GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Forward Joel Janatuinen had four goals all of last season. He had three on Saturday as No. 1-ranked North Dakota beat RPI 5-2 in men’s college hockey.
Janatuinen scored in each period for the unbeaten and defending national champion Fighting Hawks (3-0-0).
“It definitely feels good,” Janatuinen said. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my linemates for a lot of work before those goals. We’re just having fun out there.”
Tyson Jost and Cole Smith also had goals for UND, which outshot the Engineers 38-14.
The Engineers (0-3-0) scored first when Evan Tironese redirected a pass from Riley Bourbonnais past UND goalie Cam Johnson. Tironese skated down the slot and Bourbannais’ pass went under a sliding Hayden Shaw.
“Anytime a team comes in here, they’re going to give you their best early on,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “I don’t think we started that badly. We just made a couple of mistakes that led to a couple of their opportunities.”
North Dakota (3-0-0) tied it on a Janatuinen goal at 15:37. Janatuinen camped between the circles and one-timed a feed from Ludvig Hoff past RPI goalie Chase Perry. Hoff had two assists.
Jost broke the tie at 5:52 of second period and Janatuinen netted his second goal of the game at 7:10 for a 3-1 lead. Both goals came from just in front of Perry, who never saw Jost’s goal through traffic.
RPI’s Jake Wood scored his first goal of the season on a breakaway at 12:31 to cut the deficit to one goal. Will Reilly picked up the puck near the neutral zone and fed Wood breaking in alone.
UND got an insurance goal at 5:39 of the third period when Smith outraced Mike Prapavessis to the puck, flicked it ahead and beat Perry on the break.
Janatuin’s third goal came at 8:56 of the third.
North Dakota goalie Cam Johnson had an easy night in net with 12 saves, while Perry turned away 33 shots.
Each team was 0-for-6 on the power play.
“Early in the season, when you are trying to find your way offensively, the biggest thing is making sure you are sound defensively,” Berry said.