OMAHA, Neb. -- Ethan Frisch discovered a huge problem before Saturday afternoon's game.

Urko Pinto, Phil Keane and Lucius Feeney were not in their spots -- in the front row, on the aisle, behind the net -- in Baxter Arena.

Frisch, UND's sophomore defenseman, rushed into the locker room to alert the players.

UND goaltender Harrison Feeney instantly jumped up and took matters into his own hands. As the team conducted off-ice warmups before their showdown against No. 3 Minnesota Duluth, Feeney crawled into the stands, tracked down Ukro, Phil and Lucius and guided them to their seats.

So, who are they?

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Urko is Shane Pinto's 14-year-old pug.

Phil is Jackson Keane's 4-year-old English Mastiff.

Lucius is Feeney's 3-year-old bulldog.

They are among the 250 cardboard cutouts in Baxter Arena for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Pod. All three dogs were sent by the players' family members.

Originally, the dogs were spread out around the arena, but the players decided they should be sitting together. And instead of leaving an open seat in between the cutouts like the rest of those in the arena, they're sitting right next to each other.

"I can't remember what game it was after, but we just came off a loss," said Pinto, who is tied as the leading scorer in the Pod. "Me and Jackson and Feens thought maybe we should put them together for good luck. It's been working. They've been a good-luck charm.

"Every warmup, me and Scheeler (goalie Adam Scheel) always go say 'what's up' to them. We make sure, before the game starts, to give them a quick, 'what's up?' It's been working. It's been good to see them."

UND has won three games in a row and enters Sunday night's game against Miami, its last in the Pod, with an opportunity to leave Omaha in first place in the league.

UND will be designated as the road team for that game, which means they'll shoot at the net on the dogs' end in the first and third periods.

What are the chances Pinto or Keane will celebrate with their dogs if they score in that net?

"I'd say probably 100 percent," Keane said.

"If I do score, I will," Pinto said. "It's the last game. I probably won't get that opportunity again. I'll try to celey with the dog."

Pups remind North Dakota players of their family and friends cheering for them back home while the team plays in the NCHC Pod in Omaha. Tyler Schank / Forum News Service
Pups remind North Dakota players of their family and friends cheering for them back home while the team plays in the NCHC Pod in Omaha. Tyler Schank / Forum News Service

About the dogs

Phil is a movie star and is used to the spotlight.

He was in the movie, 'A Dog's Journey,' which was released in 2019.

Phil, who was adopted by the Keane family from the Humane Society in Winnipeg, successfully auditioned for the part after a couple casting calls. So, being the center of attention in Omaha shouldn't bother him.

Urko, who lives with the Pinto family in Franklin Square, N.Y., is the old man of the group.

"He's definitely up there," Pinto said. "But he's plugging away."

Lucius lives in Grand Forks with Feeney, Keane, Scheel and Gavin Hain. Harrison got Lucius when he was playing junior hockey for Lone Star in the North American Hockey League.

"It's pretty funny," Keane said. "And I think it's even funnier now that they're sitting together."