GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Legendary actor John Wayne won his only Academy Award for his starring role in the 1969 western "True Grit.''
Grit certainly served the UND hockey team well Saturday night. The Fighting Hawks snapped a 6-game winless streak (0-3-3) with an impressive bounce-back 5-1 victory over Colorado College to salvage a National Collegiate Hockey Conference split with the Tigers at Raph Engelstad Arena. The Tigers won 4-2 Friday night.
Junior forward Joel Janatuinen, without a point in his previous eight games, scored twice and spearheaded a big breakout game for UND forwards. It had been 204 minutes, 5 seconds since a UND forward had last scored a goal, but Janatuinen's power-play goal at 9:23 of the second period ended that drought.
Shane Gersich, Austin Poganski, Grant Mismash and Janatuinen rounded out the 5-goal night for the UND forwards and lifted the Fighting Hawks into a tie for third place in the NCHC with Western Michigan with six games to go.
Back to that John Wayne moment.
''Tonight we just decided we were going to play a full 60 minutes'' said Janatuinen, a native of Espoo, Finland. "The word we used in the lockerroom was 'grit,' and I think we really had that today.''
In many ways, too.
The line of Rhett Gardner, Poganski and Gersich shut down CC's prolific line of Mason Bergh, Nick Halloran and Trey Bradley, limiting them to Halloran's 17th goal of the season, the only point for that line all weekend.
On top of that, Poganski and Gersich each had a goal and an assist and Gardner won 20 of the 26 faceoffs he took.
Janatuinen had just two goals in 27 games before breaking loose with his two-goal game.
"It feels pretty good, obviously,'' Janatuinen said. "I haven't scored that much this year, so it feels pretty great.''
UND coach Brad Berry moved Gersich up to the top line with Gardner and Poganski for Saturday's game, igniting some old chemistry between the trio. But in the same token, Janatuinen thrived on the line centered by Mismash, as Mismash (goal, assist) and Jordan Kawaguchi (assist) all hit the scoresheet.
Freshman goalie Peter Thome, making his first start since blanking Omaha 7-0 on Jan. 6, was outstanding, stopping 20 of the 21 shots he faced.
''It's been a month,'' Thome said of his last start, "but hockey hasn't changed in a month. Same game. So just kind of realizing I had to play my game and not try to do too much.''
Color him ultra-successful this night.
Berry also saw something special in his team in this game, following some tough times in recent weeks.
"Seaons have highs and lows,'' Berry said. "You can't get too high, you can't get too low. You've got to be a team. Everybody can handle the good times. You can be a winner. But when you don't have a lot of success with the result, you have to stay even stay tighter together. Our group is a tight group and they stayed together. I'm just proud of our guys.''
Gersich, a 21-goal scorer last season, relished being back on a line with Gardner and Poganski.
"Every time we've played together,'' Gersich said, "we've had really good chemistry. It's nice to be back with them. Hopefully we can keep it rolling.''
Gersich had a different view of shutting down CC's No 1 line.
"Best defense is offense, right?,'' he said. "They're a skilled line over there, and they can put the puck in the net. So our focus was on us, and playing our game.''
The Gardner line combined for two goals and two assists and 11 shots on goal while the Bergh line had five total shots on net, and just the one goal.
UND now plays the next two weekends on the road, at Omaha and Miami, before returning home to finish the NCHC regular-season schedule against first-place St. Cloud State.
Game notes: An announced sellout of 11,860 was on hand ... Gersich and Gardner led UND in shots on net with 5 each ... CC was 0-5 on the power play with 7 shots, UND 2-7 with 7 shots ... The teams split the 4-game season series 2-2, each winning once in the other's rink ... UND won the faceoffs 36-29, led by Gardner's 20 of 26 mark ... Janatuinen was named No. 1 star by the media, followed by Thome and Gersich.
Virg Foss is in his 13th season of reporting on UND home games exclusively for UNDsports.com. He covered UND hockey for 35 seasons for the Grand Forks Herald until his retirement from newspapers.