Colorado College beats UND for fourth-straight time

Feb. 17—COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With five minutes to go Saturday night, Colorado College fans started singing "hey, hey, hey, goodbye."

Then, they started the wave.

Then, chants of "overrated" thundered throughout the 3,585 in Ed Robson Arena.

For the final minute, they stood and roared.

After serving as a punching bag to UND for the first decade of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, the Tigers have suddenly mastered the team that has won more Penrose Cups than anyone and is in the driver's seat to do it again.

Colorado College scored four times in the third period to pull away for a 6-2 victory over UND in the series finale.

It finished a regular-season sweep of UND — something that would have been unthinkable to start the year.

UND went 34-5-2 against the Tigers in the first decade of the league, knocked them out of the playoffs four times and entered this season on a 15-game unbeaten streak against them.

"Our program has high expectations," UND coach Brad Berry said. "Our players expect a lot. Our fans expect a lot. We have to stay positive and work on the things we need to work on to get better, which we will this week. There's no room for negativity here in our group. We've done a lot of good things with a body of work with positive attitudes. Guys are working extremely hard. The main thing is the 25 guys in that locker room staying together and believing in each other."

After winning a pair of 3-2 overtime games in Grand Forks in December, the Tigers outscored the Fighting Hawks 13-3 this weekend in Ed Robson Arena.

On Saturday, they used a brilliant performance by goaltender Kaidan Mbereko, who made a career-high 43 saves, including 34 in the first two periods as UND held a heavy shot advantage.

Then, the Tigers turned the game with a four-goal third.

"I thought he was the difference tonight," Berry said of Mbereko. "Their goaltender kept them in until they got their feet on the ground. They got a little momentum and scored a couple goals."

UND (20-8-2) will head into the final three weeks of the regular season with a one-point lead on second-place St. Cloud State in the NCHC standings. Colorado College, which has only lost in regulation once in 14 games, is in third place, just four points back.

UND, which is 0-4 against the Tigers and 20-4-2 against everyone else, dropped one spot to No. 3 in the Pairwise Rankings. Colorado College shot up to No. 11.

"We just have to remember who we are," UND forward Jake Schmaltz said. "Two games doesn't define what we've done and who we are. It's just remembering how much talent and how much swagger we have on our team. We're not going to let this effect what we've got going down the road."

For the eighth-straight time against Colorado College, UND failed to hit the three-goal mark. The Fighting Hawks have just 13 goals in those eight games.

Mbereko improved to 4-1-1 against UND in his career with a .969 save percentage.

"Their goalie stood on his head," UND defenseman Garrett Pyke said. "He played a great game. We just have to find a way to get one through. We had a lot of shots. He played great. Our team played well. There are things we can clean up and we're going to work on that in practice. We've just got to stick with it."

The Tigers used two goals from Gleb Veremyev and one each from Logan Will, Jack Millar, Evan Werner and Noah Laba.

UND outshot Colorado College 21-6 in the opening period and built a 2-1 lead on Abram Wiebe's first-career goal and a Cameron Berg power-play snipe.

At 5:49 of the first, Jayden Perron hit Wiebe jumping into the play. Wiebe snapped it home for a 1-0 lead.

The lead lasted just 14 seconds. Colorado College answered on a Millar point shot.

UND took advantage of a five-minute major to Laba for boarding UND defenseman Keaton Pehrson to regain the lead. Berg held the puck in the left circle and fired a shot through a Louis Jamernik V screen with just 8.9 seconds left in the opening frame.

UND never scored again, though.

"Obviously, it's frustrating," Schmaltz said. "We wanted to come here for two games at this point in the year, but we're going to learn from it and we're going to be ready for next weekend, that's for sure."

Colorado College tied it with three minutes to go in the second when Max Burkholder's shot went off Werner's skate and in.

The Tigers jumped ahead with three goals in the first 11 minutes of the third period.

The first one came just seconds after a Tiger power play expired. Klavs Veinbergs set up Will for a shot from the slot. Then, Veremyev found pucks that trickled behind UND goalie Ludvig Persson twice in the span of a minute.

"It felt like whenever we had breakdowns, it ended up in our net," Schmaltz said. "We had a lot of looks. We had a lot of shots. But they just weren't going in. It's frustrating. You work hard for your chances, then we let up some soft ones. We have to protect Ludvig a little better."

Notes: UND warmed up an extra skater, Nate Benoit, because forward Jackson Kunz was a gametime decision. Kunz was able to play, but skated limited minutes on the fourth line due to the injury. Perron took his spot on the top line. . . Colorado College used the same lineup as Friday night.