UND ties up home ice for 16th straight season
GRAND FORKS — The University of North Dakota has more home hockey left.
Although it gave up a two-goal lead in the third period and made its fans sweat it out, the 2-2 tie with No. 1 St. Cloud State Saturday Night, March 3, was enough to secure fourth place in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings and earn another home weekend.
UND will host Omaha next weekend in a best-of-three series.
The Fighting Hawks were able to get home ice with the tie coupled with Minnesota Duluth's win over Omaha.
Grant Mismash and Rhett Gardner scored power-play goals in the first and second periods, while defenseman Christian Wolanin added two assists.
Gardner tacked on a three-on-three goal to get an extra point in the standings, but by then, the standings had already been set.
UND finished the regular season 14-12-10, playing in a school-record 13 overtime games in one season.
St. Cloud State finished the regular season 22-6-6, winning the Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champs.
UND converted on a power play five minutes into the game to take an early lead.
Wolanin had the puck at the point and launched a shot toward the net. It hit Mismash's leg in the high slot and the rookie forward picked it up, turned around and fired it past St. Cloud State goalie David Hrenak's right leg to make it 1-0.
UND held the one-goal lead at the first intermission, despite having several Grade-A chances, including three posts in the first eight minutes.
The Fighting Hawks added to the lead late in the second, converting another power play. Defenseman Colton Poolman got the puck to Wolanin in the right circle and Wolanin threaded a pass through a maze of St. Cloud State sticks to get it to Rhett Gardner in the opposite circle. Gardner collected the puck and fired it past Hrenak's glove at 14:49 to make it 2-0.
St. Cloud State got back in the game, converting on its fourth power-play chance of the game with Cole Smith in the box for tripping.
Forward Robby Jackson held the puck at the top of the left circle and spotted Ryan Poehling in the slot. Poehling perfectly re-directed Jackson's pass just inside the post for his third goal of the weekend just 2:42 into the third.
Then, the Huskies tied it at 9:22, moments after a St. Cloud State power play expired. Defenseman Jack Ahcan got the puck to Grand Forks Red River's Jacob Benson in the slot and Benson sniped the stick-side corner of the net to even it.