GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Sophomore Joel Janatuinen recorded a hat trick to lead the first-ranked University of North Dakota men's hockey team to a 5-2 win over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) on Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena. With the win, the Fighting Hawks improve to 3-0, while the Engineers drop to 0-3.
RPI sophomore Evan Tironese (Qualicum Beach, BC/Alberni Valley Bulldogs) opened the scoring at 3:56 of the first period, burying a one-timer on the rush, off of a centering pass from senior captain Riley Bourbonnais (Rochester, NY/Lincoln Stars). Junior Lou Nanne(Edina, MN/Sioux Falls Stampede) picked the secondary assist on Tironese's first goal of the year.
Janatuinen (Espoo, Finland/Sioux City) pulled the hosts even (1-1) at 15:37, ripping a shot inside the right point from between the circles. Helpers went to Ludvig Hoff (Oslo, Norway/Lincoln Stars) and Austin Poganski (St. Cloud, MN/Tri-City).
North Dakota took a 2-1 lead, 5:52 into the second stanza, on freshman Tyson Jost's (St. Albert, AB/Penticton) second goal of the season. After a scrum in front of the RPI goal, the puck popped loose to Jost in the left circle, who fired through traffic and into the back of the net.
Janatuinen then netted the eventual game-winner at 7:10 of the second, when Hoff stole the puck behind the RPI net and fed Janatuinen for the easy finish on the doorstep. The tally gave UND a 3-1 lead.
After killing one of their six minor penalties in the game, the Engineers pulled back to within 3-2 on a breakaway goal by senior Jake Wood (Georgetown, ON/Lincoln Stars). Freshman Will Reilly (Toronto, ON/Nanaimo Clippers) threaded a two-line pass down the middle of the ice for Wood, who made a move to his left, before sticking the puck past North Dakota junior netminder Cam Johnson (Flint, MI/Waterloo).
The Fighting Hawks created some separation in the third, starting with a tally at 5:39 of the period. Freshman Cole Smith (Brainerd, MN/Steinbech) netted his first collegiate goal after tipping the puck off the left wing boards to himself and finishing off a partial breakaway. The goal, which made it 4-2, was assisted on by sophomore Chris Wilkie (Omaha, NE/Tri-City) and freshman Andrew Peski (Orleans, ON/Tri-City).
Janatuinen then finished off the hat trick at 8:56 of the third, slipping his way through the right circle, before roofing a shot past RPI freshman goaltender Chase Perry (Andover, MN/Wenatchee Wild).
Johnson (3-0) finished with 12 saves (4 in each period), while Perry (0-3) had 33.
Both teams went 0 for 6 on the power play.
The Engineers are back in action next weekend, when they host Niagara and RIT at the Houston Field House on Friday (7pm) and Saturday (7pm), respectively. North Dakota welcomes Bemidji State to Ralph Engelstad for a pair next weekend.