College men’s hockey: Northland contingent keys UMD’s win over Miami

Alumni of Grand Rapids, Duluth East, Hibbing and Hermantown scored goals while a former Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjack had a key assist Thursday to lead the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs over Miami 4-3 in NCHC play at Amsoil Arena.

The three-point night gives the Bulldogs a one-point lead atop the NCHC standings, with No. 1 Denver set to host St. Cloud State tonight and Saturday. UMD will have a chance to maintain that lead, or even build on it, at 7:07 p.m. tonight at Amsoil Arena when it hosts Miami in the series finale.

“It’s a sign of a good team when you find ways to win,” said UMD sophomore defenseman Neal Pionk of Hermantown. “No matter what happens in the game, up or down, we found a way to win again. We got to find a way to win again (tonight).”

UMD is playing a Thursday-Friday series this week as opposed to the traditional Friday-Saturday series due to Amsoil being booked Saturday. The Thunderhawks, Greyhounds and Lumberjacks all play in the 7AA semifinals in the afternoon while the defending state champion Hawks and UMD coach Scott Sandelin’s alma mater, Hibbing, play in the 7A playoffs later in the evening.

As it happens, alumni from those five schools wound up finishing with four goals and three assists in a rollercoaster of a game Thursday.

Former Thunderhawk and Minnesota Mr. Hockey Avery Peterson, a junior center, scored the game-winning goal for the Bulldogs, taking a drop pass from freshman forward Riley Tufte on a power play to put UMD ahead with 1:21 remaining in…

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