DENVER — Mark Senden skated to the center dot to take the game's opening faceoff Monday night.
That in itself was a message from UND coach Brad Berry.
After his team lost Sunday night for the first time in more than a month, he wanted Senden, known more for his physicality and puck possession game than putting up gaudy offensive numbers, to set the tone for the series finale.
He did more than that.
Senden won the draw, got the puck in the offensive zone, made a couple of big hits and just 18 seconds later, Matt Kiersted scored to put UND in front.
That was only the start of the night for Senden.
The junior center piled up a career-high four assists as UND beat Denver 5-1 in the series finale in Magness Arena.
On top of his points, Senden was a key penalty killer as UND successfully wiped out Denver's seven advantages, including a five-minute major and a full two-minute five-on-three.
Senden's longtime linemate Gavin Hain scored an empty-net goal, while their new linemate, freshman Louis Jamernik, had an assist.
Kiersted had a goal and an assist to move into the NCHC's scoring lead among defensemen, while Jordan Kawaguchi and Grant Mismash each scored a goal and set each other up for one as they were reunited on the top line.
Defenseman Josh Rieger even got in on the scoring, burying a power-play goal in the final minute of the game. Rieger has two career goals. Both have come in Magness Arena against Denver.
Not only did the win give UND a series split, it also moved the Fighting Hawks into first place in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings, two points ahead of St. Cloud State.
The lone goal for Denver came late in the third on a point shot by defenseman Slava Demin.
UND goalie Adam Scheel, who was pulled after two periods Sunday night, stopped 32 of 33 shots.