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Tyler Kleven's power-play goals lead UND past Lindenwood

The Fighting Hawks rallied past the Lions to extend their unbeaten streak to three games.

NCAA Men's Hockey 2023: Lindenwood v North Dakota JAN 06
Tyler Kleven celebrates his game-winning goal over Lindenwood on Jan. 6, 2023, in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Russell Hons / UND athletics

GRAND FORKS — UND's practice ended late Wednesday morning and the players scattered to work on individual skills.

The centers took faceoffs with volunteer assistant coach Jason Ulmer in the neutral zone. Riese Gaber snapped wrist shots on net.

And in the north end of Ralph Engelstad Arena, Tyler Kleven set up shop in the right circle and repeatedly hammered one-timers from assistant coach Karl Goehring into an empty net. The junior from Fargo hit the back of the net again and again and again with his heavy slap shot.

When his chances came again Friday night with 10,354 in the building, he did the same thing as Wednesday morning.

Kleven hammered a pair of one-timers on the power play to lead UND to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Lindenwood in the series opener in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

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The final one was the game-winner with just 3 minutes, 15 seconds left in the third period. Alternate captain Ethan Frisch had the puck at the top of the zone, drew the defenders to the middle of the ice and slipped the pass to Kleven, who ripped it past Lindenwood goalie Trent Burnham.

"It felt really good," Kleven said. "Being on the power play, we work on it all week and Frischy gave me two great passes and I was lucky they went in."

Was it luck or was it practice?

"I've been working all year with KG and he's been helping me out, just getting comfortable in that position," Kleven said. "I've gotten a lot of opportunities in that spot and it finally paid off."

It extended UND's unbeaten streak to three games. The Fighting Hawks (8-8-4) will go for the series sweep at 6:07 p.m. Saturday.

The Fighting Hawks also received goals from Nick Portz and Ty Farmer, who was celebrating his 25th birthday. Frisch had two assists.

For 5-14 Lindenwood, the game was similar to how its first season as a Division-I program has gone.

The Lions have put several of college hockey's traditional powerhouses on the ropes this season, either holding late leads or ties against Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Denver. But they lost all of those in the end, which is exactly what happened Friday.

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The Lions have been stung by taking too many penalties — they rank second in the nation in penalty minutes per game — and their inability to kill them off. Only one team in all of Division-I hockey has a lower penalty killing percentage than the Lions.

That's what happened again at the end of the game Friday.

Lindenwood forward Zachary Aughe needlessly cross-checked UND defenseman Cooper Moore high with 4:38 left in the third period to give UND a late power play.

Kleven took advantage, scoring his third of the season. All have come on the power play.

"He's got an unbelievable shot — accuracy and velocity," UND coach Brad Berry said. "It's such a threat. . . it's nice to have an option on the second unit to get the puck to the net and he made the most of it tonight. He practices that a lot. I know Karl does a great job on the power play. They stay after (practice) and work on the execution side of it.

"In practice, we get a little hesitant when we do power play/penalty kill, because normally we want to block that shot. We tell our penalty killers just to kind of ease out of the way. We don't need them to get injured blocking that shot."

The game went awry early for UND.

Lindenwood scored three times in the opening 5:19 to build a 3-1 lead and chase UND starting goaltender Drew DeRidder, who stopped three of six shots.

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After backup Jakob Hellsten entered, UND outshot Lindenwood 39-8 for the final 54:31 of the game. Two of the eight Lions shots came from the neutral zone.

Final shots on goal were 41-14 UND. Attempted shots were 76-25.

"You know, it wasn't the started we wanted," said Portz, who has scored in back-to-back games. "But after the first 10 minutes, we kind of flipped the script and came back and found a way to get a win. That's ultimately what you need to do at the end of the day. We just need to eliminate that bad 10 minutes and we'll be fine."

Kleven scored his first power-play goal at 11:51 of the first period to make it 3-2.

After a scoreless second period, UND buried two in the third to win it. Portz finished off a feed from Ben Strinden at 7:04 and Kleven got the winner at 16:45.

"It kind of reminded me of the first game against Lake State, where we're down a couple early and have to call a timeout early and find a way to come back and win," Berry said, referring to his first as head coach in October 2015. "But I love the way our guys stuck with it."

NCAA Men's Hockey 2023: Lindenwood v North Dakota JAN 06
UND's Jake Schmaltz (8) and Gavin Hain (10) watch for the puck during UND's 4-3 win over Lindenwood on Jan. 6, 2023, in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Russell Hons / UND athletics

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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