GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- UND senior goalie Clarke Saunders has played for two colleges in his career, so there's not a whole lot that rattles him.
Not even when Minnesota-Duluth scored two goals 20 seconds apart on him in the third period tonight to turn a 2-0 North Dakota lead into a 2-2 tie with 13 minutes left to play in a game eventually won 4-2 by North Dakota.
"Everyone's human,'' Saunders said. "I went 'oh crap' for about 10 seconds. It happens. It happens in hockey. It happens in any sport. You've just got to shrug it off. I think the whole team did a really good job of that.''
Nobody did the shrugging any better than UND sophomore defenseman Jordan Schmaltz. It was his interference penalty that Duluth turned into a goal by Alex Iafallo on the delayed penalty at 6:37 of the third period. Twenty seconds later, with Schmaltz in the penalty box, Bulldog captain Adam Krause knocked in a rebound to tie it at 6:57.
But then Schmaltz made a great play in the positive direction to win it for North Dakota, now 4-4-1 overall and 3-4 in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Schmaltz, on a UND power play, made a great play to hold the puck in at the blue line to start the play. He then used a screen in front of Duluth goalie Aaron Crandall by UND center Drake Caggiula to beat Crandall blocker side with a wrist shot at 10:05 of the final period.
It was North Dakota's second power-play goal in six tries after Duluth came into the series leading the nation in killing penalties at 93.6 percent.
"I saw him (Crandall) down and there was kind of a screen in front,'' Schmaltz said. "I don't think he (Crandall) really saw it. I tried to put it high blocker, and fortunately it went in.''
Saunders, in winning his second straight start, was brilliant with 34 saves as Duluth outshot North Dakota in every period and 36-23 for the game. Crandall finished with 19 saves.
"He's battling, he's seeing pucks, and he's making the big saves, the one or two a period that we need,'' Schmaltz said of Saunders.
The game had an unusual twist when officials seemed to overturn their original call on a wraparound effort by UND's Michael Parks just 37 seconds into the third period. The puck disappeared behind Crandall and Duluth defenseman Willie Corrin, who was lying in the net tangled with Crandall. Officials looked at the replay, and came out of the replay box without making a call. At the same time, UND coaches had a look at the replay on the equipment outside the UND dressing room and saw the puck clearly in the net.
"We've got the benefit of some technology,'' UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "But it's not about that. I thought the officials did a good job.''
Referees CJ Beaurline and Derek Shepherd spent nearly 10 minutes looking a the replay before awarding the goal to Parks, his third of the year for a 2-0 UND lead.
"They (officials) were patient in going back and looking for the video,'' Hakstol said. "I'm not sure it was available right away. "Bottom line, you want to get the call right, and that was the right call,'' Hakstol said.
North Dakota had grabbed a 1-0 lead after one period when Rocco Grimaldi spotted a loose puck lying free by Crandall, who was on his back in the crease. Grimaldi scooted in quickly from the left faceoff circle to poke in the rebound at 17:59 of the period for his third goal of the season and first in the last seven games.
Parks made it 2-0 with his trademark wraparound goal, the one that sparked the lengthy review. But Duluth stunned the sellout crowd of 11,810 with the goals from Iafallo and Krause 20 seconds apart in the third period, setting up Schmaltz for the eventual game-winning goal.
"Tough way to give away a two-goal lead,'' Hakstol said of Duuth's rapid-fire goals. "But I really liked our response,'' Hakstol said. "I thought the key shift of the game was the Connor Gaarder line shift (with Stephane Pattyn and Derek Rodwell) right after they tied the game. For us, that was the shift of the game.''
Pattyn got rewarded when he scored his first goal of the season from a sharp angle into an open net with 56 second left after Crandall had been pulled for an extra attacker 19 seconds earlier.
UND notes: Rookie defenseman Paul LaDue led UND in shots on goal with four, followed by Grimaldi and Rodwell with three each . . . Schmaltz had a 2-point game (goal, assist) as did defensive partner, captain Dillon Simpson (two assists) . . . Two other UND defensemen, LaDue and Nick Mattson, had assists as well as UND defensemen had six scoring point to five for the 12 forwards . . . One of the linesmen in the game was Brandon Schmitt, son of long-time college hockey great referee Mike Schmitt, who now is one of the league supervisors of officials ... The game was the 400th Hakstol has coached at UND and his 239th win ... Only two men, Dean Blais (410) and Gino Gaspairni (664) have coached more at UND.
Virg Foss covered UND hockey for 35 seasons for the Grand Forks Herald until his retirement in 2005. He now reports on UND home games exclusively for UNDsports.com.