Freshman Scheel sparkles in 4-1 win over No. 6 Denver

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) -- It's rare indeed when a goalie stands out offensively and defensively in his team's victory.

Freshman Adam Scheel did exactly that Friday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena, stopping 21 of 22 University of Denver shots and drawing the lone assist on defenseman Colton Poolman's 185-foot bank shot into an empty net with 63 seconds left in the University of North Dakota's 4-1 win over Denver.

Oh, did we mention he also stopped DU's Brett Stapley on a penalty shot with the score standing at 3-1 at 17:58 of the third period?

UND's second straight National Collegiate Hockey Conference victory over a top-10 nationally-ranked team boosted the Fighting Hawks (3-4) into a tie for fourth in league standings, tied with Denver going into Saturday's 7:07 p.m. rematch.

It was a big night for UND freshmen. Gavin Hain scored his first collegiate goal on a backhander after a faceoff win by Mark Senden at 7:46 of the first period, and Senden scored his second (and game-winning goal) at 12:56 when he buried a feed from behind the net from Cole Smith.

Sophomore defenseman Matt Kiersted scored his fourth of the season at 2:47 of the third period on a feed from senior center Nick Jones, back in the lineup after missing eight games with an injury.

Denver's Colin Staub ruined Scheel's bid for his second career shutout when the Pioneers converted a UND turnover in the defensive zone into their lone goal at 9:29 of the third period.

UND mustered a season-low 15 shots on goal, but played tight defensively, allowing the Pioneers just 22 shots.

Nobody was happier to have Jones back in the UND lineup than Jones himself. "It feels like forever, 4-5 weeks, whatever it is,'' Jones said. "It's nice to get back out there with the guys.''

Jones said his conditioning after rehabbing the injury still has a ways to go. "I felt good,'' he said. "There's times where you're tired. First time I got on the ice was this Monday, so I haven't done much the last few weeks.''

In a game featuring tight checking from both teams offense was scarce on both ends. But thanks go some sniped shots by Hain, Senden and Kiersted and a banked clearing effort by Poolman that banked off the boards and slid nearly the length of the into the clinching goal, the Hawks got the best of the chances.

Notes: Senden, Scheel and Jones were named the game's three stars ... UND went 0-1 on the power play while Denver was scoreless in four tries ... UND owned a 26-19 faceoff advantage, led by Rhett Gardner's 14-7 effort.

Virg Foss covered UND hockey for 35 seasons for the Grand Forks Herald, including 5 NCAA title teams, before his retirement. Since his retirement, he's reported on UND hockey games exclusively for FightingHawks.com. This marks his 50th season since he began covering UND hockey in 1969.