GRAND FORKS, N.D. — UNO hockey had been 2-6-2 in its previous 10 games. North Dakota hadn't lost at home in 10 months.
But you don't play the game on paper as the Mavericks proved Friday night.
They scored twice in the first five minutes and never trailed to knock off the top-ranked Fighting Hawks 6-3. UND's last loss at Engelstad Arena also came against UNO, a streak that lasted 321 days.
Overall, North Dakota (16-2-2, 7-1-1) had won 10 straight and was unbeaten in 15 games. Its only other loss this season came Oct. 19 against Minnesota State.
But UNO (9-9-3, 3-5-1 NCHC) wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the NCHC series opener.
Taylor Ward scored 49 seconds into the game. After North Dakota tied it, Chayse Primeau put away an unassisted goal for a 2-1 lead at the 4:56 mark.
Jason Smallidge then extended the Mavs' lead to 3-1 three minutes into the second period. North Dakota answered a minute later, but Zach Jordan put UNO up 4-2 off an assist by Tristan Keck with 7:17 left in the period.
Jasper Weatherby cut the Fighting Hawks’ deficit to 4-3 with 12:34 to play. But after they pulled their goalie, UNO’s Martin Sundberg scored an empty-netter with 2:27 left. Joey Abate added another empty-netter with 26 seconds left to seal it.
It was the Mavs' first victory against a No. 1 team since Jan. 15, 2016, when UNO also beat the Fighting Hawks 4-3 in overtime.
“We didn’t play our best tonight,” North Dakota coach Brad Berry said during a postgame TV interview. “We made things a lot harder on ourselves than we had to. Give them credit, they played a good road game.”
Freshman Isaiah Saville, in his first game back after he playing for Team USA at the World Juniors tournament, made 26 saves to keep UNO in it. North Dakota held a 29-13 edge in shots.
The teams finish their series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday.
UNO (9-9-3, 3-5-1).........................2 2 2—6
At North Dakota (16-2-2, 7-1-1).....1 1 1—3
First period: 1, UNO, Ward (Abate, Stewart), 0:49. 2, UND, Senden (Smith, Hain), 3:22. 3, UNO, Primeau, 4:56.
Second period: 4, UNO Smallidge (Keck, Prokop), 3:01. 5, UND, Mismash (Kawaguchi), 4:19. 5, UNO, Jordan (Keck), 12:42.
Third period: 6, UND, Weatherby (Bowen), 7:26. 7, UNO, Sundberg (Jones, Pulkkinen), 17:33.
Saves by period: UND, Adam Scheel 2-2-x--4 (4 GA), Peter Thome x-0-3--3 (0 GA). UNO: Isaiah Saville 11-4-11--26 (3 GA)
Penalties-minutes: UND 1-2, UNO 3-6
Power plays: UND 0-3, UNO 0-1