Sophomore center Mark MacMillian scored two goals and older brother Mitch MacMillian sniped one goal in North Dakota's 4-2 victory over Bemidji State in front of a sellout of 11,944.
Keeping with the Big Mac theme, senior defenseman Andrew MacMillian chipped in with a two-assist game, his second in the last four games.
The victory, to open a weekend two-game series, vaulted UND (13-6-6 WCHA) into second place in the WCHA race, three points behind league-leading St. Cloud State and now one point ahead of Minnesota, which lost at home 2-0 to Denver, with three games to go for most teams.
For Mark MacMiillan, who added an assist for setting up his brother's goal, it marked his second straight three-point game.
What officially is the game-winning goal went to senior defenseman Joe Gleason, who banked a point shot off the skate of a BSU defenseman in the third period to put UND ahead 3-1 with his fifth goal of the season.
Mark MacMillian, a transfer from St. Cloud State, came in with a reputation of a player with a big and accurate shot.
He showed that off when he capped a 3-on-2 rush by taking brother Mitch's feed on left wing and beating BSU goalie Andrew Walsh with a hard wrist shot to the short side at 2:42 of the third period, snapping a 1-1 tie and putting UND ahead to stay.
"The chemistry is starting to come back a little more and more every game, so it should be good,'' Mitch MacMillan said of being matched on a line with his brother again. The two played together extensively in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.
On his goal, Mitch MacMillan said, "I had a lot of time, and just picked a spot.''
BSU struck first on Cory Ward's goal 5:39 into the second period, but UND answered 15 seconds later when Mark MacMillian drove hard to the net, knocked over Walsh, and then deposited his own rebound over Walsh. The play was reviewed by the officials, but stood up.
BSU turned it into a grinding game with not a whole lot of flow for two periods until UND broke loose in the third period when Mitch MacMillian's goal seemed to fire up the offense.
"To go into the third period in this building tied 1-1, to me that's where we wanted them at that particular time,'' BSU coach Tom Serratore said. "Obviously the second and third goals were killers.''
The fact that losses by Minnesota and Nebraska Omaha helped UND in the standings tonight wasn't what mattered.
"We haven't worried about the standings all year and we're not going to start now,'' UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "I don't care if there's one game, three games, whatever's left. We're just going to worry about ourselves.''
There wasn't a lot of offensive flow on either side for much of the game. Serratore labeled it a "turf war.''
Said Hakstol: "Every game is different. We played pretty hard tonight, Guys dug down deep. I thought we were a bit sluggish the first 10 minutes, but after that, we dug down deep and played the type of game we had to against a good team and we generated a win.''
The sniper goal by Mitch MacMillian didn't surprise Hakstol. "Mitch does that well,'' he said. "We see that day-after-day in practice. He didn't have a lot of room, but he made no mistake.''
Gleason's goal was originally credited to freshman Rocco Grimaldi as it appeared the puck might have hit his stick on Gleason's right point shot. When officials examined the replay, though, the goal was changed to Gleason.
"I still don't know who scored it, to be honest with you,'' Gleason said after the game. "Either way, I wasn't shooting it at the net. I was shooting at Rocco's stick.''
But the skate of a BSU defenseman served the purpose for a 3-1 lead and ultimately the victory, boosting UND;s overall record to 18-9-6. Bemidji, tied for 10th in the WCHA, dropped to 5-14-6 in league play and 6-18-7 overall. UND is 17-1-1 all-time in games against the Beavers in Grand Forks.
UND NOTES: UND senior Danny Kristo, who shares the team scoring lead with linemate Corban Knight, picked up his first career point against BSU in his seventh game against the Beavers when he assisted on Gleason's goal. It was also his 100th career WCHA point . . . Grimaldi and senior center Carter Rowney led UND in shots on goal with four each . . . 1987 Hobey Baker Award winner Tony Hrkac was in attendance as was Dixon Ward, the only UND player to finish his career with more than 100 goals and 100 assists.