UND snapped its longest winless streak (5 games) in 10 years with the victory and handed the Badgers their first WCHA loss in their last 12 games (7-1-4).
That North Dakota got back on track by dealing Wisconsin its first road loss (5-1-2) in its last eight games was met with a standing ovation from a sellout crowd of 11,962.
Power-play goals by sophomore center Mark MacMillan (Penticton, British Columbia) just 45 seconds into the game and a sensational backdoor cut by senior defenseman Joe Gleason (Edina, Minn.) to knock home a perfect feed from senior center Corban Knight (High Plains, Alberta) at 13:24 stimulated the ovation from the fans.
It was MacMillan's ninth goal of the season, his deflection of a slapper from the left point by freshman wing Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.) setting the tone for UND.
Gleason snuck down low from the right point to one-time Knight's feed from the left faceoff circle to the far side of the crease for his fourth goal this season.
Sophomore right wing Michael Parks (St. Louis, Mo.) scored twice in the second period for his first career two-goal game to build North Dakota's cushion to 4-0.
It was a solid effort through the lineup for UND. After two periods, nine players had at least two shots on goal, players from three of the four lines scored goals, and one defensemen from each of the three set of blueline pairings had a point.
"It's very important,'' UND coach Dave Hakstol said of the contributions from many. "We have to get scoring throughout our lineup. That's something that hasn't happened over the last three weeks.''
UND was headed for its second shutout win of the season until a miscue by freshman goalie Zane Gothberg (Thief River Falls, Minn.) led to Wisconsin's only goal and cost Gothberg his first college shutout.
He went behind the net to play the puck, but couldn't clear it. A few seconds later, it wound up on the stick of Mark Zengerle, who had open net to shoot at for UW's only goal at 13:30 of the final period.
Still, Gothberg was impressive for the second straight game. He stopped 21 of 22 shots Saturday and 50 of 52 for the weekend after Friday's 1-1 tie.
UND's penalty killing was also superb. UND blanked Wisconsin on all five of its power plays while converting 2-of-8 of its own.
Hakstol pointed to UND's ability to kill a penalty on senior defenseman Andrew MacWilliam (Calgary, Alberta) just six seconds after MacMillan's early goal as critical to the outcome.
"I think everybody looks to the first power-play goal as a key part of the game, which it was, but also the following penalty kill was critical,'' Hakstol said. "Those guys did a very good job through the weekend.
The victory boosted UND (9-5-6 WCHA, 14-8-6 overall) into a tie for third place in the WCHA with Denver and Minnesota. UND is two points behind Nebraska-Omaha, UND's opponent on the road next weekend.
"It's nice to get in the winning column, but it's nice to earn a good win against a good hockey team,'' Hakstol said.
Parks, who missed 18 of UND's first 19 games with injuries, showed how much he can contribute offensively when healthy. His goals were his fourth and fifth in 11 games after he tallied 12 his rookie season.
"We wanted to come out and have a really good baseline game,'' Parks said, "and let our hard work gets us the goals. I think all four lines did that. Everyone contributed to the win.''
After five games without a win, this was an important one for UND to stay near the top of the WCHA. "We like to look at every game as a must-win game, especially in the second half (of the season),'' Parks said. "Tonight was for the series finale, and we needed a win.''
The loss dropped Wisconsin to 8-6-6 in the WCHA, two points behind North Dakota, and 11-9-6 overall. It marked the last regular-season meeting in WCHA play for the long-time rivals, with each headed to new leagues next season.
UND NOTES: Parks was named No. 1 star, followed by Gothberg and senior wing Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.), who assisted on Gleason's goal . . . Parks led UND in shots on goal with 5, followed by Kristo, Grimaldi, Gleason, Jordan Schmalz (Verona, Wis.) and Stephane Pattyn (Ste. Anne, Manitoba) with 3 each .. . In nearly 9 minutes of power-play time, Wisconsin was held to 2 shots on goal . . . UND had 9 shots on net and 2 goals in its 8 power plays.
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.