20th-Ranked North Dakota Edges Colorado College, 2-1

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COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. North Dakota scored twice in the first period and held on late in the third period to defeat Colorado College, 2-1, Saturday night at the Broadmoor World Arena.

The Tigers came out flying from the start, getting a 2-on-1 right of the opening faceoff, but Westin Michaud’s shot from the slot was saved by UND goalie Peter Thome. Thome then stoned Grant Cruikshank on a clean breakaway 90 seconds later.

Cole Smith and Matt Kierstad scored twice in the final 2:19 of the first period to give North Dakota (16-15-2, 10-11-1 NCHC) a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

The Fighting Hawks kept the momentum in the second period, killing an early CC power play and outshooting the Tigers, 15-3, in the middle frame. Thome kept CC off the board with a point-blank glove save off the stick of Christiano Versich and turning away a partial breakaway by Alex Berardinelli.

Each team had a power-play opportunity early in the third period, and after UND’s Rhett Gardner was called for tripping at the 17:48 mark, Michaud won the faceoff and Versich scored with a wrister from the slot three seconds later to cut the lead in half.

Leclerc was on the bench for the final 1:25 of the game and CC attempted four shots in those 85 seconds, including one by Cruikshank that floated just outside the left post with 12 seconds remaining.

Leclerc finished with 34 saves for the second consecutive night, while Thome had 24. UND held a 36-25 advantage in shots and both teams were 1-for-4 on the power play.

The Tigers (13-17-4, 7-12-3 NCHC) have clinched sixth place in the NCHC and will wrap up the regular season with a home-and-home series against Denver next weekend. Friday’s game is at Magness Arena in Denver, while Saturday’s contest in at the Broadmoor World Arena.