OMAHA, Neb. -- National Collegiate Hockey Conference commissioner Josh Fenton flew from Colorado to Minnesota on Saturday morning.
He picked up the Penrose Cup and brought it to Amsoil Arena in case Minnesota Duluth earned a share of it.
But the University of North Dakota was not in a sharing mood.
The Fighting Hawks ended the regular season the exact same way it started it -- by throwing on their business suits, going to work and winning a 5-0 game in impressive fashion.
The opponent was Canisius on a Friday night in October, launching a five-month run to the NCHC title and the Penrose Cup.
The opponent was Omaha on a Saturday night in March, a game that ended Minnesota Duluth’s hopes of sharing the title, which would have been the Bulldogs’ first since 1993.
Instead, UND’s 5-0 win over the Mavericks in Baxter Arena gave the Fighting Hawks an outright league championship and clinched the No. 1 seed for the NCHC tournament, which begins next weekend.
UND will host Colorado College in a best-of-three series beginning at 7:37 p.m. in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Playing without Hobey Baker Award candidate and leading scorer Jordan Kawaguchi, who was injured in the first period of Friday’s game, UND used two goals and an assist from defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker and goals by Westin Michaud, Colton Poolman and Cole Smith to seal the victory.
UND finished the regular season at 26-5-4 overall and 17-4-3 in NCHC play.
Omaha, which was hoping to win its first series against UND in program history, fell to 14-17-5 overall and 8-13-3 in NCHC play.
UND opened up the scoring early.
After a neutral zone faceoff, UND rookie forward Shane Pinto chipped the puck behind a Maverick defenseman to spring Michaud on a three-on-one rush. Michaud took the shot himself from the left circle and beat Omaha goalie Austin Roden high glove.
The Fighting Hawks added to their lead with their third shorthanded goal of the season.
Dixon Bowen made a play in the defensive zone to chip a puck to Cole Smith, who beat an Omaha defender in the neutral zone, starting a three-on-two rush. Smith took the shot from the left circle. Roden made the save, but Smith picked up the rebound, circled the net and threw a puck to the top of the crease, where it went off of Poolman’s skate and past Roden.
UND made it 3-0 early in the second period when Harrison Blaisdell dug a puck out of the slot, wheeled around the left circle and fed Bernard-Docker at the point. The sophomore defenseman blasted a shot through screens by Dixon Bowen and Gabe Bast and between the legs of Roden.
The Fighting Hawks tacked on two late power-play goals to finish the scoring.
One was a Smith tip of a Grant Mismash shot and the other a Bernard-Docker snipe.
Notes: In addition to Kawaguchi’s absence, Ethan Frisch also was held out with an injury he suffered Friday. . . UND wore its black jerseys for the eighth time this season.They are 7-1 in them. . . it was Senior Night for Teemu Pulkkinen, Zach Jordan, Tristan Keck, Dean Stewart and Ryan Jones. . .
UND 5, Omaha 0
First period -- 1. UND, Westin Michaud 8 (Shane Pinto 12) 1:03; 2. UND, Colton Poolman 4 (Cole Smith 7, Dixon Bowen 10) 19:12 (sh)
Second period -- 3. UND, Jacob Bernard-Docker 8 (Harrison Blaisdell 10, Gabe Bast 3) 2:48
Third period -- 4. UND, Cole Smith 11 (Grant Mismash 12, Bernard-Docker 18) 13:23 (pp)
Penalties -- Nate Knoepke, OMA, roughing, 1:21 first; Mark Senden, UND, high sticking, 4:42 first; Noah Prokop, OMA, hooking, 7:28 first; Jonny Tychonick, UND, roughing, 17:14 first; Tyler Weiss, OMA, roughing, 7:35 second; Casey Johnson, UND, roughing, 7:35 second; Ryan Jones, UND, roughing, 7:35 second; Collin Adams, UND, holding, 9:03 second; Zach Jordan, OMA, indirect contact to the head, 15:51 second; Grant Mismash, UND, checking from behind minor, 5:28 third; Joey Abate, OMA, unsportsmanlike conduct, 5:28 third; Jason Smallidge, OMA, roughing, 11:27 third; Noah Prokop, OMA, holding, 14:24 third; Martin Sundberg, OMA, slashing, 15:15 third
Goalie saves -- UND: Peter Thome 6-5-6 -- 17; OMA: Austin Roden 7-9-7 -- 23
Penalties-minutes -- UND 5-10, OMA 9-18
Power plays -- UND 2-8, OMA 0-4
Referees -- Dan Dreger and Tom Sterns
Linesmen -- Scott Fitzpatrick and Nate Stanton