UND freshman forward Shane Pinto was handed a one-game suspension by the National Collegiate Hockey Conference on Monday for a cross-check during the third period of Saturday's game against Omaha.
Pinto will miss Friday's nationally televised game against Miami in Oxford, Ohio, and be eligible to return for Saturday's series finale.
The penalty happened with 12:52 left in Saturday's game against Omaha in Ralph Engelstad Arena. Pinto and Omaha rookie forward Joey Abate became tangled up near the crease and Abate fell on top of Pinto. After both players got up, Pinto charged at Abate and cross-checked him in the back of the neck.
Pinto was called for a five-minute major and a game misconduct on the play. Abate did not return to the game.
Omaha did not score on the five-minute power play and UND won the game 4-1 to grab a series split.
5 min major for cross-checking. pic.twitter.com/rFopqTcSgN— RecoveringOps (@RecoveringOps) January 12, 2020
It was an uncharacteristic play for a UND team that ranks dead last in penalty minutes in the NCHC (9.2 minutes per game).
UND also ranks last in the NCHC in game misconduct penalties. Pinto, who had only been called for one minor penalty since Thanksgiving, gave UND its second game misconduct of the season. Cole Smith also was called for one in Denver in November. Smith hasn't been called for a penalty in the 10 games since then.
What will UND do with its lineup?
The suspension means UND will be without one of its top offensive threats Friday.
Pinto is tied for the team lead in goals with 10. Only one freshman in the nation has more goals than Pinto. Wisconsin's Cole Caufield, a first-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens, has 13.
Pinto, a second-round pick of the Ottawa Senators, has been particularly hot as of late.
He has tallied eight goals in his last nine games and is coming off of a starring role with Team USA in the World Junior Championship. Pinto finished first in goals (four) and second in points (seven) on the American squad, which did not medal.
Pinto had been centering UND's second line with Westin Michaud on the left wing and either Judd Caulfield or Jasper Weatherby on the right wing.
In his absence, it's likely that UND will move Weatherby to center Michaud's line, which is what the Fighting Hawks did when Pinto was at the World Juniors in the Czech Republic.
No. 1 UND at Miami
When: 5:30 p.m. Friday, 6:05 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Goggin Ice Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
TV: CBS Sports Network on Friday only.
Webcast: NCHC.tv on Saturday only.
Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).