- Associated Press - Saturday, March 8, 2014

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - Western Michigan played spoiler Saturday, beating North Dakota 2-1 to deny UND a share of the Penrose Cup that goes to the regular season champion in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

Colton Hargrove scored twice, including a short-hander in the third period, as Western Michigan presented the Cup and the top-seed to St. Cloud State. A North Dakota win would have led to a tie and the top seed.

UND (20-11-3, 15-9-0) will still host an NCHC playoff series.

“Tonight really stings, yet we have an awful lot to look forward to,” North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said. “We have built something that’s quality. . We look forward to our playoff series next weekend against Colorado College.”

Western Michigan got on the board first on the first of two goals by Colton Hargrove.

Hargrove got the puck at the blue line, skated in and wristed it past a defender and UND goalie Zane Gothberg for a 1-0 lead at 7:22 of the first period. It was the first power-play goal of the weekend for the Broncos, who were 0-for-4 in Friday’s 2-0 loss.

North Dakota answered midway through the second period, also on the power play. Rocco Grimaldi skated across the crease and took a shot that Lukas Hafner stopped. The puck dropped straight down in front of Hafner and Stephane Pattyn stuffed the puck through the pads at 8:55.

That was the only goal allowed by Hafner, who made 28 saves.

Hargrove ruined a five-minute power play for UND by scoring a short-handed goal early in the third period. UND was assessed a penalty on the play, ruining a five-minute chance.

“I thought they played a good 60-minute hockey game,” Hakstol said. “The first few shifts of the third period set the tone. Too many defensive zone face-offs for us. They just won more puck battles.”

Zane Gothberg made 22 stops for North Dakota (20-11-3, 15-9-0), which will play at home for the first round of the playoffs for the 12th straight year. That is the longest current streak in the nation.

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