GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- It took twins Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux, ex-UND All-American players and silver medalists on the recent U.S. Olympic women's team, just seconds to work their magic Friday night.
As they were leaving the ice wearing their Olympic jerseys after dropping the ceremonial first puck to kick off the key NCHC game between the UND and Western Michigan men that followed, they stripped off their Olympic jerseys, revealing their old UND jerseys underneath.
That delighted a sellout crowd of 11,682 at Ralph Engelstad Arena, which had earlier greeted the Grand Forks natives with several ovations for winning their second Olympic medals.
The UND men, not to be upstaged, pulled a magic act of their own to remain in a tie for first place with St. Cloud State for the NCHC championship going into Saturday's regular-season finale.
Both goals went to video reviews before being confirmed.
Pattyn got the handle of his stick on defenseman Paul LaDue's point shot on the power play to tip it past WMU goalie Lukas Hafner (33 saves) at 17:21. Pattyn's fourth goal of the season stood up as the game winner.
"I think they might have been reviewing my feet in the crease or something,'' Pattyn said. "I was pretty sure that my stick was under the (cross)bar.''
LaDue drew first assist on his wrister that Pattyn tipped out of the air.
"I was just doing my job getting my big butt in front of the goalie so he can't see anything, and it ended up going off my stick,'' Pattyn said. "Lucky play for me.''
Just 18 seconds later, Johnson roofed a shot from in tight that ringed around the inside edge of the crossbar for Johnson's eighth goal of the season. The goal was initially waved off by one referee before quickly being ruled a goal on video review.
Sophomore goalie Zane Gothberg made those goals stand up with his 18-save shutout, his second in the last five games.
The victory, coupled with St. Cloud State's 7-4 win over Colorado College, means the two teams will go into the season finale tied for the league lead. If both are tied after Saturday's results, they'll share the Penrose Cup as league champs, but UND will draw the No. 1 seed for the playoffs based on more league victories than St. Cloud.
UND outshot Western Michigan 35-18, including 24-11 over the last two periods in improving to 8-0 all-time against the Broncos. The two goals late in the second period capped a strong period by UND in which it outshot WMU 12-4.
"It was nice we got rewarded (with the goals),'' coach Dave Hakstol said. "I thought we had a pretty good period.''
Pattyn said the team isn't thinking of playing for the Penrose Cup Saturday.
"Tomorrow is a big night, it's Senior Night, we want to play for those guys. We'll leave it (Penrose Cup) in the back of our minds right now. We're just trying to win as many games as we can.''
The victory was the 20th of the season for UND (20-10-3 overall), the 10th time in his 10 years as coach that Hakstol's teams have logged at least 20 wins.
That UND will play for the championship on the final night of the regular season didn't seem remotely feasible, when UND was near or at the bottom of the NCHC standings. Since Nov. 30, though, UND is 16-3-1 over its last 20 games to climb in the league and national rankings.
"Probably the only people that believed in us was ourselves in the locker room,'' Pattyn said. "We had a bit of a rough start, and it was ugly. But I think stuck together.''
And now they're one win away from at least a share of the conference title.
The 18 shots allowed is one of UND's lowest totals of the season, two behind the season low mark of 16 in a 3-2 at Western Michigan on Dec. 7.
"They work really hard and take away a whole lot of room,'' Pattyn said of the Broncos.
Game notes: Derek Rodwell led UND in shots on goal with 6, followed by Drake Caggiula with 5 and Jordan Schmaltz with 4 ... Shane Berschbach had 5 of WMU's 18 shots ... Rocco Grimaldi (13/8) and Mark MacMillan (13-9) led UND to a 37-26 faceoff advantage ... WMU's Nolan LaPorte hit the goal post in the second period with the game scoreless, and just before UND scored twice.
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.