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Sophomore Mark MacMillan celebrates his shorthanded goal with 2:26 remaining.
Saunders, UND blank host Huskies in Friday win
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Updated: Thursday 11/10/2012 18:56:23 (ET)
by Jayson Hajdu, UND Athletic Media Relations
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ST. CLOUD, Minn. - For more than a decade, North Dakota has been unable to secure a Friday night victory at the National Hockey and Event Center. Tonight, UND put a resounding end to that skid by defeating No. 15 St. Cloud State for the program's first Friday night victory here since the 1998-99 season.

Sixth-ranked UND relied on shutout goaltending from junior Clarke Saunders (Brockville, Ontario), as well as a quick-strike offensive attack, to improve to 2-0-1 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and 4-2-1 overall. The green and white scored in the opening minute of both the first and the second period to effectively take the 4,738 pro-Husky crowd out of the game.

Sophomore Brendan O'Donnell (Winnipeg, Manitoba) scored the game's first goal just 48 seconds in, driving the slot and re-directing a Connor Gaarder (So., Edina, Minn.) pass through SCSU goalie Ryan Faragher. Then, to open the second period, Carter Rowney (Sr., Sexsmith, Alberta) beat Faragher in the slot just 43 seconds into the middle frame.

In between those goals, it was all Saunders. The junior stopped all 14 shots he faced in the first period to keep the raucous crowd silenced and finished with his second shutout in five starts this season.

"I looked up at the clock and saw I had a few shots, but that's always nice to get you in the game and settle your nerves a little bit," said Saunders. "I thought we played a perfect team game. All four lines, all ‘D' and I thought I played a solid game back there."

UND took the 2-0 lead into the second intermission and eventually sealed the victory on a shorthanded goal by sophomore Mark MacMillan (Penticton, British Columbia) late in the third period. MacMillan forced a turnover at the SCSU blueline and broke in free on Faragher stick side to make it 3-0 with 2:27 remaining.

It was UND's first shorthanded goal of the season and, for UND head coach Dave Hakstol, the goal put the finishing touches on an efficient road performance.

"Good road win, that's the bottom line. We had some good goaltending, which you need to have on the road, good specialty teams and a lot of hard work," said Hakstol.

Hakstol said Rowney's goal early in the second period was vital.

"I thought Corban Knight (Sr., High River, Alberta) and his linemates scored the biggest goal of the game with their first shift in the second period."

UND was outshot 32-26 and went scoreless on its lone power play of the night.

The Huskies were scoreless in four tries with the man advantage.

The two teams complete their series Saturday night.

Notes: Saunders, Rowney and O'Donnell were named the game's three stars ... Saunders is believed to be the first goalie in program history to record shutouts in each of his two road starts at UND ... Attendance was 4,738 ... Senior forward Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) had a game-high six shots on goal but was held off the scoresheet for the first time this season ... Junior defenseman Derek Forbort (Duluth, Minn.) had two assists.

 


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