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'Garbage goal' gets UND tie with Union

UND's Colton Poolman scores in the first period as Union goalie Jake Kupsky looks on.photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 4
UND players Andrew Peski (4) and Cole Smith (26) chase the puck with Union players Connor Light (22) and Josh Kosack in the second period Saturday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 4
UND's Austin Poganski gives former UND great Zach Parise the puck after a ceremonial puck drop Saturday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald3 / 4
UND's Nick Jones and Union goalie Jake Kupsky collide in the second period Saturday. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald4 / 4

After the second period, Shane Gersich put his stick in the garbage just outside the locker room.

Why?

"I wanted a garbage goal," Gersich said.

Believe it or not, it worked.

Gersich scored a rebound goal with 3:18 to go in regulation to even the game and help UND gain a 2-2 tie with Union on Saturday in front of 11,289 in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The late goal helped UND avoid the program's first three-game losing streak since November 2013 and salvage something out of Thanksgiving weekend.

Colton Poolman, who had UND's other goal, started the game-tying goal by entering the zone on the right side on a three-on-two rush. Poolman sent a pass to Rhett Gardner on the left side. Gersich drove the middle.

"We work on those every day," Gersich said. "I was the middle guy. All I had to do is drive the net. Colton made a good play to Rhett. Rhett shot it and all I had to do is tap it in."

Gersich put the rebound five-hole on Union goalie Jake Kupsky, who finished the weekend stopping 44 of 47 shots.

Although UND managed to grab the tie, the Fighting Hawks (8-4-4) lost a series for the first time this season.

Union, which started the season 0-5, improved to 8-1-1 since then.

The Fighting Hawks, who were perturbed by their poor start in Friday's 4-1 loss, got things off on the right foot Saturday.

For starters, UND great Zach Parise—now with the NHL's Minnesota Wild—returned to campus and dropped the opening puck, getting a roar from the crowd as he walked to center ice and waved to the fans.

Then, UND pressured Union from the start and jumped out to a 1-0 lead with Poolman took a pass from Ludvig Hoff, walked around Union defender Greg Campbell and roofed a shot from in tight on Kupsky.

"A lot better than last night's game," Berry said. "It all started with our better start tonight. I thought we had emotion, we had energy. I thought we started the game the right way. The process was that we wanted to make sure we played a total 60 minute game. We were short of that probably close to a minute, where we gave up two goals, but again, we'll take that and move forward to next week.

"You know what? That's a great team over there. That's a really good team. They're hard. They're heavy. There's not a lot of room out there. They're going to win a lot of games in their conference."

The Dutchmen scored two goals in the span of 22 seconds at the start of the third period to take the lead.

Brett Supinski, who has a point in all but two games this season, deked UND goalie Peter Thome on top of the crease after getting past defenseman Casey Johnson at 1:56.

On the next shift, a blocked Cole Maier shot ended up on the tape of Ryan Scarfo on top of the crease. Scarfo moved the puck to his backhand and scored to make it 2-1.

"Give them credit," Poolman said. "You knew they were going to come back, and they came back with a hard, heavy game. They weren't going to let us just walk in and win."

UND was forced to kill back-to-back penalties—Thome made a couple of outstanding saves to keep it a one-goal game—before getting the tying goal.

UND now has two series left before Christmas break.

It hosts Western Michigan next weekend, then travels to No. 2 St. Cloud State the following weekend.

When asked if UND may have a few more players back in the lineup next weekend—it played without forward Joel Janatuinen (illness, two-game absence), forward Dixon Bowen (lower body, three-game absence), forward Trevor Olson (upper body, eight-game absence) and goaltender Cam Johnson (lower body, eight-game absence)—Berry said: "Oh yeah. Oh yeah."

But, Berry added, "This is an organization that doesn't hang its hat on who's in the lineup or who's not in the lineup. I thought for the most part, we did a good job tonight. We didn't get the win, we got the tie. We'll move forward and learn from it. We learned a lot from our group tonight."

Notes: UND only made one personnel change for the series finale, moving sophomore defenseman Casey Johnson in the lineup for Matt Kiersted. . . Union made one change, going with Josh Kosack on the second line in place of rookie Jack Adams, a Detroit Red Wings draft pick.

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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