DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — North Dakota has owned the ice at Minnesota Duluth’s AMSOIL Arena since 2010. But the Bulldogs took a step toward reclaiming home ice on Friday with a 5-2 National Collegiate Hockey Conference win over the Fighting Hawks.
Alex Iafallo scored three goals and assisted on another goal as second-ranked Minnesota Duluth dominated top-ranked North Dakota in the first of a two-game series.
UMD goalie Hunter Miska made 24 stops to hand the Fighting Hawks their first loss of the season. He allowed goals just two minutes apart in the second but was unbeatable for most of the night.
“I felt really good tonight,” Miska said. “We knew it would be a hard game, No. 1 and 2 in the country. It was a big night.”
UND missed on three power plays in the first period as the Bulldogs got out to an early lead.
“It was a little sloppy on our end. . It was a tough game to watch, especially early on,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “We turned over some pucks and they came back the other way.”
UND (5-1-0, 0-1-0) had been 6-1 while outshooting UMD 27-8 in Duluth since spoiling the Bulldogs’ arena debut six years ago. UMD outshot the Hawks 38-26 on Friday.
Playing on the road for the first time this season, UND fell behind 3-0 before rallying to get within 3-2 after two periods.
“We’re normally a fast team but we didn’t play with pace the first period,” Berry said.
Iaffalo scored in each period, including an open-net goal in the third. UMD led 3-0 late in the second period.
Iaffalo’s power-play goal on a tipped shot by Adam Johnson at 5:16 of the first period gave UMD (4-1-2, 1-0-0 NCHC) a 1-0 lead. It was the Bulldogs’ first goal against UND at home since Feb. 22, 2014.
Johnson got his own goal at 5:48 of the second period when he stuffed his own rebound under the pads of North Dakota goalie Cam Johnson.
“I actually just put it on net,” Johnson said. “I saw a little opening and the goalie was off the pipes so I tried to bank it in and got lucky.”
At 7:04, Iafallo scored his second goal on a rush to give UMD a 3-0 lead.
North Dakota finally got on the board at 17:17 of the second period when Rhett Gardner scored over a sprawling Miska. UND had been 0-for-5 on the power play before Gardner’s goal.
UND’s Shane Gersich scored on a breakaway with just 44 seconds left in the second period to make it a 3-2 game.
“We had a good start but a couple of big mistakes cost us bad,” Adam Johnson said.
But a mistake proved just as costly to UND in the third. The Bulldogs’ Neal Pionk scored through traffic on a power play to make it a 4-2 lead at 8:32. Johnson, who made 33 saves, never saw the shot.
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