Grand Forks, N.D. – North Dakota captain Mark Senden had one goal this season. Until Saturday night, that is.
Senden scored twice and added an assist as the No. 6 Fighting Hawks edged the No. 11 Gophers 3-2 at Ralph Engelstad Arena for a nonconference series split before a second consecutive sellout crowd announced at 11,617. Minnesota won the opener 5-1, no doubt embarrassing the home team before all their rabid fans.
"I'm disappointed in how we came to play tonight. That's the nuts and bolts of it," Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. "You have to come ready to play. We did not come with the right jump tonight, and they did."
North Dakota (10-5) led the second game from the start. Senden, the captain on Wayzata High's 2016 Class 2A state championship team, got his first goal at 13:37 of the second period on a power play and scored again at 5:53 of the third to make it 3-0.
Coming into the game he had scored once on 23 shots on goal and had three assists. He almost doubled his season points total this game.
"Really good effort by a lot of guys,'' UND coach Brad Berry said. "[Friday] night for the first couple periods, we were slow, we didn't move, we were stationary. Tonight, we checked all over the ice. I thought we did a good job of tracking and playing as a five-man unit, together, not having spaces in our game.''
The Gophers (9-7), who had a season-low 13 shots, mounted a late comeback. Ben Meyers scored on a power play at 7:25 and Chaz Lucius, with goalie Jack LaFontaine (23 saves) out for an extra attacker, scored with 3:30 to play to get Minnesota within 3-2.
UND goalie Zach Driscoll needed to make only 11 saves and his teammates blocked 13.
"Yesterday we played a little timid," Senden said, "and we weren't playing hard on them. We weren't playing with much confidence."
That changed the second game after the Fighting Hawks held a series of team and group meetings Saturday afternoon.
Senden led his team "the right way on the ice," Berry said.