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UND strikes back to blank Gophers 4-0

Minnesota's Jack Glover is called for a 5 minute major penalty and a game disqualification after checking North Dakota's Collin Adams into the boards from behind in the first period Saturday in Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 5
North Dakota's Nick Jones celebrates his first goal as a Fighting Hawk with linemates as UND scored first Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 5
North Dakota goalie Cam Johnson shoves Minnesota's Brannon McManus in the third period Saturday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald3 / 5
North Dakota players Grant Mismash and Casey Johnson collide in the third period against Minnesota. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald4 / 5
Minnesota goalie Eric Schierhorn looks at the scoreboard while Ralph Engelstad Arena personnel pick up three dead gophers that were tossed on the ice after North Dakota scored the first goal of the game Saturday in Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald5 / 5

Christian Wolanin and Cam Johnson didn't grow up watching the North Dakota-Minnesota rivalry.

But they know all about it.

"It's showtime," Wolanin said. "We love it. That's why we came so far from home. We wanted to play in games like this."

The two childhood friends from suburban Detroit put their stamp on the rivalry during UND's 4-0 win on Saturday night in front of 11,890 in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Wolanin scored two goals, Cam Johnson posted a 22-save shutout and the Fighting Hawks finally toppled their biggest rival once again.

It was UND's first win over Minnesota since the 2012 Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five semifinals—the famed Dave Hakstol 'Timeout' game, where UND rallied from down 3-0 to win 6-3.

This one didn't have such dramatics, but it did allow the Fighting Hawks to get a series split and end Minnesota's seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) in the rivalry.

Johnson became the first goaltender to blank Minnesota in the span of 48 games, dating back to March 2016, when Michigan State goalie Jake Hildebrand did it.

It was his 10th career shutout, tying him with Jordan Parise and Jean-Philippe Lamoureux for second in program history, trailing only Karl Goehring's 15.

"That one probably feels better than any other one I've had," Johnson said. "Our group played unbelievable. My job, I don't think, was too hard tonight. When they needed me, I was able to make a save. It was a good, all-around effort."

UND took control of the game by scoring three power-play goals on the same five-minute major late in the first period and early in the second to build a 4-0 lead.

Already leading 1-0 on a Nick Jones goal, UND got a major power play after Gopher defenseman Jack Glover was called for checking UND rookie Collin Adams from behind with 1:15 left in the opening frame.

Wolanin one-timed a Gabe Bast feed at 19:19 of the first period to make it 2-0, Colton Poolman ripped a point shot through Trevor Olson and Joel Janatuinen screens at 2:12 of the second and Wolanin buried an Adams feed from the slot at 3:43.

"We shot the puck, finally," Wolanin said of the power play success. "We finally shot the puck and things went the way they were supposed to go. We've been drawing up the right plays, but sometimes, we overcomplicate things. Tonight, it was just, 'Shoot the puck. Let's get it past their great shot blockers.' And we were lucky enough to get a couple."

Although Minnesota played a better all-around game than it did during its 2-1 win on Friday, the Gophers were buried early because of the three consecutive power-play goals.

"It doesn't matter if you play well or not," Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. "It's about winning. We did some things better, but our special teams play was horrendous and just undisciplined penalties."

UND (4-1-1) was terrific on the penalty kill during the weekend. The Gophers were 0-for-12 on the power play for the weekend.

"Our penalty kill was unbelievable again, as they've been all year," Johnson said. "I like to say it's a power kill when we get on the PK."

UND now ranks first nationally in goals allowed per game at 1.17 and second in penalty kill at 96.3 percent (26 of 27).

"I thought our guys came out hard," UND coach Brad Berry said. "We weren't rewarded last night for our effort, but our guys stuck with it. I thought it was key to score early in the game, especially on those power plays."

Berry also said his team handled the rivalry well.

"For a group that doesn't know a lot about the tradition and history, they did a good job," Berry said. "It's a rivalry both sides would admit it's something we have to keep doing. It's great for college hockey. I thought the atmosphere was electric and outstanding in The Ralph this weekend."

Notes: The family of Glenn 'Red' Jarrett—the athletic director who started men's hockey at UND—dropped the ceremonial first puck. . . North Dakota-born Hollywood actor Josh Duhamel attended the game. . . UND put sophomore Zach Yon in the lineup for rookie forward Jordan Kawaguchi. . . Minnesota played without standout freshman Casey Mittelstadt, a first-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres. Lucia said he is week to week. The Gophers also were without injured rookie forward Scott Reedy.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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