark Alt’s first goal. Alt flicked the puck on net from the blue line and it went in past a screened Aaron Dell. The Gophers had just five shots on goal in the first period and 22 shots overall.
“We couldn’t get any rhythm going,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. “Some of our top-end guys just couldn’t find any rhythm. I don’t think we really gave ourselves a chance to win.”
Alt’s goal stood up for just 34 seconds before Trupp tied it. Malone’s goal made it 2-1. Fourteen of North Dakota’s 17 shots on goal in the first period came on the power play.
Dell made 21 stops and Kent Patterson had 22 saves for Minnesota.
“We got a critical win tonight to take advantage of home ice,” North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said.
Minnesota won 3-2 on Friday.
WCCO’s Interview With Don Lucia
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