Jan. 20—ST. CLOUD, Minn. — There were a lot of reasons why UND should have lost Saturday night's series finale at St. Cloud State.
The Fighting Hawks were outshot 14-1 in the opening 14 minutes. They trailed on three separate occasions.
But this UND team has a way of keeping out of the loss column in regulation.
The Fighting Hawks answered every Husky goal and earned a 3-3 tie with St. Cloud State on Saturday in the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
Cameron Berg scored the game-tying goal with 6:58 to go in the third period, banking a shot off of St. Cloud State goaltender Dominic Basse from behind the net to help UND remain as the nation's only team without a regulation loss in conference play.
"I have no idea how it went in," Berg said. "I saw it was a mosh pit, threw it there, then all of the sudden, I saw it trickle in, and I was like, 'Oh!" I was kind of shocked."
UND finally played an excellent overtime session, possessing the puck for the first 3:45, but Basse stopped six shots and preserved the tie.
St. Cloud State then won a three-man shootout to grab an extra point in National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings, where the Huskies pulled even with the Fighting Hawks at the top. Denver, UND's next opponent, is three points back.
"We haven't lost in regulation since early November," UND coach Brad Berry said. "That tells me a lot. We probably have to do a better job closing games out in 60 minutes to win, but when we're trailing games, we can find a way to get points out of it. That's a huge deal. Coming out of here with a series win, knowing we don't play them again until playoffs, is a big, big deal. I just think it's the resiliency of our group."
The Fighting Hawks haven't lost in regulation since Nov. 3 at Boston University, extending their run to 17 games.
Jackson Blake scored Saturday to grab a four-point weekend, while freshman defenseman Jake Livanavage tallied his second goal of the season in the third period.
Goaltender Ludvig Persson stopped 32 of 35 shots in net.
"It was a good weekend," Berg said. "That's a top team in the NCHC and all of college. To be able to come in and get a win and a tie — four points in the conference — is really huge for us."
UND played without top line left winger Hunter Johannes, who struggled with an injury in the series opener and didn't play the final 6:45 of Friday's game. He attended Saturday's game wearing a walking boot.
"He was hurting last night a little bit as the game progressed," Berry said. "We're going to get back home, get more evaluations of him and hopefully he won't be out for very much longer."
After winning the series opener 5-3, the Fighting Hawks were in survival mode to start Saturday's game.
St. Cloud State buzzed UND for 14 of the game's first 15 shots. Fortunately for the Fighting Hawks, that one shot went in the net when Blake converted a Jack Peart turnover.
"They came out with a hard push in the first," said forward Jayden Perron, who had two assists. "But I think once we got past that, we kind of just played our game and tried to play a little in their zone and create offense from that."
UND (16-6-2) evened out the game after in the final 45 minutes. Shots on goal in the second and third were 17-17.
After losing its past four overtimes, UND dominated the extra session, winning the opening faceoff and maintaining possession, while creating looks for some of its best players — Blake, Perron, Berg and Riese Gaber.
"We worked on a lot of things in practice," Berry said. "We talked about puck possession and waiting to get your opportunity. I thought our guys did a good job of being patient. We did get some looks. I thought Basse made some good saves in overtime there. That's the way you have to play — a smart, patient disciplined game.
"The key is winning the faceoff, Bergy winning the faceoff. We had some tandems that rolled through. I think (Husky defenseman Dylan) Anhorn was out there for four-and-a-half minutes before he came off the ice. That's how you usually score, when you get guys tired. Then, you can beat them around the corner, go to the net and get your look."
UND is now halfway through its NCHC schedule with a 7-0 mark in regulation and an 0-4-1 record in overtime as it chases a fourth Penrose Cup in five years.
"Obviously, we come for two (wins)," Perron said. "But overall, I thought it was a pretty good weekend."