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UND ties Omaha after back-and-forth third period

The Fighting Hawks gave up a third-period lead, then rallied to even the game and win the series.

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UND forward Matteo Costantini attempts to protect the puck from Omaha defenseman Kirby Proctor in a game on Nov. 5, 2022, in Baxter Arena.
Mark Kuhlmann / UND athletics

OMAHA, Neb. — At the end of the night, UND defenseman Tyler Kleven didn't want to look at the scoreboard.

It's not that the 3-3 tie against Omaha on Saturday was a bad result for the Fighting Hawks. It meant they won the two-game series against the Mavericks and earned four points on the weekend in Baxter Arena.

It was more that Kleven thought UND deserved a slightly better fate than that.

UND outshot Omaha 43-25 on the night and 81-47 for the weekend, taking major strides forward after a disappointing loss to Arizona State in Las Vegas.

"You shouldn't really look at the scoreboard after that game," Kleven said. "We put up a lot of shots and ran into a hot goalie. I think we did a lot of the right things for 60 minutes. We have to clean up the neutral zone a little bit, but other than that, we took a step in the right direction."

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Fighting Hawks coach Brad Berry agreed.

"I thought we played well enough to get a little more than one point," said Berry, whose team won the series opener 4-1. "We battled back a few times in the game when we were down. That shows some resiliency and toughness there. Their goaltender played really well. He made some big steps early in the game. But I liked our resolve and I liked our weekend here.

"It's always tough coming into Baxter Arena. It's always tough trying to sweep. Getting a win and a tie is a building block for us to go home and play Denver."

UND received goals from Judd Caulfield, Kleven and Riese Gaber. It marked the first points of the season for Caulfield and Kleven.

"Some of the guys who were a little quiet early in the season are starting to come around a little bit and that's encouraging," Berry said.

The Fighting Hawks (4-3-2) held a lead at the midway point in the third period after Kleven hammered a one-timer for a power-play goal. It continued UND's streak of scoring with the extra man in every game this season.

But for the third time in nine games this season, UND couldn't hold it.

Omaha stormed back with goals from Ty Mueller and Jack Randl in the span of 1:25 to take a 3-2 lead.

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UND answered, though, with 6:07 left when rookie forward Owen McLaughlin fed Gaber for his third goal of the weekend.

"A few games back, maybe it's one of those things where there's panic or desperation, and maybe you don't make that play," Berry said. "Guys have confidence now that they can make a play late in a game to tie a game or win a game. We're starting to grow a little bit."

Brad Elliott Schlossman module image

If you missed our coverage from Friday night's series opener, check it out here...

The Fighting Hawks used two goals from Riese Gaber and two assists from Nick Portz and Owen McLaughlin to win the NCHC opener.
Brad Berry made two challenges during the Fighting Hawks' 4-1 win over Omaha on Friday night. Both were successful.

Although the game counts as a tie for the Pairwise Rankings, Omaha grabbed an extra point in the NCHC standings by winning the three-person shootout. Maverick goalie Jake Kucharski, who had 40 saves, denied UND's best shootout man Griffin Ness to seal the extra point.

"I thought it was definitely a step in the right direction," Caulfield said. "We were playing well for most of the weekend. There was a little slip up there late in the third today and we weren't able to get the full three points. Obviously, we came here for a six-point weekend, but we came away with four on the road, which isn't what we want, but a step in the right direction."

Now, UND will return home for a showdown with Denver.

The Fighting Hawks and Pioneers shared the Penrose Cup last season.

"Denver has a really good team, so we're going to have to play a full 120 minutes next weekend," Caulfield said. "We can't have any slipups in our game because they have a lot of skill and they're going to capitalize on our mistakes. So, we have to play a smart, disciplined game, stay out of the box, and go out there, outwork them, play physical and get a full six next weekend."

Notes: UND used the exact same lines as Friday's series opener. It remained without five injured players — forward Gavin Hain, forward Ben Strinden, forward Carson Albrecht, forward Dane Montgomery and defenseman Luke Bast. Omaha played without injured forwards Matt Miller and Brock Bremer.

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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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