UMD pucksters top Gophers in OT 4-3Minnesota Sports No. 20-ranked UMD won 4-3 at Mariucci Arena Friday, rallying from a two-goal deficit.
From Duluth News-Tribune.com
MINNEAPOLIS — In the same building where Minnesota Duluth pulled off a miracle in March, in the Division I playoffs, the Bulldogs came up with another stunner Friday night to open a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series before a crowd of 10,188 spectators.
UMD trailed by two goals in the second period, came back to score three straight for a third-period lead, saw Minnesota tie it with 2:19 left in the third period — and then sophomore center Travis Oleksuk found a spot under the glove of screened goalie Alex Kangas for a goal with 12 seconds left in overtime on a shot from the right circle.
No. 20-ranked UMD won 4-3 at Mariucci Arena. Against Princeton at Mariucci last March, the Bulldogs scored twice in the last 40 seconds of regulation to tie the game and then won in overtime to reach the NCAA quarterfinals.
“I liked the character we showed after getting behind. We never stopped working,” said Oleksuk, who has two goals this season. “Justin Fontaine and Rob Bordson were battling alongside the net and somehow the puck bounced out to me [at the right circle]. I don’t know how it happened, but I knew I had to get a shot off quick.”
The victory left UMD (8-4-1 overall) at 5-3-1 in the WCHA. The loss left Minnesota (4-6-1) at 3-5-1 in the league. It was a second straight win over the Gophers, including a 2-1 win in the 2009 WCHA Final Five play-in game.
Center Jack Connolly had two goals, Cody Danberg had a goal and an assist, Bordson had two assists, and goalie Kenny Reiter made 26 saves for his third win.
The victory came after UMD trailed 2-0 just five minutes into the second period on goals by Jordan Schroeder and Jake Hansen.
“Guys dug down and showed some heart after that. It was quiet on our bench for a while, but we were able to get some momentum back,” said Connolly who leads Division I in scoring with nine goals and 20 points in 13 games.
What turned things slightly back in UMD’s favor was a Connolly power-play goal at 7:09 of the second period. He took a Bordson pass from behind the net, chopped the puck down at the right edge of the crease and into the net.
With 4:18 left, Danberg carried the puck through the offensive zone before smacking a back-hand attempt that went off the skate of Minnesota defenseman David Fischer. The game was 2-2 entering the third period.
“The critical moment of the game was when we got up by two and took a penalty [Mike Hoeffel for hooking] and Duluth scored. That took away all our momentum,” said Minnesota coach Don Lucia.
Reiter made a tough save on Taylor Mattson at 2:11 of the third period and UMD defenseman Chad Huttel got a shoulder on a Hansen shot headed for what was an open net at 4:31. A minute later, Jack Connolly scored from the right edge for a 3-2 lead, then former Virginia High School star Nico Sacchetti connected on a power play with less than 2:19 to go (following a Connolly penalty).
Oleksuk gave UMD the second chance to celebrate an overtime victory at Mariucci Arena in eight months. The Bulldogs led in total shots 32-29, including 4-0 in sudden death.
“I liked how our guys stayed with it,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “We turned the puck over a lot and got sloppy at times, and we weren’t as strong on the puck as we have been. But we kept with it, got back into the game, and got important points on the road.”