DENVER -- In his pregame interview with North Dakota radio voice Tim Hennessy, head coach Dave Hakstol said UND would have to win the special teams battle tonight against host Denver.
Though they weren't listening on the radio, Hakstol's charges received the message loud and clear, scoring twice on the power play and once shorthanded in a 4-2 win over the 16th-ranked Pioneers.
The victory pushed UND's unbeaten streak to 10 games (9-0-1) and vaulted UND past St. Cloud State into first place in the NCHC.
"We came out and played hard from the drop of the puck," said Hakstol following the game. "Everybody had to contribute a little bit in different ways."
That all-in mentality was evident in the form of four different goal scorers, plus 29 saves from senior Clarke Saunders, who was seeing his first game action since Nov. 29.
The Brockville, Ontario, native, starting for the first time in seven weeks, finished with 29 saves on 31 shots.
"He had some big saves in that first period. It wasn’t like we shielded him or sheltered him," said Hakstol.
"He did a real good job. I thought he was seeing the puck well and he worked his way into game action real quickly."
DU's Troy Loney and UND's Dillon Simpson exchanged power-play tallies in the second period to make it a 3-1 UND lead after 40 minutes.
DU rookie Trevor Moore countered with his ninth goal with 3:56 remaining, but the Pioneers would draw no closer.
The win improved red-hot North Dakota to 13-7-3 overall and 8-5-0 in NCHC play, while the Pioneers fell to 12-8-5 and 6-5-2.
The two teams will conclude their series tomorrow night at 7:07 p.m. Mountain, a game that can be seen live on Root Sports Rocky Mountain, also available on DirecTV and DISH Network.
Notes: UND went 2-4 on the power play after entering the series stuck in a 1-for-18 skid with the man advantage ... Parks, Saunders and Caggiula were named the game's three stars ... UND went 42-23 on faceoffs, led by Mark MacMillan's 15-4 effort.