If Superman had kryptonite, the North Dakota men’s hockey team has Minnesota Duluth.
In an early-season showdown of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the nation, No. 2 Duluth got three goals and five total points from senior forward Alex Iafallo in 5-2, 3-0 sweep of the previously unbeaten defending national champion Fighting Hawks. It is the Bulldogs’ third straight win (Frozen Four Faceoff in March) over UND and snapped North Dakota’s 12-game winning streak. It was also UMD’s first sweep of North Dakota since 1995.
The Bulldogs, 5-1-2 and 2-0-0 in the NCHC, will take over the country’s No. 1 ranking this week and Iafallo earns ASN’s first Player of the Week honor this season.
Iafallo’s offensive outburst was a throwback to his USHL days with the Fargo Force when he scored 20 goals and had 23 assists in 50 games. An NCHC all-academic the past three seasons, Iafallo is a 6-foot, 180-pound defensive forward who is undrafted but is gathering plenty of looks these days.
Iafallo is the first Bulldog to record a hat trick since current Tampa Bay Lightning winger J.T. Brown did it on Feb. 3, 2012 against Alaska Anchorage. He was a plus-2 for the weekend as he and line mates Dominic Toninato and Joey Anderson were matched against UND’s high-powered line of first-round picks Brock Boeser and Tyson Jost and kept them quiet the entire series. UMD’s defense blocked 33 shots over the weekend.