- Associated Press - Friday, February 21, 2014

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) - Luke Johnson provided the offense and Zane Gothberg the defense as North Dakota beat Minnesota-Duluth 3-0 Friday to move into share of the lead in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

Eleventh-ranked North Dakota (17-9-3, 12-7-0) started the night three points behind St. Cloud State for the top spot in the league. But Miami, which lost 9-2 last Saturday at UND, beat St. Cloud State 4-3.

UND coach Dave Hakstol said it was typical of games between the two former Western Collegiate Hockey Conference foes.

“There was an edge to this game, but that’s always been there between these two teams,” Hakstol said. “No question it ramped up.”

North Dakota finished with six minor penalties, while the Bulldogs had nine penalties for 29 minutes.

Johnson scored goals in the first and third periods and assisted on Rocco Grimaldi’s goal in the second.

Gothberg, who returned to the lineup last weekend after a long inactive stint due to injury, made 33 saves to notch his first shutout. He extended his personal-best unbeaten streak to 11 games (10-0-1).

“You need your goaltender to be good at different stretches during a game,” Hakstol said. “That first few minutes of the second period was a critical stretch and he was good. He did his job.”

Johnson’s power-play goal at 7:49 of the first made it 1-0. Grimaldi’s goal at 4:46 of the second got UND back on track and his unassisted goal at 12:52 of the third period iced the game.

“I really liked the mentality he had on the power play. When (the puck) came to him he was immediately moving,” Hakstol said. “Not a lot has gone right for Luck offensively in the last month but he’s been working hard.”

North Dakota scored once in six power-play chances and held the Bulldogs scoreless in four man advantages.

“Our specialty teams helped us win tonight,” Hakstol said.

North Dakota continued its typical second-half surge. It improved to 13-2-1 in its last 16 games.

Aaron Crandall made 18 saves for the Bulldogs (13-12-4, 8-9-2), who have lost three straight games. Minnesota-Duluth was swept at home last weekend.

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