MINNEAPOLIS -- Grant Mismash was the first to start clapping.
The University of North Dakota forward from nearby Edina, Minn., held his hands over his head and motioned to the crowd, which cheered in approval.
Assistant coach Karl Goehring joined in, raising his arms up and down, signaling for the massive contingent of UND supporters at 3M Arena at Mariucci to get louder. They did.
Then, head coach Brad Berry gave a fist pump as nearly his entire UND hockey team tapped their sticks on the ice as they skated toward the visitor locker room.
They had good reason to enjoy this one.
UND beat its biggest rival, Minnesota, 3-2 in a down-to-the-wire series finale Friday night to finish off the program's second sweep of the Gophers in Minneapolis in the last 40 college hockey seasons.
“It’s hard to describe,” said UND forward Cole Smith of Brainerd, Minn. “You grow up hearing about the rivalry. To come in here as a senior and play like this and get two games, watching our fans come down here, and the way our team stuck together, it’s just awesome.”
Captain Colton Poolman said: “Not many teams get an opportunity to do that. I’m just so proud of our guys.”
Berry said: “In order to win games at the end of the year, you have to win games on the road in tough environments. We did that this weekend.
Prior to the start of the season, Berry emphasized that UND needed to improve its record away from Ralph Engelstad Arena after posting a 5-11-1 mark on the road last season.
So far, consider that done.
In the last month, UND won a series at Denver’s Magness Arena for the first time since 2003. This weekend, it joined the 2006-07 squad -- led by Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie and Ryan Duncan -- as the only UND teams to sweep in Minneapolis since the 1979-80 NCAA title team.
Shane Pinto, Jasper Weatherby and Jordan Kawaguchi -- three players on different lines -- scored the goals. Sophomore goalie Adam Scheel stopped 23 of 25 shots and improved to 3-0 in this rivalry.
The Fighting Hawks extended their unbeaten streak to 11 games -- the program’s longest since 2010-11 -- and improved to 12-1-2 overall.
UND now has four consecutive wins in this rivalry for the first time in 20 years.
Since the 1960s, the only other teams to win four straight in this rivalry were the 1980 national title team, the 1987 Hrkac Circus national championship team and the 1998-99 squad.
“I can see how that’s a rarity,” Smith said. “These two teams have battled back and forth. “As tough as it is to win two games in college hockey, to be able to come into a rivalry like this and pull out two games is unbelievable.”
Weekends like this are why Poolman opted to come back for his senior season.
“Our group is clicking right now really well,” Poolman said. “I love seeing it. It’s such a fun locker room to be in. Guys are having so much fun. It’s some of the funnest hockey we’re playing right now. I’m just happy to contribute my little part and I know every guy is happy to chip in just what they can do and that’s what’s working for us right now.”
After hammering Minnesota 9-3 in the series opener -- tying UND’s program record for the most-ever goals scored in a game against its rival -- the Fighting Hawks came back for the series finale decked out in their black jerseys for Black Friday.
But the Gophers came back with a considerably stronger effort.
They took the lead just 2 minutes, 41 seconds into the first period and outshot UND 25-22 for the game. It marked only the second time in 15 games this season an opponent has outshot the Fighting Hawks.
But Pinto buried a feed from Judd Caulfield at 12:42 of the first period, Weatherby jumped on a rebound of a Poolman shot at 3:04 of the second and Kawaguchi tipped home a Matt Kiersted pass at 9:48 of the second to give UND enough offense.
The Gophers made it a one-goal game at 6:27 of the third, but UND shut the door the rest of the way.
“The biggest thing is knowing if there’s some momentum shifts or adversity in games, you can withstand that, you can persevere and pull games out,” Berry said. “I got back to the last play of the game. Dixon Bowen puts his face in front of a shot. Those are the things that win you games. Those are the little things that win games.”
'They can have all the turkey they want'
It was an odd weekend considering the series opener was played on Thanksgiving Day. It was the first college hockey game on the holiday since Michigan and Wisconsin in 2000.
Berry said he liked the setup.
"We talked to our guys on Wednesday -- the Wednesday night meal before we played on Thursday," Berry said. "Our guys have made a commitment to digging in and being tight as a team. We call ourselves family here -- coaching staff and players. There's no better place to be than on the road, when you have to be around each other all the time on Thanksgiving. I thought it was great.
"It's fitting that family gets together on Thanksgiving, and we're a tight family."
Berry did not feed them turkey for the pregame meal, though.
"Now, they can have all the turkey they want this weekend," he said.