ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — St. Cloud State didn’t need five goals in the second period to get even with North Dakota on Saturday. One goal was all it took.

Cory Thorson’s goal late in the second period led St. Cloud State over North Dakota 3-1 and into a first-place tie in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

St. Cloud State and North Dakota share the lead in the NCHC with two games remaining in the regular season. The winner earns the first Penrose Cup and gets the top seed for the playoffs.

Thorson got the game-winner at 18:55 of the second period.

One night after UND scored five times in the second period, the Huskies needed just one goal and goalie Ryan Faragher did the rest. Faragher didn’t play the third period in Friday’s 5-2 loss, but he made nine saves in the third period and 33 overall on Saturday.

“I thought we played hard,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “It was a hard-fought game and we came up on the wrong side of it.”

Joey Benik scored in the first period for St. Cloud State (19-8-5, 13-6-3), just a minute and a half after UND went up 1-0.

“That was a huge goal,” Hakstol said.

Kevin Gravel added a late empty-net goal to ensure UND’s third loss in its last 19 games.

Rocco Grimaldi had the only goal for UND (19-10-3, 14-8-0). He was the only UND player with a point as no assists were awarded on the play. Grimaldi skated in on Faragher with UND skating shorthanded and took a shot that bounced off Faragher’s pad. Grimaldi then knocked in the rebound, similar to many of the second-chance goals UND scored in the first game of the series.

Goalie Zane Gothberg had his 14-game unbeaten streak stopped despite making 29 saves, including 13 in the third period.

North Dakota’s defense held the Huskies scoreless on five power-play opportunities. It was 0-for-2 with a man advantage.

“We didn’t have quite the energy out of parts of our lineup tonight,” Hakstol said. “We just didn’t have enough jump out there.”

Fifth-ranked St. Cloud State won three of four games against 10th-ranked UND and improved to 5-1-1 in its last seven games against North Dakota.

“We came into this series in control of our own destiny, we leave it in control of our own destiny,” Hakstol said. “There’s no easy path here.”

Both teams head into the final weekend of the regular season with 42 points. North Dakota plays host to Western Michigan for two games to close out the year and St. Cloud State travels to Colorado College.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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