Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
“There are 15 good teams in this tournament and there’s North Dakota.” AIC Head Coach Eric Lang talked about playing to a script to beat the Fighting Hawks of the University of North Dakota. While his team did not defeat the Fighting Hawks Friday, they played the last two periods against them showing what it took to hang with them on the national stage. Enter the Bulldogs of Minnesota Duluth, who took the three period script, and added five chapters worth of overtimes to it to author a 3-2 overtime win over the Fighting Hawks.
His team played close to that ideal script for the night tonight, but did so in a tumultuous way. They earned a 3-2 overtime win in five overtimes on a Luke Mylymok shot that went through the five hole of Adam Scheel. The goal came on a rush where he walked down the left side of the ice and just squeaked a puck through the five hole of Scheel to win the game. Along the way Duluth had to change goaltenders in an overtime period, and had a goal disallowed in another. In addition to that, they dealt with a UND team that came mere inches from ending their season at any time along the way. Ryan Fanti got the win with six saves, and Zach Stejskal finished with 57 saves on 59 shots.
Minnesota Duluth played a sensational 58 minutes and 41 seconds of it in regulation, and then the Fighting Hawks quickly erased their hopes of winning in regulation.
At that point, with the net empty and an extra attacker on the ice, Collin Adams banked the puck off freshman goaltender Zach Stejskal and in to give UND some needed hope. 43 seconds later, Jordan Kawaguchi put home a wide open shot off a Shane Pinto rebound that came right to him. He made no mistake, and the game went to overtime. This all happened after an 80 second span earlier in the third where the Bulldogs went ahead 2-0. Jackson Cates made a falling down pass to Hunter Lellig at the blue line, then a few moments later Lellig fired the shot that went off Cates and past Adam Scheel.
The first two periods of this game had all of the intensity of the third, but none of the goal scoring
The first overtime had what looked to be the winner from Jackson Cates, but it was called off for the entry being ruled offsides, it was close, but ultimately the correct call. The second overtime had the Fighting Hawks getting a few more looks but to no avail. In the third overtime, the Fighting Hawks continued to run things, but despite getting a puck on top of the goal, they did not get the winner then. This pattern continued into the fifth overtime as just before Mylmok’s goal sent everyone home. Now the Bulldogs move on to Pittsburgh to face the University of Massachusetts Minutemen.
More from this game will come later today, including some thoughts on this historic evening of men’s college hockey.
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