(Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)
In front of 11,845 fans at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, the University of North Dakota could not hold a 2-0 first period lead against the Denver Pioneers, needing late help from a Hayden Shaw extra attacker goal to salvage one point on the evening. After a scoreless first overtime making the game a tie for NCAA purposes, Denver did not waste a chance to net the extra NCHC point. Troy Terry turned over Shane Gersich in the neutral zone and walked and fired a superb shot short side to beat UND netminder Cam Johnson.
The first period was where things went well for UND. Cole Smith started things off early firing a puck off a Pioneer defender and into the back of the net a mere 62 seconds into the game. Things started on the right foot for the Fighting Hawks.
A few minutes later, Shane Gersich capitalized on a scramble at the DU net and made it a 2-0 UND lead on the power play. Grant Mismash, and Trevor Olson netted the assists. Olson is now on a four game point streak (two goals, two assists)
In the second stanza, Dylan Gambrell took a feed from Henrik Borgstrom and rifled one past a non-screened UND netminder Cam Johnson on a superb one timer 7:04 into the 2nd to bring the Pioneers within one.
Then the tide of the game really started to change towards the end of the second and into the third. The Pioneers finished the period only down one. In addition, the Pioneers closed the shots on net gap to a mere two (12-10 UND).
In the third period, the Pioneers conquered the UND deficit and even built a lead that almost gave them a full three point win. Rudy Junda got the scoring going 02:11 into the third off a feed from a Tariq Hammond point shot.
A few minutes later, Cole Smith checked the head area of Denver skater Adam Plant. Plant fell to the ice injured and had to leave the game. Smith left as well. He was assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct for a check to the head. After a controversial goaltender interference call nullified a Pioneer goal, Troy Terry got it back and the lead for the Pioneers. For nearly 13 minutes DU looked like they would hang on, but UND was able to battle back to earn the point on the Shaw marker. Denver earned the extra point in the three-on-three with another terrific Terry goal.
UND needs to replicate its first period, they did a good job keeping things simple. In one period the Fighting Hawks were able to simplify their game. They generated multiple good looks from the slot and could not convert any after the initial two markers. If UND can replicate its effort from the first the result could be different.If Denver puts a full game together look for the result to not be as UND fan-friendly as tonight.