Duluth splits with UND in men's hockeyBulldogs win in overtime
By: Jayson Hajdu, UND
DULUTH, Minn. -- Minnesota Duluth junior right winger Justin Fontaine scored a power-play goal 12 seconds into overtime to give the host Bulldogs a stunning 3-2 victory over the Fighting Sioux tonight at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.
The goal capped a wild finish that saw the 12th-ranked Bulldogs rally from a 2-0 deficit in the third period, including a disputed tying goal in the game's final minute.
With the Sioux clinging to a 2-1 lead late in regulation and the two teams skating four aside, UMD pulled netminder Brady Hjelle in favor of an extra attacker. During a chaotic scramble in front of the Sioux net, an errant Jack Connolly shot found its way to Travis Oleksuk beside the right post and he tucked the puck past a sprawled Brad Eidsness (So., Chestermere, Alberta) with just 33.9 seconds showing on the clock.
However, just seconds before the goal, the puck appeared to have deflected off of a stick behind the net and ricochet into the protective netting above the glass, which would stop the play. But no whistle came, play continued and the Bulldogs tied the score to send the game to overtime, despite heavy protest from the Sioux.
On the first rush of overtime, Connolly, stationed just inside the Sioux blueline at the right point, hit a streaking Fontaine in the slot and UMD's leading goal-scorer had an easy re-direct past Eidsness for the winner.
"I'm not going to make an excuse for it," said UND sophomore winger Jason Gregoire (Winnipeg, Manitoba). "We gave up two goals in the third period. We have to be better in the third period. We can't give up two-goal leads like that."
The Sioux were indeed in the driver's seat with a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes on goals by junior forward Brad Malone (Miramichi, New Brunswick) and sophomore forward Brett Hextall (Manhattan Beach, Calif.).
Malone opened the scoring 14:54 into the second period, one-timing an Evan Trupp (Jr., Anchorage, Alaska) backhand centering pass for his fourth goal of the season.
Hextall made it a 2-0 lead with his own fourth goal of the year just 37 seconds into the second period. Hextall gained control of the puck on the side boards in the UMD zone, walked to the bottom of the right circle and snuck a wrist shot above Hjelle's glove on the short side.
Staring at a two-goal deficit and in danger of suffering a home sweep, UMD came out gunning to start the period and got on the board just 75 seconds into the frame. After a strong Bulldog forecheck, the puck squirted in front to Kyle Schmidt and he was able to poke it through Eidsness for his second goal of the series.
"We weren't back on our heels the whole period, but we lost the first two shifts and we allowed them to get the game back to within one goal," said UND head coach Dave Hakstol.
UMD had several quality scoring chances leading up to the game's final minute, but Eidsness was equal to the task at every turn, including three brilliant stops on Connolly from in close.
Eidsness finished with 25 saves. Hjelle had 26.
UND went 0-for-3 on the power-play while the Bulldogs went 1-for-4.
"We had a good start," said Hakstol "We played a pretty good hockey game, but we did not close out a game that we had a two-goal lead at the start of the third period.
"It hurts not to get the job done."
UND (9-5-2, 6-5-1 WCHA) returns home to face Wisconsin next weekend at Ralph Engelstad Arena, the final regular season series for the Sioux prior to the Christmas break.
Notes: UND was without senior forward Chris VandeVelde (Moorhead, Minn.), who is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury ... Gregoire extended his point streak with an assist on Hextall's goal ... UND was 9-0-1 when leading after two periods prior to tonight.