COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The skies cleared Monday for the first time since UND arrived in town.
That gave the players a chance to look out the bus window and take in the setting one last time: Cheyenne Mountain overlooking World Arena, home of Colorado College hockey for the last two decades.
Playing in the building for perhaps the final time before Colorado College moves into the new on-campus Ed Robson Arena next season, UND did something it had never done in the 23-year-old venue.
It allowed just one goal in a two-game series at World Arena.
That one goal was a power-play tally by Ben Copeland late in the second period, but it wasn't enough for Colorado College. UND used a power-play goal from rookie Riese Gaber in the second, a tie-breaking tally by senior Grant Mismash early in the third and a 23-save performance by goalie Adam Scheel to beat the Tigers 2-1 and complete a series sweep.
Since World Arena opened in 1998, UND had never held the Tigers to just a single goal on the weekend. In fact, UND never did it at the old Broadmoor Arena, either.
"I'd have to go back a long time to see the last time, going on the road and not giving up a five-on-five goal," Fighting Hawks coach Brad Berry said.
The answer: November 2016, when Cam Johnson posted back-to-back shutouts at St. Cloud State's National Hockey Center.
Scheel stopped 50 of 51 shots in the two-game series against a Colorado College team that was without its captain and leading goal-scorer, Grant Cruikshank (appendicitis). Scheel improved his save percentage to .927 and his goals-against to 1.82.
UND, which moved up one spot in the national polls to No. 2 on Monday morning, won its sixth-straight game to improve to 9-2-1 overall and 5-0 with its World Junior Championship players, Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven, in the lineup.
"It was a one-goal game tonight, but I thought we played better than we did last night in a 3-0 win," said Berry, whose team improved to 9-1-1 the last two seasons when wearing their black jerseys. "After having a little rust on us last night, I thought we played a much sounder game tonight as a team."
The Fighting Hawks moved just one point back of St. Cloud State in the chase for the Penrose Cup. The Huskies have played one more game than UND, too.
Next up is a two-game series at Denver's Magness Arena. Berry said he expects that series will be moved to Sunday-Monday, but added that Denver needed to get through another round of COVID-19 testing before the series is guaranteed to be played. Denver was off over the weekend due to a positive test and contact tracing.
UND returned to Grand Forks on a charter flight after Monday's game instead of staying in Colorado and hoping the Denver series will be played. Berry said the team won't practice Tuesday, the first day of the spring academic semester, but will return to the ice Wednesday.
UND swept Colorado College in its first trip to World Arena in January 1999, a feat it didn't duplicate for another decade. In February 2010, UND did it for a second time thanks go an overtime goal by Matt Frattin. The only other UND teams to sweep in World Arena were the Penrose Cup-winning 2014-15 and 2015-16 squads.
This one wasn't easy, either.
UND, which entered the night as the National Collegiate Hockey Conference's leader in offense, was held to just two goals, while captain Jordan Kawaguchi was held off the scoresheet for the first time all season, ending his 11-game point streak.
"They skate fast, they take away time and space," Berry said of the Tigers. "We're playing on an Olympic-sized rink. Normally, you make quick plays, quick passes and things open up and you have time and space. They defended very well. They competed extremely hard. They got really good goaltending tonight.
"It was a situation where they battled their tails off. It's a situation where we know it's the NCHC. We talked about it today. When you win a Friday night's game, the toughest thing to do in our league is trying to win a Saturday night. Sure enough, it was a tough effort, by both teams, but we made one more play."
Staying in the lead
UND played on a Monday for the first time since since Dec. 27, 1999, when an eventual national title-winning team beat Vermont 8-0 in the New Hampshire Classic in Durham, N.H.
In its first 12 games of the season, UND has already had a contest on all seven days of the week.
The odd game days haven't changed UND's formula. There's been one constant in the current six-game winning streak: UND has never trailed once in that stretch.
That was the case again Monday.
After a scoreless first period, the Fighting Hawks took advantage of their first power-play chance late in the second. They needed just eight seconds to get on the board.
Center Shane Pinto won a draw back to defenseman Matt Kiersted, who dished it to Gaber at the top of the right circle. Gaber walked it between a couple of Tiger defenders and fired a shot from just outside the hash marks. Tiger goalie Dominic Basse (27 saves) made the initial stop, but Gaber crashed the net and scored on the rebound of his own shot at 14:26.
"We needed it," Berry said. "It wasn't going in for us five-on-five. That's a goal-scorer's goal, when you shoot a puck and follow through for a rebound. He went to the hard area to get it."
Penalty problems caught up with the Fighting Hawks late in the second, when the Tigers converted their lone power-play marker in nine chances in the series. Copeland snapped a shot from the left circle five-hole on Scheel, whose shutout streak ended at 132:15. It was the first goal he had allowed all weekend and it ended UND's run of 23-straight penalty kills.
The Fighting Hawks regained the lead early in the third period when forward Collin Adams and Tiger defenseman Bryan Yoon chased a loose puck by the point in Colorado College's offensive zone. Adams won it and started a two-on-one rush with Mismash. Adams made the feed and Mismash, who finished it for his sixth of the season and second of the weekend at 1:41.
UND limited Colorado College's chances in the third. The Tigers had just three shots on goal in the final 20 minutes as the Fighting Hawks locked down the victory.
"I thought we played a much better game tonight," Gaber said. "We started off the first period a lot better than last night. That was really important for us. We had a lot of chances overall. It was just a better game for us. We came out with the win, which was huge."