NCHC roundup: Jost scores twice as North Dakota sweeps in Omaha

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OMAHA, Neb.  – Tyson Jost’s top priority following Friday’s win against No. 18 Omaha was to find his hotel bed as soon as possible. The freshman forward had just played his third game in three nights on less than an hour of sleep.

On Saturday, he said it finally caught up with him.

“I was a little bit more tired this game,” Jost said. “Last night I was running on adrenaline a little bit more than today.”

However, after scoring two goals, with an assist and leading the team in shots, there weren’t many signs to suggest that, as Jost and the Fighting Hawks won 7-3 in the series sweep.

“I thought our team did a great job; it was awesome to get those three points again and get that sweep,” Jost said. “I like where our team’s going; we’re headed in the right direction.”

Omaha struck first on an early power-play goal, but the No. 7 Fighting Hawks regained the lead on back-to-back power-play goals and never gave it up. Omaha got it back to 3-2 when Austin Ortega found a wide-open Fredrik Olofsson in front of the net to cut the deficit to one, but Jost scored his two goals following in what would seal the deal.

Goaltending was the crutch on the Omaha side, with 16 goals allowed in two nights of play between goaltenders Evan Weninger and Kris Oldham. Weninger stayed in net for the Mavericks Saturday, earning 29 saves in a weekend to forget.

“You’re not going to beat a team like North Dakota with questionable goals,” Omaha coach Dean Blais said. “Evan’s [Weninger] played well the whole year; he didn’t have a good game tonight, that’s the bottom line.

“Last night the whole team had a bad night in front of him. Tonight, he was a little bit off.”

The Fighting Hawks scored three of their goals on the power play and notched a short-handed goal, the latter coming from Gage Ausmus, who prior to the night before had not scored since 2014.

Despite giving up a goal on the penalty kill in the opening minutes, UND buckled down and channeled the same energy that led to their 9-1 win the night before.

“I liked how we started,” UND goaltender Cam Johnson said. “We took a penalty at the start, not something you want to do, but how we responded to that was huge and obviously after beating them 9-1, it’s a little bit tougher to get up, but I thought our guys did a great job in responding to that.”

Jost’s roller-coaster stretch of hockey finally comes to a close with the win. Scoring goals in back-to-back games after a gut-wrenching loss to the United States in the World Juniors championship helped ease the pain of defeat. It also helped ease the transition back to college play in a week of hockey that may never be repeated by him or anyone else.

“I think it was hard for me for sure, coming off that loss in the finals; honestly, a lot of tears were shed that night,” Jost said. “To come back here to all my brothers is something that made it a lot easier I think. We just have such a tight-knit team. To see everyone just made me so much happy.”

His teammates returned the feeling, praising the freshman for battling among circumstances where many would have taken a night or two off.

“If there’s one guy on the team that can do it, it’s him,” Johnson said. “That shows what kind of person he is and how much he loves this team, because a lot of guys would have wanted to take the weekend off, but he came in here amped up to get back out there with us.”

The Fighting Hawks claw closer to the top in the NCHC standings with another three points, staying at No. 3 in the conference. The Mavericks sit at seventh, a point behind St. Cloud State and Miami.

The Mavericks face Colorado College and Miami in back-to-back series, but then face a grueling stretch against Denver and Minnesota-Duluth on the road afterwards. North Dakota returns to Grand Forks to face Miami and Minnesota-Duluth in back-to-back home series.

NCHC roundup

No. 3 Denver 6, Arizona State 1
Henrik Borgström and Troy Terry each had two goals as the Pioneers scored six unanswered for the series sweep at home. Denver held ASU to 18 shots on the game.

Miami 4, No. 20 St. Cloud State 1
A short-handed goal from Kiefer Sherwood got the RedHawks started and three others chipped in a score for a 4-1 win and series sweep over St. Cloud State.

Colorado College 2, at No. 1 Minnesota Duluth 1
Mason Bergh and Teemu Kivihalme each scored a goal and Alex Leclerc made 26 saves for the Tigers in an upset over the No. 1 Bulldogs. Colorado College came away with four league points on the weekend.

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