Saturday was Hockey Day in Minnesota, and North Dakota was looking to salvage a series split with homestanding Minnesota. The lineups for Saturday were virtually identical to those on Friday, with UND only bringing Colten St. Clair to center the fourth line. Adam Wilcox and Zane Gothberg received the starts in net for Minnesota and North Dakota.
The first minute and change was spent by each team feeling its adversary out, but there were no shots or chances to show for it. A lot of the play was focused on the perimeter until Travis Boyd nearly wrapped a puck home at the 2:40 mark.
The game was opening slowly, and you didn’t enjoy that if you were wearing a black sweater from North Dakota. You needed to lob shots on goal and test Adam Wilcox early on in the game for potential success.
As the first 4:30 ticked off the clock, Travis Boyd’s wrap-around effort was the only shot on goal, but a quick faceoff win-shot for North Dakota tied that number up just short of five minutes in. At the first television break, shots were 3-1 in favor of the home team. The game was still scoreless, but the game also lacked real flow.
Through the first ten minutes of play, there were no penalty calls, which was surprising seeing as the night’s tilt was the last time that the two teams would play as conference rivals. The contest finally had some flow to it in the form of Minnesota shots, but it was North Dakota’s second shot on goal at 11:39 that netted the first goal. The even strength goal went to Danny Kristo and the assist went to Derek Forbort.
The game was tied quickly as Minnesota’s Jake Parenteau lit the lamp on even strength at 12:50. Parenteau had assists from a soft spot which produced a bounce as well as Mark Alt and Christian Isackson.
The barn was alive and well as five minutes was left in period one. Shots were 11-4 in Minnesota’s favor and each team was playing spirited puck on the Olympic ice sheet. As twenty minutes dawned in Minneapolis, the teams were deadlocked on the scoreboard but that didn’t dampen the intensity.
North Dakota and Minnesota were each without a power play in the first twenty minutes, but shots were 12-5 in Minnesota’s favor at the end of the opening period. Coincidental minors were called at 19:30 as Minnesota sent Kyle Rau and North Dakota put Andrew MacWilliam in the box for roughing.
Shots ended twenty minutes at 13-5 for Minnesota.
The first few minutes of period two saw some cheesy play, and the cheese led to a North Dakota penalty at 2:02 as Joe Gleason would go for tripping. Minnesota’s first power play of the game would come up empty as the game was tied. Minnesota couldn’t get a shot away on the advantage, and the common logic was that a misstep by either team would lead to a goal.
At 5:27, Minnesota’s Mark Alt was banished for two minutes as he had a high sticking minor.
The Alt penalty would give North Dakota its first power play of the game. At 6:21, more penalties were assessed as Minnesota's Nate Schmidt would go for cross checking and North Dakota's Michael Parks would go for holding. At 6:31, North Dakota's Mark McMillan would go for hooking to further fill the penalty boxes.
Shots were 16-9 in Minnesota’s favor as the abbreviated power play came to an end, but the most important thing was that the game was still tied. That was, until 9:34. North Dakota took the lead on a breakaway even strength goal by Corban Knight. Knight was assisted by Derek Rodwell on the marker, which was like a nail in the balloon that was Mariucci Arena.
North Dakota furthered their lead to 3-1 at 12:28 as Rocco Grimaldi scored on even strength without an assist to be had. The game was tied on a goal that inspired the crowd from Sam Warning at 13:48. Warning was assisted on even strength by Zach Budish and Nate Condon.
At 16:53, North Dakota’s Danny Kristo was sent to the penalty box for a tripping minor, much to the delight of the Minnesota students. Minnesota’s third power play of the night dazzled the spectators but couldn’t get much done in the first minute.
The rest of the power play didn’t bring a lot of confidence to the home fans, and at the end of two periods, shots were 21-13 to Minnesota. Power plays had Minnesota at 0-3 and North Dakota at 0-1.
The first five minutes of the third period featured a 2-1 shots on goal differential in favor of Minnesota, who was busily trying to tie the game as they were going for a weekend sweep.
At 7:20 in, UND's Drake Caggiula netted a goal on even strength thanks to assists from Rocco Grimaldi and Joe Gleason.
At 11:10, Minnesota's Nick Bjugstad made it 4-3 on even strength on an assist from Erik Haula. The goal was Bjugstad's thirteenth. Minnesota was not done, however, as the home team tied the game at four at 17:02. Nate Condon had the even strength marker on an assist from Zach Budish.
Shots at the end of the third period were 34-26 to Minnesota. One additional Minnesota shot couldn't produce a winner in overtime, so shots ended at 35-26 to Minnesota. UND finished 0-1 on the power play, as Minnesota finished 0-3.
Minnesota resumes play next weekend with a home and home series versus the Minnesota State Mavericks. Friday’s game is on Big Ten Network.
Geoff Discher is Examiner.com's Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner as well as the National College Hockey Examiner. Leave a comment below, or feel free to reach him at Disch61@hotmail.com with comments, story ideas, or any general talk surrounding college hockey. You can find him on Facebook as well by clicking here as well as here and joining the conversation from the social media side as well. He's always chock full of fact and opinion. I’m also on Twitter @GophHkyExmnr. Check it out!
Until next time, I'll see you at the rink!