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UND hockey holds Canisius to 11 shots in finishing sweep

GRAND FORKS -- The last time North Dakota allowed 11 shots on goal in game, the opposing coach theorized that the statistician was smoking crack in the press box.

GRAND FORKS - The last time North Dakota allowed 11 shots on goal in game, the opposing coach theorized that the statistician was smoking crack in the press box.

There were no such accusations Saturday.

Instead, Canisius coach Dave Smith pointed to other factors-UND's high-end playmakers and the home-ice advantage of Ralph Engelstad Arena-as to why the Fighting Hawks were able to win 4-1 and finish the sweep of the two-game series.

Offensively, Ludvig Hoff, Tucker Poolman, Shane Gersich and Austin Poganski scored goals in the final 24 minutes of the game to help UND overcome a slow start and move to 2-0 on the season. Brock Boeser added two assists to complete a six-point opening weekend.

Defensively, UND held Canisius at bay for much of the game.

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Final shots on goal read: Canisius 11, Poganski 11.

It marked the lowest number of shots by any UND opponent since March 16, 2008, when Michigan Tech managed just 11 in a first-round Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff game.

Poganski's 11 shots on goal were the highest by any UND player in a single game since Zach Parise on Jan. 17, 2004, against Michigan Tech.

Although the shot counter showed a 45-11 advantage, the game wasn't decided until late.

Canisius held a 1-0 lead deep into the second period, when UND scored back-to-back power-play goals. It remained a one-goal game until Gersich tallied his second of the year with 8:14 to go to make it 3-1.

"Tonight's game is a learning lesson for us as far as how tough it is to win two games," said UND coach Brad Berry, whose team had 12 sweeps a season ago. "We talked about it all day today, about winning the first one and how tough it is with a team that's hungry to get back in the win column. Our first period, we weren't as sharp as we should be. We had a two-on-one on the first shift. We had a too many men on the ice penalty. We were not sharp in all different areas."

Even so, UND found a way to win.

Smith credited UND's playmakers.

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"Boeser makes a great play on their first goal," Smith said. "Boeser makes a great play on their second goal. (Tyson) Jost makes a great play on their third goal. Poganski makes a great play on their fourth goal. Those are difference-makers against any team in the country. I thought we handled a lot. But those playmakers made plays when the game was on the line."

UND continued its dominance in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

In the last 42 games in the building, UND is now 34-4-4.

"This is the toughest environment in college hockey that I've seen," Smith said. "I haven't been in every building, but I've been to almost every one. We need to carry lessons forward about pace, intensity and what we're capable of. The memories are great. The experiences are great. We'll put those in our pocket and learn from it going forward. It was a great, great trip. I wish we could have gotten a win and sneak one out of here. Maybe next time we'll get one."

UND also continued its dominance of nonconference foes. Going back to last season, UND is 14-1-2 against non-National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams. Canisius (0-2) plays in Atlantic Hockey.

UND, which hosts RPI on Saturday in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game, learned lessons against Canisius, Berry said.

"You want to lead games, but sometimes you have to chase games," he said. "It's a learning curve for the bulk of our underclassmen. It's a good point to hit Monday morning in our video session. All games aren't going to be perfect to start with, but it's how you finish. Our guys did a good job of that."

Notes: Grand Forks native Casey Johnson made his college debut, going in the lineup for defenseman Andrew Peski. . . Rhett Gardner was held out of the game with a lower-body injury. He's listed as day-to-day. Mike Gornall replaced him in the lineup. . . UND outshot Canisius 8-3 in the first, 20-6 in the second and 17-2 in the third.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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