GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Keep it simple. Three little words, 12 letters in all.
On the surface, it doesn't appear to mean much. But tonight at Ralph Engelstad, those three words folded into the play of the University of North Dakota's hockey team made all the difference.
In contrast to Friday night when UND gave up five third-period goals to turn a 3-1 lead into a 6-3 National Collegiate Hockey Conference loss to Miami, the Fighting Hawks simplified their play and earned a split with the RedHawks with a 3-1 victory in front of a sellout of 11,858 fans.
UND held Miami without a shot on goal for the first eight minutes, 30 seconds of the final period in stark contrast to the RedHawks scoring three goals in the first eight minutes the night before.
UND (13-7-3 overall, 6-5-1-1 NCHC) outshot Miami 34-15 overall in securing a win that bumped it up three places to No. 7 in the pairwise rankings, the exact place which it entered the weekend.
"I think the reason why is that we played simple hockey,'' UND coach Brad Berry said. "We didn't to make the perfect pass when it wasn't a pass there. We chipped it out and skated onto it, advanced pucks.''
That style paid early dividends for UND and freshman wing Dixon Bowen. He took a pass chipped ahead to him from fellow rookie Zach Yon, then used his speed to burn around Miami defenseman Colin Sullivan down the left wing, then cut sharply to the net and beat Miami goalie Ryan Larkin (31 saves) 5-hole just three minutes into the game.
It was his fourth goal of the season and third in the last seven games for East Grand Forks Senior High product Bowen. He's the son of Jeff Bowen, a member of the fabled 1987 UND national championship team.
Miami (8-9-5 overall, 4-5-3-1 NCHC) tied it 44 seconds later when Anthony Louis finished off a 2-on-1 break.
But rookie Tyson Jost feathered a pass from junior left wing to Austin Poganski at the opposite side of the net to strike back at 8:24. The 2-on-1 goal gave UND the lead for good at 2-1. It was Poganski's eighth of the year.
A shorthanded goal by sophomore center Rhett Gardner at 4:13 of the third period built the UND lead to 3-1 -- one UND didn't give up this time. The goal was Gardner's first in his last 10 games and his fifth of the year.
The play was set up when Joel Janatuinen stripped the puck from Louis and fed Gardner in the high slot for his wrister blocker side on Larkin.
Bowen said UND learned a costly lesson on Friday night.
"Obviously we had a good start first two periods (Friday), then we let off the gas in the third,'' he said. "This whole season, we've noticed we have to play a full 60 minutes. That's how we have to get it done every night. Tonight we came out and played a full 60 minutes, the way the Sioux play.''
Gardner echoed Bowen's comments.
"Actually not much had to be said,'' Gardner said. "We knew what we did in the third last night wasn't acceptable.''
Score it as mission accomplished tonight. Keep it simple, baby.
"And I thought we were stronger mentally, physically,'' Berry said of UND's contrast in third-period play. "We talked about that after the second period of doing the right things, making them play our game.''
Which was to simplify play.
"I thought what we did was put the puck down below the goal line and we had sustained pressure for lot of the third, line after line,'' Berry said.
The win sets up a big rematch with NCHC leader Minnesota Duluth next weekend in Grand Forks. The Bulldogs swept UND in October in Duluth.
Game notes: The Hawks were 0-5 on the power play with seven shots, Miami 0-4 with three shots ... Junior defenseman Tucker Poolman led UND in shots on goal with six in a strong performance overall. Jost and captain Gage Ausmus had four apiece ... Jost won 15 of 24 faceoffs to give UND an overall 39-33 edge ... Three stars as voted upon by the media were Poganski, Gardner and Bowen, in that order ... UND goalie Cam Johnson faced just 15 shots, stopping 14 ... Berry made two lineup changes from Friday, switching Andrew Peski for Christian Wolanin on defense and subbing Cole Smith on the fourth line for Johnny Simonson.
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.