MINNEAPOLIS -- UND hadn’t won a road game against Minnesota since Evan Trupp’s diving overtime goal in 2008.
But UND fans had a solution to ending that drought Thursday: Turn it into a home game.
Decked out in green, white and black, UND fans flooded 3M Arena at Mariucci for a rare Thanksgiving Day contest, made it feel like Ralph Engelstad Arena where the team has won 11-straight games, and watched the Fighting Hawks administer a historic beatdown of their biggest rival.
UND 9, Minnesota 3.
When the game mercifully ended, the Gophers’ third goalie of the night was standing between the pipes, listening to UND fans gleefully bellow out chants from the stands as the Fighting Hawks finally ended their nine-game winless streak in the building.
“The whole game felt like a home game,” said UND rookie forward Shane Pinto, who was playing in the rivalry for the first time. “When you have that in an away rink, that’s pretty special.”
The performance was a special one, too.
UND has been playing in Minneapolis since 1949, and it has never scored nine goals in a game there.
In fact, UND has only reached the nine-goal mark one time in 288 all-time games against the Gophers -- a span of eight decades. That came on Feb. 10, 1989, in Grand Forks.
On the other side, the Gophers hadn’t allowed nine goals in any game -- against any opponent -- in the last 20 years. The last time that happened was Feb. 28, 1998, when a Don Lucia-coached Colorado College team beat the Gophers 9-6 in Colorado Springs.
The Gophers had never allowed nine goals in the history of 3M Arena in Mariucci. It opened in 1993.
“I thought we were just pressuring their ‘D,’” said UND forward Grant Mismash, an Edina, Minn., product who finished with a goal and four points. “One of our keys was pressuring their young ‘D.’ We know they’re good, they’re skilled, but we knew if we got on them quick and hard, they’d cough pucks up. That’s what we did and we capitalized on our chances. We’ve just got to do the same tomorrow.”
UND, now 11-1-2 overall and on an NCAA-leading 10-game unbeaten streak, will go for more history at 7:07 p.m. Friday. It will try to sweep the Gophers in Minneapolis for just the second time in the last 40 college hockey seasons. The only time it happened in that span was in January 2007, when Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie and Ryan Duncan combined for 16 points in two games.
On Thursday, it wasn’t just one line. Nearly everyone got in on the scoring.
Mismash led the way with four points. Jordan Kawaguchi, who gave UND the lead just 2:22 into the game, added two goals and an assist. He's now the third-leading scorer in the nation with 21 points. Defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker had a goal and two assists.
The other goal scorers were Jasper Weatherby (two points), Colton Poolman (who has four-career goals against Minnesota), Pinto (two points), Dixon Bowen and Cole Smith. Defenseman Jonny Tychonick also had a multi-point game with two assists.
“I think we kind of overwhelmed them physically,” Pinto said. “I don’t think they like to play the physical game and we did that really well. I just think we were kind of all over them from the start and we just kind of played simple and played to our identity.”
UND coach Brad Berry said: “From the game management, I thought when we were tired and needed to advance pucks, we did it. I thought when we had energy and an opportunity to handle a puck, we did make some plays. That’s a big difference over the last couple of years is that guys have confidence.
“Look at Harrison Blaisdell making that play to Pinto. Look at Juddy Caulfield making that play in the third period. That’s making plays.”
Minnesota coach Bob Motzko, in his second season with the Gophers, dropped to 0-2 in the rivalry after losing in his debut last year 3-1 in Las Vegas.
“We had a handful of guys that just had really bad nights of hockey, and we couldn’t overcome that. There’s no chance to overcome that,” Motzko said. “We need to get something from this. We’ve got to respond (Friday) night and be ready to play.”
A Thanksgiving feast
UND didn't plan a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal for the team, which was playing college hockey's first game on the holiday since Michigan and Wisconsin in 2000.
Instead, the Fighting Hawks had their Thanksgiving feast on the ice Thursday night, overwhelming the Gophers from the start of the game.
Bernard-Docker took an interference penalty just nine seconds into first period, but within 13 seconds of killing off that penalty, the Fighting Hawks were on the board and they never relented.
Mismash forced a turnover on Gopher rookie Jackson LaCombe -- one of three rookie defensemen in the lineup for the Gophers -- and skated the puck on a two-on-one. He fed Kawaguchi for the first goal at 2:22.
Weatherby and Poolman tacked on goals in the first; Kawaguchi, Mismash, Pinto and Bowen scored in the second to open a 7-3 lead and Bernard-Docker and Smith finished off the game.
The Fighting Hawks, who outshot Minnesota 36-21, were relentless, creating chances until the end of the game.
"That's our mentality," UND forward Westin Michaud said. "It starts in practice. It continues throughout that whole 60 minutes of practice. And I think we've done that every single day in practice and that's how we play the game, too.
"That's a good mentality."
UND 9, Minnesota 3
First period -- 1. UND, Jordan Kawaguchi 5 (Grant Mismash 5) 2:22; 2. UND, Jasper Weatherby 4 (Jonny Tychonick 3, Zach Yon 1) 13:24; 3. UM, Ben Meyers 2 (Blake McLaughlin 5, Bryce Brodzinski 4) 15:41; 4. UND, Colton Poolman 2 (Jacob Bernard-Docker 9, Mismash 6) 19:05 (pp)
Second period -- 5. UND, Kawaguchi 6 (Mismash 7, Collin Adams 7) 1:05; 6. UM, Jack Perbix 2 (Ryan Zuhlsdorf 3, Jackson LaCombe 8) 2:22; 7. UND, Mismash 3 (Kawaguchi 15, Bernard-Docker 10) 4:33; 8. UND, Shane Pinto 5 (Harrison Blaisdell 6, Westin Michaud 6) 11:09; 9. UM, Sampo Ranta 6 (Tyler Nanne 4, Scott Reedy 2) 16:13 (pp); 10. UND, Dixon Bowen 5 (Tychonick 4, Weatherby 3) 19:17
Third period -- 11. UND, Bernard-Docker 3 (Judd Caulfield 3) 8:46; 12. UND, Cole Smith 6 (Pinto 5) 12:46
Penalties -- Jacob Bernard-Docker, UND, interference, :09 first; Ryan Johnson, UM, interference, 6:41 first; Blake McLaughlin, UM, slashing, 10:04 first; Andrew Peski, UND, tripping, 15:41 first; Sammy Walker, UM, tripping, 18:24 first; Matt Staudacher, UM, interference, 11:28 second; Mark Senden, UND, holding, 14:41 second; Adams, UND, roughing, :39 third
Goalie saves -- UND: Adam Scheel 6-7-5 -- 18; UM: Jack LaFontaine 8-3-x -- 11 (5 GA), Jared Moe x-11-1 -- 13 (4 GA); Justen Close x-x-3 -- 3 (0 GA)
Penalties-minutes -- UND 4-8, UM 4-8
Power plays -- UND 1-4, UM 1-4
Attendance -- 8,567
Referees -- Colin Kronforst and Brian Aaron
Linesmen -- Nicholas Bradshaw and Sam Shikowsky