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UND blanks the Pioneers

DENVER It seems that nobody can keep Ryan Duncan from scoring goals these days not even when he's standing behind the net. UND's Hobey Baker Award candidate added a pair of goals to his league-leading total Saturday night as the black-clad Sioux ...

DENVER It seems that nobody can keep Ryan Duncan from scoring goals these days not even when he's standing behind the net.

UND's Hobey Baker Award candidate added a pair of goals to his league-leading total Saturday night as the black-clad Sioux men's hockey team cruised to a 3-0 win over Denver in Magness Arena, earning a series split.

Duncan, who has 10 goals and 21 points in the last eight games, continued his brilliance by scoring twice on the power play, including one that he banked off Denver goaltender Peter Mannino from below the goal line.

It's the seventh time Duncan has scored in the last eight games, improving his goal total to 27. That mark is the best in the Western College Hockey Association by seven goals. Duncan also is third in the country, trailing only Niagara's Ted Cook (30) and Northern Michigan's Mike Santorelli (28).

More important, the Sioux moved into fourth place alone in the conference, two points ahead of Colorado College and three ahead of Michigan Tech, which jumped into sixth after sweeping Wisconsin. UND, which is one point behind third-place Denver, can secure home-ice advantage with a split at St. Cloud State next weekend.

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"After a sub-par performance as a team (Friday night), we came back and played with a lot of pride," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "We bounced back and we bounced back well. We had a real complete performance. We played hard and we played composed."

The Sioux (18-12-4, 12-10-4) improved to 11-2-3 since Christmas break by getting another big game from their top line and a solid performance in net from junior Philippe Lamoureux.

Lamoureux stopped 28 saves to earn his second shutout in three games and his third of the season.

"I was more concerned with playing well and getting points (than getting a shutout) because that's what's important," Lamoureux said. "It was a big two points. It was kind of a gut-check pride thing for us. We didn't play very well last night, but I think we really showed what we're made of with that performance. All the way around, everyone played really well."

Besides Duncan, junior defenseman Robbie Bina (two assists) and sophomore forward T.J. Oshie (two assists) also had multi-point nights.

UND's top line, which has 22 goals and 35 assists in the last nine games, got the Sioux on the board at 17:17 of the first period.

Oshie corralled the puck in the left circle and fed Duncan, who was stationed in the right circle. With an open net to look at, Duncan easily buried his 26th goal of the season.

The Sioux then opened up a three-goal lead in the second.

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Junior forward Rylan Kaip scored his third goal of the season at 6:57 on a quick shot from the top of the right circle. Bina made a strong play along the boards to keep the puck in the zone before dumping it to Kaip. Erik Fabian screened Mannino, who was beaten to the stick side.

"Last night, I talked about how we didn't get any scoring from other lines," said Hakstol, whose first line had all three goals Friday. "Tonight, I thought that goal was the key to the hockey game. It was a great play by Bina and Kaip stepped into it and finished off what, in my mind, was the biggest play of the game."

Duncan added to the Sioux lead shortly after Denver's Tom May was ejected for checking Fabian from behind into the boards at 10:40. Already on the power play, UND got an extra attacker on the ice because of a delayed call and took advantage.

The Sioux maintained possession of the puck for a long time before Duncan banked it off Mannino from below the goal line at 11:56.

"More of the same from him," Lamoureux said. "Is it any surprise to anyone? You can't say enough about how well he's playing. You could tell that Denver was making an effort to make it tough on him. Tonight, he took some big hits early, but it didn't stop him."

Notes: Sioux forward Matt Watkins was scratched after he suffered an injury during a first-period collision Friday. Chris VandeVelde replaced Watkins as the center on the second line . . . UND's Chris Porter played his 166th consecutive game Friday. He's one short of tying Quinn Fylling for the school record for career games played. . . . Denver was 0-for-6 on the power play Saturday and 0-for-11 on the weekend. . . . UND improved to 3-0 when wearing the black jerseys.

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