GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- UND hadn't won a Saturday night game all season (0-4-2) and hadn't won in its previous four games (0-3-1).
All that changed tonight when UND rode two goals from its fourth line, those coming 31 seconds part late in the second period, to earn a split with St. Lawrence in the Subway Holiday Classic, courtesy of a 3-2 victory.
Juniors Connor Gaarder and Stephane Pattyn scored goals at 18:55 and 19:26 of the second period to break a 1-1 tie and set up UND's fifth victory in 14 games (5-7-2).
Despite being outshot 13-2 in the third period and giving up a goal, UND used that spurt of offense from Gaarder and Pattyn along with a shorthanded breakaway goal by sophomore Rocco Grimaldi -- his fifth this season, and first shorthanded in his career-- in a strong first period to claim the victory.
UND outshot the Saints 12-3 in the first period, but was outshot 24-12 the last two periods. Strong goaltending by sophomore Zane Gothberg (25 saves) and big goals by Gaarder and Pattyn carried UND to the win, though.
For Gaarder, his power-play goal was his second in two games after going 27 games without a goal. His blast from the left faceoff circle went into the top center of the net and out so fast it was reviewed by officials before the goal was affirmed via video replay. For Pattyn, it was second of the season and second in the last three games.
UND responded with a strong effort after a lethargic performance in Friday's 5-2 loss that left UND coaches and players dissatisfied. UND players had a long talk among themselves after Friday's performance.
"Yesterday was kind of an open floor,'' said Pattyn, an assistant captain. "Everyone talked, everyone gave what they thought what we needed to do.''
The team transformed those words into a solid performance tonight.
"We had some great conversations,'' Pattyn said. "We definitely grew up as a team last night, and today helped that, too.''
UND coach Dave Hakstol liked what he saw.
"We competed hard for 60 minutes,'' he said. "They (St. Lawrence) pushed real hard in the last portion of the third period. We said we wanted to come back and do a little better tonight. And I thought we did a little better.''
A win to snap a winless drought is definitely better for the morale. The unexpected offense from the fourth line was a bonus that contributed mightily as well.
"We said at the beginning of the season this team needs to win close games through depth and have everybody contributing,'' Hakstol said. "Tonight that (fourth) line was very good.''
The fourth line featured Gaarder centering Pattyn at left wing with senior Derek Rodwell, returning from injury, playing on the right side. Gaarder also assisted on Pattyn's goal for a two-point game to win No. 1 star honors from the media. Pattyn was voted second star and St. Lawrence sniper Greg Carey (one goal, his 11th of the year) third star.
After giving up three power-play goals Friday night, UND blanked the Saints on three chances tonight, allowing just two shots on goal.
"We weren't overthinking things,'' Hakstol said. "I thought Dane (assistant coach Dane Jackson) did a great job reeling our guys back in, giving them a simple, back-to-basics game plan. Real good credit to the penalty killers and the guys involved.''
UND had to survived a major penalty and game misconduct on freshman Adam Tambellini in the first period for contact to the head just 4:59 into the game. UND killed the penaly, the Grimaldi scored at 12:10 on a solo brekaway when he stripped the puck free in neutral ice, zoomed in on Saints' goalie Matt Weninger and deked him from in close to start the scoring.
"I don't feel relief,'' Hakstol said when asked about UND ending its winless skid and rebounding strongly from Friday's performance. "We were real disappointed last night as a group, so it's been a challenging 24 hours. It's nice to have a positive outcome at the end of that 24 hours.''
St. Lawrence slipped to 8-6-2 this season and dropped to 2-12 all-time in meetings with North Dakota.
UND NOTES: Michael Parks led UND in shots on goal with six, all coming in the first two periods. He had one-fourth of UND's total shots ... Gaarder, Grimaldi and rookie Luke Johnson all had three shots on net ... Carey was a force for St. Lawrence with five shots on goal ... The game drew 10,532 . . . UND returns to NCHC play next weekend at Western Michigan.
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.