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With two goals to beat Minnesota, UND hockey captain Mark Senden 'wears the C for a reason'

Senden's two-goal game was the first of his career.

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UND and Minnesota players mix it up late in the third period Saturday. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

The first part of the UND men's hockey team's Saturday involved a team meeting, group meetings and individual meetings -- discussions centering on accountability and how the Fighting Hawks would respond to a series-opening loss to Minnesota.

Captain Mark Senden was at the forefront of those interactions.

After starting the day talking the talk, Senden walked the walk as UND beat Minnesota 3-2 in the series finale at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Senden recorded the first two-goal game of his college career, netting UND's second and third goals and assisting on the first goal.

Senden never had a two-goal game in his United States Hockey League career with the Fargo Force. His last two-goal game was Dec. 10, 2015, during his senior year playing Minnesota high school hockey at Wayzata when he had two goals in a 2-1 win over Breck.

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"Just knowing my role, you have to walk the walk," Senden said. "You say something, you have to prove to the guys it's not just words. You have to prove it with your actions. You just kind of use that as digging deep and making sure I lead the team the right way by saying stuff but also on the ice playing how we should be."

Senden, who entered the game with 15 career goals in 111 career games, hadn't scored since Oct. 23 against Quinnipiac. It was Senden's biggest offensive performance since a four-assist game last season against Denver.

"A heck of a game," UND forward Gavin Hain said. "We had a tough today after a tough loss yesterday, and he wears the 'C' for a reason. After a game like yesterday, we were very disappointed in ourselves. There wasn't much good that came out of that game. We try to forget about yesterday but we obviously look at what we did and try to learn from that and we know we have a job to do."

After UND fans didn't have much to cheer about Friday night, Senden's line created pressure early and his turnaround shot went into the net off Hain's skate inside the game's first four minutes.

Senden added a power-play goal with a snipe on a rush in the second period and scored at even strength on a tap-in from Connor Ford in the third as the Hawks built a 3-0 advantage.

"Leadership," UND coach Brad Berry said. "That's ultimate leadership. There were a lot of accountability things going on today. That's a guy who steps up in the forefront and says 'Hey, I'm going to lead this team the right way on the ice and he did, scoring a couple of goals tonight ... was huge."

Berry said UND's early offense being fueled by Senden gave the team extra jump, considering the source.

"Senden does everything for us," Berry said. "Five-on-5, 4-on-4, 6-on-5 top, 6-on-5 down, he's in the middle of it. When he's impactful in a situation when you're scoring a couple of goals, it only exponentially increases his value and guys listen. We needed it. It was a situation where we weren't doing things well last night, and he turned it around early tonight."

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UND defender Cooper Moore said Senden had a huge game for UND. The Hawks are 28-5 all-time when Senden scores a point.

"He's our captain," Moore said. "He brings us into battle every single day. It was so great to see him put it in the back of the net twice tonight. It was to see him rolling like that."

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