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NCHC suspends Gabe Bast for series finale vs. Colorado College

UND defenseman Gabe Bast has been suspended one game by the National Collegiate Hockey Conference for an illegal hit to the head on Colorado College forward Alex Berardinelli on Friday night.

Bast will be forced to sit out tonight’s series finale against the Tigers at 7:07 p.m. in Ralph Engelstad Arena and will return for next weekend’s series at Omaha.

The illegal hit came three minutes into the third period Friday. Berardinelli was skating with the puck in the neutral zone when Bast stepped up on the play to make a big hit. Bast’s elbow connected with Berardinelli’s head and the Tiger forward dropped to the ice. He had to be helped off by teammates and an athletic trainer. Berardinelli did not return to the game.

Bast was called for a five-minute major for contact to the head and was ejected.

Colorado College’s Chris Wilkie, a UND transfer, scored on the major power play to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead, but the Fighting Hawks rallied for a 4-3 overtime victory.

With Bast out of the lineup and freshman defenseman Jonny Tychonick sidelined with a lower-body injury, UND’s coaching staff will have to decide whether to play junior Casey Johnson or sophomore Josh Rieger as the sixth defenseman.

Johnson is naturally a defenseman, but was moved to forward at the end of last season. He hasn’t played a game at defense in almost a calendar year. The last time was Jan. 20, 2018, against Minnesota Duluth in AmsOil Arena. UND lost that game 5-2.

Rieger has played three games in total this season. Two of the three were at defense -- both against the University of Denver in December.

UND also played Friday night’s game without forward Grant Mismash, forward Joel Janatuinen and goalie Peter Thome, and won’t have any healthy scratches for the series finale if all of those players remain out.

Bast is the second UND player to be suspended in just over a month.

Defenseman Matt Kiersted was suspended for one game in December for a spearing major at the end of the third period against Denver. Kiersted missed Saturday night’s series finale and UND lost that game in overtime.

The Fighting Hawks have been called for an NCHC-leading seven game misconducts this season (Dixon Bowen two, Kiersted one, Bast one, Mismash one, Jordan Kawaguchi one, Rhett Gardner one).

Omaha has six game misconducts, followed by Minnesota Duluth (four), Western Michigan (four), Miami (three), St. Cloud State (three), Denver (two) and Colorado College (zero).

Any player who is called for three game misconducts in a season receives an NCAA-mandated one-game suspension.

UND’s Bowen, Omaha’s Ryan Galt and Minnesota Duluth’s Nick Wolff have two.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 14th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman 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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