DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Goalie Cam Johnson might be the only North Dakota player not happy with the upcoming holiday break.
Johnson made 38 saves as the fourth-ranked Fighting Hawks beat Minnesota Duluth 3-0 Saturday to finish the first half of the season on a six-game winning streak.
Johnson’s third straight shutout extended his scoreless streak to 218 minutes and 38 seconds since Grant Arnold scored for Denver at 1:22 of the second period four games ago.
Johnson made 40 saves in Friday’s 3-0 win.
“He was heavily tested last night, but there was a couple of instances tonight,” Fighting Hawks coach Brad Berry said. “He had to make some tough saves in critical situations.”
North Dakota (16-2-2, 9-1-0 National Collegiate hockey Conference) scored two power-play goals goals in just 31 seconds in the second period. Brock Boeser and Tucker Poolman had goals.
Luke Johnson scored into an empty net in the third period.
For the second straight game, Minnesota Duluth (7-7-3, 4-5-1) outshot UND by a substantial margin. The Bulldogs had a 38-20 advantage.
Minnesota Duluth goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo made 17 saves.
With 13:04 left in the second period, the Bulldogs’ Andy Welinski took a crucial checking from behind penalty for running North Dakota’s Joel Janatuinen into the boards. Welinski was ejected and the Fighting Hawks scored twice on the five-minute power play. That was all Johnson needed.
Poolman opened the scoring with a shot from tip of right circle at 10:39.
“We got to utilize him more in that situation. He’s got a rocket, and it’s pretty accurate too,” Berry said.
Boeser scored 31 seconds later, walking in and beating Kaskisuo with a backhander from the bottom of the left circle at 11:10. It was the freshman’s 13th goal of the season.
Johnson’s scoreless streak appeared to end with 21 seconds left in the second period, but the goal by Parker Mackay was waved off due to a high stick.
For the second straight night, the Bulldogs pulled Kaskisuo with more than three minutes to play for an extra attacker.
And they wound up on a 6-on-4 power play when North Dakota’s Luke Johnson scored short-handed.
Berry’s first half is one of the best by a coach in Fighting Hawks history. The team’s start is its best since going 19-2-2 in 2003-04.
“If you would have looked three months ago to see where we are now, people probably wouldn’t have bet on us. It just speak to our culture. It’s just man-for-man guys stepping up.”
North Dakota is off until Jan. 1.
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