The sequence of events all started in the first period.
UND senior forward Dixon Bowen rushed the puck up the right side and tried to dangle a Canisius defenseman.
The defenseman lined up Bowen and went for a big hit.
"I think he was trying to take my head off," Bowen said.
Instead, he connected with Bowen's stick and sent it flying about 10 rows into Section 107. The fan caught the stick out of the air, drawing a loud applause from the Ralph Engelstad Arena crowd.
Things were just getting started, though.
UND associate athletic director Erik Martinson, who was sitting in the press box, knew UND had to get that stick back.
So, Martinson went to UND equipment manager Dan Johansson and asked if there was an old Bowen stick that he could grab to trade with the fan for the new one. Johansson found one.
Martinson walked across the arena to Section 107 and told the fan that they were going to trade.
The fan was reluctant at first, but Martinson told him: "There are still a few goals left in that one."
There were, indeed.
The fan agreed to the trade, Bowen got his stick back and proceeded to have a career game with it. He buried two goals as UND toppled Canisius 5-0 in the season opener.
"I better hang onto that one," Bowen said.
Bowen, who scored three goals all of last season, said it was good to get off to a quick start.
"It's nice to be rewarded like that," said Bowen, who played on a line with Jasper Weatherby and Jackson Keane. "I think our line did a good job of battling pucks and working them low in the zone and getting pucks to the net. . . getting them to the house.
"That's been kind of big emphasis this year. Last year, we played a lot on the perimeter. We managed the puck a lot, but we didn't get enough to the middle area of the house. I think even this year, making a little more risky plays sometime even, but just trying to get everything to the house. I think we'll get some more luck with that."
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- Also see: GameCenter - UND 5, Canisius 0
Both of Bowen's goals were scored around the net.
His first one came at 15:08 of the second period. Jackson Keane's shot from the high slot took a long bounce off the end wall. Weatherby picked it up, sent it across the crease to Bowen, who was standing alone and sweeped it in. That goal extended the lead to 2-0.
His second one made it 5-0 and chased Canisius starting goalie Matt Ladd to the bench.
Bowen created a turnover in the defensive zone and carried the puck all the way to the corner in the offensive zone. Weatherby picked it up there, circled the net and sent a centering pass to the top of the crease, where Bowen knocked it five-hole.
"One of his assets -- he has a lot of them -- but one of his assets is his speed as far as gaining zone on entry and possessing the puck," UND coach Brad Berry said. "I thought (his line) did a good job of grinding it down. He executed on a couple of plays. He's a senior and it's great to see when there are a lot of penalties in a game, that line comes out and answers the bell."