- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota scored three times in the third period to beat Nebraska-Omaha 4-2 Friday and move into a share of the lead in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

UND goalie Clarke Saunders made 31 saves to win for the second time in three games since his return to the lineup in place of starting goalie Zane Gothberg.

With the win, 16th-ranked UND moved into a first-place tie with St. Cloud State in the conference.

“It turned out to be a good win,” North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said. “I thought we played a good first period and a good third period. The second period, Clarke Saunders was the difference for us. We got sloppy and gave up some opportunities. I thought we were our own worst enemy. Clarke did a good job getting us through that period and we made some plays and won it in the third.”

Saunders made 18 saves in the second period, including six in a series of two attacks set up by UND turnovers right in front of the net. The Mavericks outshot UND 18-5 in the second period.

Michael Parks’ goal 35 seconds into the third period snapped a 1-1 tie and Brendan O’Donnell added an insurance goal at 8:48. It was O’Donnell’s first goal since Oct. 18.

Dillon Simpson had two assists for UND.

Parks and Mark MacMillan had a goal and assist each for UND (14-8-3, 9-6-0-0), which won for the 10th time in its last 12 games. Rocco Grimaldi scored into an empty net.

Defenseman Brian Cooper snapped a scoreless tie at 8:15 of the second period for UNO (10-13-2, 7-5-2-0). Cooper wristed a shot through traffic for his first college goal in his 56th game.

UNO’s second goal came off a fortunate break when a deflected shot bounded high in the air and came down on Saunders‘ back and rolled into the net. That goal attributed to Ryan Walters at 17:29 cut the lead to 3-2 and UNO coach Dean Blais pulled his goal at 1:58.

“There were some bounces out there that created some problems,” Hakstol said. “Some of them went our way tonight.”

With goalie Reed Peters off the ice, the net was left open for a final goal. Grimaldi flipped the puck into the net from near his own goal line as time was running out.

Peters had 13 saves.