Senior defenseman Drew Olson epitomized what Minnesota Duluth did right Saturday night in rallying to tie No. 6-ranked North Dakota 4-4 in overtime of a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game before a standing-room-only crowd of 11,872 at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Eighty-one seconds after North Dakota had taken the lead, with just 7:13 left in regulation, Olson got the puck at the left circle of the offensive zone and connected for his third career goal.
“We stayed cool and kept battling even when North Dakota was pressuring us,” said Olson. “I had all the time in the world and (goalie Clarke Saunders) gave me the top of the net on the short side and I said a prayer and shot it there.”
The Bulldogs (2-5-2 and 0-3-2) didn’t break out of a winless streak, that is now six games (0-4-2), but they did show more spirit than they have recently. UMD came up with its most shots on goal of the season in outshooting North Dakota 46-33, including 17-7 in the third period.
North Dakota (4-3-2 and 2-1-2) had its moments, yet is now 2-2-2 the last six games.
Each team twice held one-goal leads — UMD at 1-0 and 3-2 and North Dakota 2-1 and 4-3.
Junior goalie Aaron Crandall played well in making his first UMD start since a 4-1 loss at Notre Dame on Oct. 19. Saunders, a junior transfer, has probably seen enough of the Bulldogs. While with Alabama-Huntsville last season in a January series at Amsoil Arena, he made 52 saves and 43 saves in 2-1 and 4-3 losses. He had 42 saves Friday.
“We had a strong game and got better as the game went on,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “It was a good, tough battle and probably fitting that it ended in a tie. Overall, it was one of our better games of late. We were consistent for a full game.”
Freshman winger Austin Farley had two goals for UMD and senior Danny Kristo had a pair for North Dakota.
Senior Mike Seidel took advantage of a North Dakota turnover and fired a shot high past Saunders just 3:49 into the game. It was his team-leading sixth goal of the season. An unrelenting shift tied it 1-1 with 6:21 left in the period as North Dakota defenseman Andrew MacWilliam connected from the right point for his first goal of the season.
A four-goal second period left the teams at 3-3 through 40 minutes.
The first of Kristo’s goals came 1:40 into the second period when UMD couldn’t corral a bouncing puck in the crease. Farley scored 3:06 apart for a 3-2 UMD lead midway through the period. He moved the puck from backhand to forehand at the right edge of the crease to score on UMD’s first power play of the game at 6:57. He then swatted at a puck which just did trickle through Saunders for his fourth collegiate goal.
“We’ve been told not to look for the extra-cute goals or pretty goals, just to go to the net and keep working,” said Farley. “We played 60 minutes and just kept at it.”
It took North Dakota just 36 seconds to respond as Kristo smacked a shot from the left circle that went inside the far pipe with 9:21 left in the second.
Rocco Grimaldi put North Dakota up 4-3 with 7:13 to play but Olson responded 81 seconds later. There was no scoring in a five-minute overtime.
“That’s way too many to give up in our own building,” North Dakota Dave Hakstol said. “They worked awfully hard for those chances. They played hard for 60 minutes. So did we. We were a little too sporadic at times. I thought that soaked away some of our momentum at different times. It was a really hard-fought, back-and-forth hockey game. You don’t want to give up 17 shots in the third period too often.”
Minnesota Duluth………… 1-2-1-0—4
North Dakota………………. 1-2-1-0—4
First period — 1. UMD, Mike Seidel 6, 3:49; 2. North Dakota, Andrew MacWilliam 1, 13:39. Penalties — Austin Farley, UMD (cross-checking), 14:23.
Second period — 3. North Dakota, Danny Kristo 2 (Corban Knight, Carter Rowney), 1:40; 4. UMD, Farley 3 (Joe Basaraba, Tony Cameranesi), 6:57 (pp); 5. UMD, Farley 4 (Andy Welinski), 10:03; 6. North Dakota, Kristo 3 (Drake Caggiula, Nick Mattson), 10:39. Penalties — Derek Forbort, North Dakota (slashing), 5:41; Drew Olson, UMD (roughing, facemasking, served by Farley), 16:18; Max Tardy, UMD (roughing), 16:18; Caggiula, North Dakota (roughing), 16:18; Joe Gleason, North Dakota (roughing), 16;18; Knight, North Dakota (slashing), 16:26; MacWilliam, North Dakota (interference), 18:49.
Third period —7. North Dakota, Rocco Grimaldi 4 (Colten St. Clair, Caggiula), 12:47; 8. UMD, Drew Olson 1 (Derik Johnson), 14:08. Penalties — Basaraba, UMD (roughing), 5:45; Seidel, UMD (roughing), 14:47; Welinski, UMD (roughing), 14:47; Kristo, North Dakota (roughing), 14;47; Caggiula, North Dakota (facemasking), 14:47.
Overtime — No scoring. Penalties — None.
Shots on goal — UMD 15-14-17-0—46, North Dakota 11-13-7-2—33. Goalies —Aaron Crandall (1-2), UMD (33 shots-29 saves); Clarke Saunders (3-2-1), North Dakota (46 shots-42 saves). Power plays — UMD 1-of-3, North Dakota 0-of-3. Referees —Todd Anderson, Brad Shepherd. Linesmen — Andy Carton, Nathan Freeman. A —11,872.