Three things: Jan. 2

A few of the bigger talking points from recent games as we open 2017:

UND wins important non-conference game
Maybe North Dakota should play in New York State more often.

Less than a month after the eighth-ranked Fighting Hawks defeated No. 3 Boston College at New York’s Madison Square Garden, UND traveled back to the Empire State to face on New Year’s Eve a tenth-ranked Union team that had won its past six games, all on the road.

Schenectady’s Messa Rink was filled to capacity for UND’s visit and Union’s first home game since Nov. 12. The Dutchmen were unable to send their fans home happy, however, as two Austin Poganski goals powered UND to a 3-1 win.

Poganski opened the scoring 11 seconds into the game by taking a Rhett Gardner centering feed from behind the net and beating Union goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos.

Shane Gersich scored the eventual game-winner 2:57 into the third period on a feed from Poganski, who then restored UND’s two-goal lead on an empty-netter after Spencer Foo got Union on the board with 2:41 left.

Hawks goaltender Cam Johnson stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced. Union’s Mike Vecchione, the nation’s top scorer so far this season, was held without a point or a shot and finished the game with a minus-2 rating.

UND is on the road again this weekend against No. 20 Omaha. Speaking of which…

Omaha earns home sweep
UNO went into last weekend’s non-conference home series with Lake Superior sitting on a 2-5-1 record this season at Baxter Arena. Now, the Mavericks are much closer to the .500 mark when playing in what should be friendly confines.

Omaha opened the series against its former CCHA rival with a 4-1 win on Friday. Justin Parizek and Austin Ortega put the Mavericks ahead 2-0 inside the game’s first 10 minutes before third-period goals from Fredrik Olofsson and Tyler Vesel put the game to bed.

The Mavericks didn’t experience nearly as bright a start to Saturday’s game but used a five-goal third period to beat LSSU 5-3 and clinch a series sweep. With Omaha down 2-0, David Pope started the rally 7:45 into the third period on UNO’s sixth power play of the game before four other Mavericks got in on the act.

After hosting North Dakota this week, Omaha will visit Colorado College the following weekend.

RedHawks win in Columbus
After Miami fought to a 1-1 tie with in-state rival Ohio State back in October, the RedHawks visited Columbus on Saturday looking to beat a hot Buckeyes squad that was unbeaten in its last seven games.

Ohio State will have to start a new streak now.

Miami came out on top Saturday in a nine-goal game, scoring four times in the third period to pull away with a 6-3 win. Ohio State took the lead nine seconds into the game on a Tommy Parran goal before Mason Jobst put the Buckeyes ahead 2-0 9:08 later, but Miami then went on to score six of the game’s final seven goals.

Five different Miami skaters scored on Saturday, with Kiefer Sherwood netting two third-period goals on helpers from Zach LaValle. The RedHawks largely kept No. 9 Ohio State at bay after the Buckeyes’ early onslaught, as Miami goaltender Ryan Larkin finished the game with 12 saves, including just one in the third period.

This week, Miami hosts a St. Cloud State squad that went 1-1 last weekend in the Desert Hockey Classic in Arizona.

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