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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service, Published February 22 2014

UND routs UMD in men's hockey

DULUTH, Minn. – Midway through the second period, the University on North Dakota men’s hockey bench was put on the AmsOil Arena’s kiss cam.

So, Drake Caggiula leaned over and did his best to plant one on teammate Derek Rodwell.

The crowd roared. UND scored a goal a few seconds later, and the team was clearly having fun en route to a convincing 6-2 victory over Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday night in front of an arena-record 7,009 fans.

“I promised the guys that if they showed me on the cam, I’d do it,” Caggiula said. “I guess the crowd liked it. We scored on the power play right after, so I might have to start kissing a few more guys.”

Everything seems to be working for UND these days.

Since dropping a home decision to St. Lawrence on Nov. 29, UND is 14-2-1, surging to a tie with St. Cloud State atop the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings and to No. 10 in the Pairwise Rankings.

UND also clinched home ice for the first round of the NCHC playoffs, marking the 12th consecutive year that Ralph Engelstad Arena will host a first-round series.

“After that Friday game (against St. Lawrence), we had that big meeting for an hour or so,” UND sophomore Rocco Grimaldi said. “We got honest with each other and we said, ‘This isn’t good enough. This isn’t how we play here.’

Since then, it has been a full, four-line team, every pair of ‘D’ and whatever goalie is in the net. Every guy has been playing his heart out, just playing like a warrior. That’s what you need, especially this time of year. You’ve got to have all four lines going, because that wears teams down and keeps us energized. Every guy on the team has been unbelievable the last couple months. We’ve just got to keep pushing forward.”

On Saturday, 12 players ended up on the scoresheet. Paul LaDue had two goals, while Mitch MacMillan, Michael Parks, Dillon Simpson and Colten St. Clair each added one. Grimaldi, Jordan Schmaltz and Bryn Chyzyk all had two assists.

UND stormed Duluth in the first period, outshooting the Bulldogs 22-10, but came out of it trailing 2-1 thanks to an odd-man rush goal by Kyle Osterberg and a breakaway goal by Caleb Herbert.

But UND kept its foot on the gas in the second period and blew it open with four goals in the first 11 minutes – three of them on the power play.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, UND, MacMillan (Rodwell, Chyzyk), 3:38. 2, D, Osterberg, 5:08. 3, D, Herbert (Crandall, Farley), 13:37.

SECOND PERIOD: 4, UND, LaDue (Grimaldi, Johnson), 3:36 (pp). 5, UND, Parks (Schmaltz), 5:23. 6, UND, Simpson (Caggiula, Schmaltz, 9:46 (pp). 7, UND, LaDue (Grimaldi, Mattson), 10:56 (pp).

THIRD PERIOD: 8, UND, St. Clair (simpson, Chyzyk), 2:36.

SAVES: UND, Gothberg 8-8-15—31. : D, McNeely 21-7-X—28; Crandall X-3-3—6.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald