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Published January 24 2004

Sioux show their power

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Top-ranked North Dakota pulled through in the final period, scoring a pair of power-play goals to come from behind and beat fifth-ranked Minnesota 4-2 Friday night.

"We were pretty confident going into the third," said North Dakota's Zach Parise. "We've been a good third period team all year, so we had no doubts we'd get it done."

Down 2-1, the Fighting Sioux (18-2-2, 12-1-2 WCHA) got power-play goals from Brandon Bochenski and Chris Porter, and an empty-net goal from Mike Prpich.

"Our guys just found a way to win again, and the skilled players made the difference," said North Dakota coach Dean Blais, who got his 250th career victory on Friday. "Overall, it was a really gritty performance by our team to come from behind on the road against a really good hockey team."

The victory extended North Dakota's unbeaten streak to 14 games (12-0-2).

Thomas Vanek had a goal and an assist for the Golden Gophers (13-9-3, 8-8-1), who lost for just the second time in two months. Vanek scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season in the second period, breaking a 1-1 tie and giving Minnesota its only lead of the game.

Parise got his team on the board first, scoring on the rebound of a Drew Stafford shot. Minnesota responded when Grant Potulny scored on a 5-on-3 power play.

"We certainly had our share of chances tonight," said Minnesota coach Don Lucia. "We got 30 shots on goal and our offense gave us a chance to win, but special teams made the difference."

With 36.8 seconds remaining in the first period and the score tied 1-1, North Dakota goalie Jake Brandt summoned the officials and pointed out a 2-foot wide hole in the ice behind his net.

The teams were sent to their respective locker rooms and the game was delayed for 51 minutes while an arena maintenance crew worked to remedy the spot.

"We were just laying around in the locker room, trying to stay focused," said Parise. "I even jumped on the bike for a little while just to keep my legs moving. It really messed up the atmosphere of the game."

Brandt finished with 31 saves for the Sioux. Kellen Briggs had 21 saves for Minnesota.

The Sioux have not lost since a 2-1 setback to St. Cloud State on Nov. 14.