ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Eighth-ranked North Dakota opened up an early lead and ran away from No. 2 St. Cloud State in a 7-2 win Saturday at the National Hockey Center that completed the regular season for both teams.
UND (19-12-5, 13-10-5 WCHA) controlled the game’s tempo early in the first period, as Darcy Zajac scored the first of his two goals on the night at 3:12 of the opening period. T.J. Oshie added UND’s second tally at 4:42 of the first and the game winner went to CHay Genoway at 15:45.
In the second period, UND pushed its lead to 5-0 with goals by Zajac and Taylor Chorney before St. Cloud State (20-7-7, 14-7-7 WCHA) senior forward Gary Houseman posted his fifth goal of the season at 17:08. He was assisted on the play by junior forward Marty Mjelleli and junior defender Matt Stephenson.
In the third period, SCSU made it 5-2 with a power-play goal by senior defender Grant Clafton at 10:13. The goal was Clafton’s second of the 2006-07 season. Freshman forward Ryan Lasch and Stephenson gained assists on the play.
UND stopped SCSU’s comeback at 10:42 of the third period with a goal by Brad Miller. UND completed its run with a power-play goal at 18:10 by Ryan Martens. Of note, Joe Finley had the second assist on the play — his third assist of the game.
In the game, UND outshot the Huskies 34-25. SCSU’s Jase Weslosky was the goalie of record with 27 saves. Philippe Lamoureux picked up the win for UND with 23 saves. On the power play, SCSU was 1-of-7 and UND was 2-of-6.
North Dakota ended up with the third seed in the WCHA playoffs and will host Minnesota State next weekend in a best-of-three series. St. Cloud, the tournament’s second seed, will receive a visit from Minnesota-Duluth.
The winners in the first round will advance to the 2007 WCHA Final Five, which will be played again at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul, Minn., on March 15-17.