The University of North Dakota continued its sizzling ways in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Saturday by beating Denver University 4-1 to complete a weekend sweep of the Pioneers.
The Fighting Sioux (19-8-2, 16-7-1 WCHA) ran their unbeaten streak to 11 games (10-0-1), the longest active streak in the nation.
With the victory, the Sioux moved into a tie for first place in the WCHA with idle Colorado College, though the Tigers have played two less league games than UND. The Sioux have four WCHA games remaining in the regular season; the Tigers six.
The win also clinched home ice for the WCHA playoffs for the Sioux, beginning on March 14. The top five finishers in the WCHA regular season host first-round playoff games.
The Sioux combined a stifling defense with timely scoring to hand Denver its sixth loss in the last nine games.
UND held Denver to three shots in the first period and six in the second.
Goals by junior defenseman Joe Finley and freshman Evan Trupp staked the Sioux to a 2-0 lead after one period. Finley scored his fourth goal of the season on a wrist shot to the stick side of DU goalie Peter Mannino after he gave up a long rebound at 13:04 of the opening period.
Trupp notched his eighth goal just under two minutes later when he tipped in a point shot by defenseman Chay Genoway on a power play at 15:01.
Junior wing Andrew Kozek, who scored three goals in North Dakota's 5-4 comeback victory Friday, collected his fourth goal of the weekend and team-leading 13th of the season at 11:46 of the second period for a 3-0 lead.
T.J. Oshie won a faceoff in the Denver zone, and Kozek was left uncovered in front on a defensive lapse by the Pioneers.
Denver's Brian Gifford, from Moorhead, Minn., swept a loose puck through the legs of Sioux goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux at 13:14 of the second period for his second goal of the season to make it 3-1.
Oshie completed the scoring at 18:50 of the third period with a shorthanded, empty-net goal, his 13th goal of the season to tie Kozek for the team lead. Oshie flipped a backhander from the Sioux blue line into an open net after Mannino had been lifted for an extra attacker. It was UND's first open-net goal of the season.
Lamoureux finished with 16 saves for North Dakota with Mannino registering 24 saves. Both teams were 1-for-4 on the power play.
Denver, 19-10-1 overall and 13-8-1 in the WCHA, has won just three times in its last 10 games (3-6-1) to fall six points behind the Sioux in the WCHA race.
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