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TOM MILLER: Junior Michael Parks must be on a hot streak

Michael Parks must be on a hot streak.

The physical junior forward scored on a shot that left the ice.

Parks, who has developed a reputation for scoring goals right at the crease, flipped a backhand home on a rush to spark North Dakota’s 4-2 win over Nebraska Omaha on Friday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

“That’s not typical,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “But what was typical was his strong hands and strong stick on that play.”

No matter the style, Parks has been a consistent presence in the box score for UND, which is on a hot streak of its own.

The team’s second leading scorer, Parks has scored in three of the team’s last four games. In January, the St. Louis native led North Dakota in points (six) and goals (four) in six games during the month. He also tied for the team lead among forwards at a plus-4 rating.

“I think it’s just been me playing with speed and keeping it simple,” said Parks, who scored 35 seconds into the third period. “Pucks are going in right now.”

Parks has 27 career goals now, with about a half dozen of those coming on wraparounds. The goal against the Mavericks might be the first time he’s beaten a goalie over the shoulder in his college career.

Actually, Parks was involved in two of UND’s prettiest plays against UNO as he assisted on Mark MacMillan’s second-period goal. The play was set up by slick passing between Parks, Drake Caggiula and MacMillan.

“I score when I get to the crease and that paint area,” Parks said. “My goals are usually on the ice, but they all count the same.”

Hakstol likes the way Parks has played during this recent stretch.

“He’s playing with pace to his game,” Hakstol said. “I’m not trying to oversimplify it. When he’s doing that, everything else falls into line.”

Parks and MacMillan were joined on a line by Caggiula for the first time on Friday. The lineup shuffle appeared to be a success in the series opener.

“Those guys had a good night offensively,” Hakstol said. “Drake made a great play to create that first goal (MacMillan’s goal to tie it at 1-1).”

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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