- Associated Press - Saturday, February 18, 2017

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - North Dakota lost six games in its march to last season’s NCAA men’s hockey championship. It’s lost that many to just two teams this season.

Matheson Iacopelli scored twice in the first period to lead Western Michigan to a 3-2 win over the Fighting Hawks on Saturday and a sweep of their National Collegiate Hockey Conference series.

It was the third time North Dakota has been swept this season. Minnesota Duluth swept the Hawks in Duluth and in Grand Forks.

Western Michigan freshman goalie Ben Blacker made 44 saves for the Broncos (18-8-4, 11-8-1-0). He had 32 in Friday’s 4-2 win. WMU is solidly entrenched in third place in the NCHC.

North Dakota (15-13-3, 8-11-1-1) lost for the sixth time in eight games and is in danger of missing out on home ice in the NCHC playoffs for the first time in 15 years. The top four teams have home ice.

Iacopelli scored twice in the first period and Taylor Fleming netted the game-winner 3:03 into the second period. Blacker made that stand up with 32 saves in the last two periods.

UND outshot the Broncos 46-19. The Fighting Hawks’ top line of Shane Gersich, Brock Boeser and Tyson Jost took 23 shots and scored one goal.

Gersich and Tucker Poolman scored for UND, which got 16 saves from Cam Johnson.

UND outshot the Broncos 46-19.

“It’s kind of frustrating, with the effort we had,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “It’s been reminiscent of the last little while. We dominated every category except the scoreboard again . It is Groundhog Day.”

Iacopelli got things started with the first of his two goals off turnovers in the first period. Iacopelli give Western Michigan a 1-0 lead at 3:52 of the first period. He scored again off a Chris Wilkie turnover at 13:02.

The Broncos made it 3-0 on a goal by Fleming off a faceoff at 3:03. It was Fleming’s first goal of the season.

Gersich gave the Fighting Hawks some life with his 19th goal of the season just nine seconds after Fleming’s goal.

UND outshot the Broncos 17-4 in the second period but failed to make up ground and went into the third period trailing by two goals.

With 5:19 left, Tucker Poolman cut the deficit to 3-2 on the power play with his sixth goal of the season. But that was the last goal Blacker allowed.

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