College Hockey: UND’s Season Ends in NCHC Tournament

North Dakota defeated UMD in third place game, but fell in PairWise Rankings

ST. PAUL, Minn. (UND Athletics) — After a 4-1 victory over Minnesota Duluth in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff third-place game, North Dakota was in a celebratory mood inside its locker room, having snapped an eight-game losing skid against the Bulldogs.

Just three hours later, with the Fighting Hawks aboard their bus back to Grand Forks, the celebration was over.

Boston University’s victory over Providence in the Hockey East championship was a fatal blow to UND’s NCAA Tournament hopes, all but assuredly ending UND’s run of 15 consecutive national tournament berths, the second-longest run in the history of the sport. Only Michigan, which qualified 22 years in a row from 1991 to 2012, had a longer streak.

The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will unveil the official tournament bracket on Sunday morning, but the PairWise rankings that mimic the selection process project UND to be on the outside looking in for the first time since 2002.

The Fighting Hawks finished the season with a 17-13-10 record, including a school-record 15 overtime games. Friday night’s overtime loss to St. Cloud State in the Frozen Faceoff semifinals was a critical one, although UND woke up Saturday morning still alive under multiple scenarios and righted the ship with an efficient victory over the eighth-ranked Bulldogs.

Senior goaltender Cam Johnson stopped 27 of 28 shots and forwards Austin Poganski and Ludvig Hoff each provided a goal and an assist in the victory.

Poganski got things going for UND 7:22 into the first period, firing a 2-on-1 wrister from the circle past UMD goalie Hunter Shepard for his first goal in 10 games.

Junior Joel Janatuinen knocked home a rebound 7:09 into the second period to make it a 2-0 UND lead and the Fighting Hawks locked down the lead from there.

The Bulldogs found themselves in penalty trouble in the final minutes of the third period, quelling any hope of a UMD rally. UMD’s Nick Wolff was assessed a 5-minute major and game misconduct for kneeing UND’s Nick Jones and Shane Gersich took advantage with a power-play goal to make it 3-0 with 4:09 remaining in regulation.

Mikey Anderson was able to score a short-handed goal, and snap Johnson’s shutout bid with 3:33 left, but Hoff got that goal right back on the power play with :56 seconds left, his first goal since Dec. 1.

UND outshot the Bulldogs 31-28, with 12 of those coming during its five power-play opportunities. The Hawks finished 2-5 with the man advantage and killed all three Minnesota Duluth chances.

The NCAA selection show airs on Sunday at 11 a.m. Central on ESPNU.

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