No suspensions will be handed out for the fracas that occurred at the end of Saturday night's UND-St. Cloud State game, the Herald has learned from a source.
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference reviewed the incident, which resulted in eight penalties and four 10-minute misconducts, and decided against supplementary discipline.
The incident happened right as St. Cloud State's 2-1 victory over UND went final. UND defenseman Matt Kiersted attempted to get a final shot off before the buzzer, but sent the puck toward the net about a second after the buzzer sounded.
St. Cloud State forward Nick Poehling took exception to it and jumped on Kiersted's back and hauled him to the ground, setting off a melee.
"I got the puck and turned and tried to get a last shot off at the buzzer, and just got put in a headlock," Kiersted said.
St. Cloud State's players were already leaving the bench to celebrate the win and joined in the melee. The NCHC officials tried to keep UND's players on their side of the ice, but it only worked for so long.
"He jumped Kiers and then their team rushed the ice," UND forward Cole Smith said. "You know, we probably should have been out there a little quicker, but it is what it is.
"We'll keep that in the back of our minds if we ever see them down the road."
St. Cloud State forward Jack Poehling and UND forward Jasper Weatherby both dropped their gloves, but referee Geno Binda held Poehling back and no punches were thrown.
Kiersted, Weatherby and the Poehling brothers all received two-minute minors and 10-minute misconducts.
"I didn't see much," UND coach Brad Berry said after the game. "All I saw was Matt Kiersted get jumped. I've got to watch the video to see what happened there, but I think it's one of those things where we've just got to move forward to next week."
UND (23-4-4) hosts Western Michigan at 7:37 p.m. Friday and 7:07 p.m. Saturday (Midco Sports Network both nights). UND can clinch a share of the Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champions if it gets two wins in its last four games.
St. Cloud State (12-12-6) hosts Denver at 7:37 p.m. Friday (CBS Sports Network) and 6:07 p.m. Saturday in a battle between two teams aiming at home ice for the first round of the league's playoffs.
Coaches make Pinto aware of situation
On Monday morning, UND forward Shane Pinto had a meeting with the coaching staff.
They made the star freshman aware of his situation going forward: Pinto was called for his second game misconduct of the season Saturday, so if he gets one more, he will have to serve an NCAA-mandated automatic one-game suspension.
This happened last season to UND forward Dixon Bowen, who received three game misconducts and had to sit out a game.
"We had a meeting this morning to talk to him about it," Berry said. "We talked about what he brings to our team. The beauty of his game is that he's not only a very good offensive player, but he plays a good two-way brand of hockey. He plays a physical brand of hockey. He's very good in the faceoff dot.
"You know, you never, ever want to back him off the edge, but knowing that, you have to probably play a little bit more controlled over the next few weeks here. He knows that. He's a competitive guy. I think it's one of those things where we're just communicating and talking him through different situations as a young guy, and he was appreciative of that today."
Pinto is tied for the team lead in goals with 15. He also has 11 assists and 26 points in 27 games for the Fighting Hawks. The second-round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators is likely the front-runner to win the NCHC's rookie of the year award.
Pinto has centered UND's second line with senior Westin Michaud on his left side and freshman Judd Caulfield on his right.
Pinto isn't the only key NCHC player who is sitting with two game misconducts and at risk of a suspension if he gets one more.
Minnesota Duluth's top player and St. Louis Blues draft pick, defenseman Scott Perunovich, has two game misconducts, as does Denver defenseman Slava Demin, whose rights were traded from the Vegas Golden Knights to the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.
UND drops in polls, maintains in Pairwise
UND dropped out of the No. 1 spot in the USCHO national poll Monday after a loss and tie at St. Cloud State.
The Fighting Hawks, who received nine of 50 first-place votes, dropped to No. 3 behind top-ranked Cornell and No. 2-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato. Boston College is up to No. 4 in the poll, while NCHC teams Minnesota Duluth and Denver are at Nos. 5 and 6.
In the Pairwise Rankings, which are used to pick and seed the 16-team NCAA tournament, UND remains at No. 1, though, followed by MSU-Mankato, Cornell, Boston College, Minnesota Duluth and Denver.
There are two weeks left in the regular season and four weeks before Selection Sunday.
UND hosts Western Michigan this weekend, then travels to Omaha to end the regular season. The Fighting Hawks will host a first-round playoff series on March 13-14 (and 15th, if necessary). The NCHC Frozen Faceoff will be held March 20-21 in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.
The NCAA tournament field will be revealed on March 22.
The four regional sites are Loveland, Colo., Allentown, Pa., Worcester, Mass., and Albany, N.Y.