GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- For the third time this young season, the possibility of a two-game sweep for the UND men's hockey team disappeared in the second game of the series.
Minnesota Duluth rebounded from Friday's 4-2 loss to North Dakota to beat the home team 6-3 tonight in front of a sellout of 11,974 at Ralph Engelstad Arena to split the National Collegiate Athletic Conference series.
Earlier in the year, UND won the opening game against Vermont only to tie in the rematch, and lost the second game of a road series at Miami.
A UND team hindered by players missing with injuries and others slowed by the flu bug that ravaged the team this week, seemed to lack the energy tonight it showed Friday's victory.
"We didn't play a complete (of a game) as we needed to,'' UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "I thought we needed to play a really intelligent, complete game. We were a little bit low on energy.''
A few untimely penalties also hurt UND. Senior forward Derek Rodwell was whistled for interference as he was going off on a line change late in the first period and Duluth's burned UND with Austin Farley's power-play goal at 19:49 of the opening period for a 3-1 Bulldog lead.
"We didn't manage the last minute of the second period very well,'' Hakstol said. "That's the difference in the game, those three, three-and-a-half minutes.''
North Dakota, down 3-2 in the second period after freshman defenseman Paul LaDue banged in his first college goal on a rebound, had a chance to draw even or go ahead with a 5-on-3 power play for one minute, 21 seconds six minutes after LaDue's goal. Even though UND fired five shots at Duluth goalie Adam Crandall on the 5-on-3, none got into the net.
"We had some good opportunities,'' Hakstol said, "but at the end of the day, it's the results that count.''
Then at 18:48 of the second period, Duluth's Sammy Spurrell scored to make it 4-2 and send the Bulldogs on to victory.
Sophomore wing Bryn Chyzk scored his first goal of the season for UND in the third period at 14:42 of the third period to pull UND within 5-3, but another UND minor penalty killed that momentum. UND took eight minor penalties to six for Duluth, but the timing of UNDs penalties bothered Hakstol as much as anything.
"It's a big part of managing a game,'' he said. "I'll leave it at that.''
Senior goalie Clarke Saunders, the No. 2 star in Friday's win, was pulled tonight after giving up three goals in the first period on 13 shots. Sophomore Zane Gothberg replaced him and stopped 16 shots while allowing two goals.
UND had come back in the first period from an early power-play goal by Duluth's Alex Iafallo to tie it on senior captain Dillon Simpson's first goal of the season. His power-play goal off a screen by Drake Caggiula tied the game at 1-1 midway through the opening period. But Duluth answered with the first of two goals from Adam Krause and then Farley's late power play tally to lead 3-1 after one period and skate away with the split.
"I thought both teams played pretty hard,'' said LaDue, the rookie rearguard from Grand Forks. "Obviously there's some stuff we need to work on as a team. We had a few breakdowns and they capitalized on it.''
LaDue said he wouldn't use the illness and injuries to teammates as an excuse.
"We hd a chance to win this game -- and we let it slip.''
UND dropped to 4-5-1 overall and 3-5 in NCHC play. Duluth is 5-4-1 overall and 2-2 in league play.
UND Notes: Hakstol said junior wing Mark MacMillan has been battling through injuries and needs some time off. "He's done everything he can over the last couple of weeks,'' Hakstol said. "We got to get him a little time off here. I don't know what that means for next week.'' ... UND steps out of conference play for a series at Boston University next weekend ... Duluth was 2-for-6 on the power play with 5 shots, UND 1-4 with 7 shots ... Tony Cameranesi and defenseman Willie Raskob had three assists each to lead Duluth's scoring ... UND has played in front of a capacity crowd in each of its six home games this season.
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.