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MEN'S HOCKEY: UND dishes out historical beat down in 9-2 victory over Miami

UND's Mark MacMillan collides with Miami goalie Ryan McKay early in the first period Saturday at REA. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 4
UND's Dillon Simpson scores the sixth goal as Miami goalie Jay Williams looks on in the second period Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 4
UND's Colten St. Clair skates away from Miami's Matthew Caito Saturday night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald3 / 4
Miami's Ben Paulides (28) goalie Ryan McKay and Matt Joyaux look to keep the puck away from UND's Mark MacMillan Saturday night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald4 / 4

UND had two goals disallowed in the first period Saturday.

Not even that could keep UND from dishing out a historical beat down on Saturday night.

Nick Mattson scored twice and Jordan Schmaltz, Colten St. Clair, Rocco Grimaldi, Keaton Thompson, Drake Caggiula, Dillon Simpson and Brendan O’Donnell all added one goal as UND crushed Miami 9-2, handing the RedHawks their most lopsided defeat in the 15-year tenure of coach Enrico Blasi.

UND scored eight times in the opening 33 minutes of the game, then set things on cruise control as the team improved to 12-2-1 in the last 15 games.

“We were ready to play,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “We had a great start. We had a couple of disallowed goals in the first period, but it didn’t really seem to matter what happened the last shift. We were ready to play the next shift. I thought that was the real key to that period. Everybody was ready to play.”

UND (16-9-3, 11-7 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) moved into second place alone in the NCHC standings, three points back of leader St. Cloud State.

“It’s just that time of year where it’s put up or shut up time,” Mattson said. “Every night, if you lose, you’re going to be in third-to-last place. If you win, you’re going to be in first. It’s insane. We just want to make sure to control our own destiny. We played strong.

“Credit that to the adversity we went through at the beginning of the year. We learned some lessons the hard way, but we’re starting to see some dividends pay off now.”

The preseason favorite RedHawks continued their shocking freefall. The last time Miami (10-15-3, 4-13-1 NCHC) lost by seven goals was January of 1997 at Michigan State.

“There were a lot of things that didn’t go our way tonight,” said Blasi, whose team sits in last place in the standings. “They deserved to win from the moment the puck dropped and they didn’t let off the gas.”

A total of 14 players ended up on the scoresheet. Grimaldi led the way with a goal and three assists. Mattson had two goals and an assist. O’Donnell, Paul LaDue, Michael Parks and Mark MacMillan also had two-point games for UND.

UND led the game 4-1 after the first and 8-1 after the second.

“I thought we had great jump from the start, all the way through the first period,” Grimaldi said. “Every line was building momentum every time they were on the ice. Things were going our way. It was just one of those games.”

It marked UND’s most goals since March 2011 against Michigan Tech. And it may have been a bit of a surprise coming from a team that only scored 10 goals in a five-game span earlier this season, including a contest against the RedHawks in Oxford, Ohio.

But this is a different UND team that’s once again peaking in the second half under Hakstol. In his 10 years at the helm, UND is .700 after Christmas.

MacMillan and Parks, a pair of juniors who struggled at times in the first half with injuries, now have 27 points in their last 10 games. Since being moved on a line with Caggiula two weeks ago, that unit has 20 points in four games.

Goalie Zane Gothberg also returned to health and played his first game since Jan. 18 against Bemidji State. Gothberg stopped 27 of 29 shots and improved to 9-0-1 with a 1.79 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in his last 10 starts.

UND’s defensive corps also had a strong game, accounting for five of the nine goals. LaDue registered a plus-six rating in the game.

“We haven’t had many third periods where we were able to go out and play and have fun and still play the game the right way,” Hakstol said.

Now, focus turns to road series at Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State.

“The score doesn’t matter,” Hakstol said. “It’s three critical points for us. It’s a series win for us in terms of the season series. Now, we have to move on from this and go on the road.”

Notes: UND and Miami both used identical lineups as Friday night. . . Miami defenseman Taylor Richart registered a minus-six rating on his birthday. . . UND went 2-for-5 on the power play.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 12th 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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