The loss, coupled with losses by first-place Minnesota and second-place Minnesota Duluth on Friday ensured that MSU will go to Duluth for the first round of the conference playoffs next weekend.
The Mavericks got off on a good note against North Dakota, as freshman center Matt Leitner gave them a 1-0 lead just 97 seconds after the opening faceoff. It was his 10th goal of the year. Eriah Hayes assisted on the play.
But North Dakota stormed back and scored three times before the period ended, getting goals from Danny Kristo, Michael Parks and Stephane Pattyn.
Parks’ goal was initially waved off but was awarded after officials reviewed the play on video.
After a scoreless second period, MSU trimmed its deficit to one goal, as sophomore defenseman Josh Nelson scored his first collegiate goal with 7:57 to play. Nelson was playing for the first time since Feb. 4 due to a non-hockey-related injury.
But Kristo scored his second goal of the game and 17th of the year just 3:43 later to give North Dakota some insurance.
Minnesota State outshot North Dakota 27-24. Aaron Dell got the win in goal with 25 saves. Phil Cook stopped 20 shots in the loss.