The first outdoor game in UND history - the Mutual of Omaha Battles on Ice - promised to be a memorable event and it more than delivered.
A 2 ½-hour delay to start the game due to poor ice conditions, an eruption of coolant during an intermission, stretches of rain and mist, and a renowned National Hockey League anthem singer provided multiple storylines.
But most memorable from a UND perspective was a 5-2 victory over host Nebraska Omaha that gave the visitors a critical WCHA series sweep and sole possession of second place in the league.
The delay was the result of deteriorating ice conditions caused by warm sunshine over the temporary ice surface at TD Ameritrade Park, home of the College World Series. But when the puck was finally dropped at 6:35 p.m. Central, UND came out swinging.
UND blitzed the Mavericks with goals by Jordan Schmaltz (Fr., Verona, Wis.), Nick Mattson (So., Chanhassen, Minn.) and Mitch MacMillan (Jr., Penticton, British Columbia) in the opening 10 minutes, chasing UNO netminder John Faulkner to the bench and delighting a partisan North Dakota crowd of 13,650.
Senior Corban Knight (High River, Alberta) made it 4-0 in the final minute of the second period when he deflected an Andrew MacWilliam (Sr., Calgary, Alberta) point shot, giving UND an insurance goal that would eventually come in handy.
UNO made things interesting in the third period on goals by Josh Archibald and Dominic Zombo - both sons of former UND standouts - to cut the gap to 4-2. But senior Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) sealed the win with a breakaway goal with 1:18 remaining, his WCHA-leading 18th goal of the season.
The win catapulted UND (16-8-6, 11-5-6 WCHA) into sole possession of second place in the WCHA, three points behind league-leading St. Cloud State with six games remaining in the regular season.
Freshman Zane Gothberg (Thief River Falls, Minn.) was rock-solid once again between the pipes, stopping 29 of 31 shots for his third straight win.
Faulkner stopped two of five shots before being pulled for Dayn Belfour, who stopped 20 of 22 shots.
UND is off next week and returns to action Feb. 22-23 at Denver.