GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- There's a quote in the movie "Forrest Gump'' where Forrest delivers this famous line: "My mama always said: Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.''
That certainly applied to the UND hockey team tonight at a sold-out Ralph Engelstad Arena in a stunning 6-3 National Collegiate Hockey Conference loss to the red-hot Miami RedHawks.
Miami ran its winning streak to five games by erasing a 3-1 deficit in the third period with a 5-goal burst that left the Fighting Hawks searching for answers.
It was the first time in 83 games dating back to 2013 that UND lost a game when leading after two periods. UND had been 77-0-5 until the roof caved in tonight. It was also the first time UND had allowed five goals in one period since an 8-4 home loss to Omaha on Jan. 21, 2010.
It was Friday the 13th, no doubt, for UND, which came into the series riding a 3-game unbeaten streak and coing off a series sweep at Omaha last weekend.
A goal just 32 seconds into the third period by Anthony Louis of the RedHawks touched off the Miami barrage.
From 14:23 of the second period when UND led 3-1, Miami outshot the Fighting Hawks 16-1 when freshman wing Karch Bachman scored at 7:49 of the third period to put Miami ahead to stay at 4-3. His goal drove UND starting goalie Cam Johnson (21 saves) from the game. His replacement, sophomore Matej Tomek, making his first varsity appearance for UND, gave up the final two goals on the five shots he faced.
It continued a troubling trend at home, where UND is now 1-4-2 in its last 7 home games and 6-4-2 overall.
The loss dropped UND from seventh to 10th in the pairwise rankings, which mimick the system to pick the 16-team NCAA field in March. It also cost UND a chance to move up, with Harvard, Minnesota Duluth and Denver, all three ranked ahead of UND, also losing.
Christian Wolanin's third goal in two games gave UND a 1-1 tie after one period.
When Miami defensemen Jared Brandt and Louie Belpedio took minor penalties at the same time at 2:16 of the second period, UND cashed in. Brock Boeser roofed a one-time slap shot over the shoulder of Miami goalie Ryan Larkin on the power play at 2:48, and Shane Gersich sniped a wrist shot to the short side for a 3-1 lead just four seconds after the second penalty expired.
Gerisch ran his point streak to seven games with his team-leading 16th goal.
But the ice flipped in Miami's favor late in the second period and well into the third to leave a crowd of 11,748 stunned into silence.
Carson Meyer, Ryan Siroky and Belpedio scored Miami's other goals in the third period. It continued the inconsistent play of UND this season, with the Hawks dropping to 5-5-1-1 in the NCHC and 12-7-3 overall.
"That's the thing we've been talking about is consistency,'' Boeser said, "and we didn't have it tonight.''
UND coach Brad Berry tracked the downfall to late in the second period.
"The last five minutes of the second period, we got away from what we were doing,'' he said. "Early in that period, we were out-chancing them, I thought we had some OZP (offensive zone pressure) on them, then we got away from that. We tried to play lateral, we didn't get pucks in, and they got momentum the last five minutes of the second period -- and it carried over to the third.''
UND won the draw to start the third period, but lost everything else.
"They chipped it out and skated right through us,'' Berry said. "That's not us'.''
Louis started the rally for the RedHawks 32 seconds into the period to chop UND's lead to 3-2. His initial shot pinballed off a UND defenseman, and Louis batted the puck toward the net with his hand. He swung at the puck with his stick as it slid toward Johnson, but appeared to miss the puck. After a lengthy video review, however, the goal was deemed good, and Miami's major rally steamrolled from there.
But all that tracked back to UND getting away from its game the last few minutes of the second period while holding a 3-1 lead.
"When you have a two-goal lead, you have to do all the right things,'' Berry said. "Advance pucks, get pucks deep, play strong defensively, keep numbers in front of you,'' he said. "And we didn't do that tonight.''
"We've got to figure this out,'' Boeser said, "and not let that happen ever again.''
Game notes: Boeser, Rhett Gardner and Joel Janatuinen all finished minus-4 for UND in the plus/minus ratings ... Defenseman Tucker Poolman and Wolanin led UND in shots on goal with five each ... UND was 1-6 on the power play with 11 shots, Miami 1-6 with four shots ... Named the three stars by the media were Miami's Carson Meyer, Josh Melnick and Kiefer Sherwood, in that order.
Virg Foss covered UND for the Grand Forks Herald for 35 seasons, including 5 NCAA championships, prior to his retirement in 2005. He's in his 12th year of reporting on UND home games exclusively for UNDsports.com.