The University of Denver Pioneers (14-6-6, 8-4-4-3) tied the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (12-8-8, 6-6-4-2), 1-1, before earning the extra point in the NCHC standings on Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Denver skated to the same outcome on a 3-3 tie on Friday night in Grand Forks.
“It was a playoff-type game,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “It was a hard game to gain anything advantageously offensively or defensively. There weren’t a lot of shots and weren’t a lot of grade-A scoring chances.”
“We’re still in a position to take first place, but we’re going to need to play better hockey than we did this weekend,” Montgomery said.
Denver carried its momentum from the second half of Friday’s game into the first period, generating the majority of the scoring chances. Kohen Olischefkski put the Pioneers in front at 7:21 of the opening frame when he caught an overhead pass from Ryan Barrow, put the puck on the ice and slung a tight-angle shot toward the net that squeezed through the pads of Fighting Hawks’ goalie Cam Johnson.
North Dakota evened the score midway through the second period when, on its first power play of the night, Christian Wolanin took the puck between the circles and unleashed a wrist shot to make it 1-1. The Fighting Hawks outshot the Pioneers, 12-5, in the second period.
Neither team scored in the third period, though North Dakota pressured Denver for the final few minutes of regulation and consequently drew a penalty with 40 seconds left. The Pioneers killed the remaining 1:40 of the penalty in overtime and the game extended into three-on-three overtime for the second-consecutive night.
Logan O’Connor connected with Ian Mitchell on a two-on-one rush at 1:19 of three-on-three overtime and Mitchell’s deke sealed the extra point for the Pioneers.
Denver finished 0/2 on the power play and 2/3 on the penalty kill. Tanner Jaillet made 21 saves. Denver outshot North Dakota, 24-22.
On Friday night, the Pioneers and Hawks skated to a 3-3 tie, also picking up the extra point.
“I thought it was probably a C+ effort from us tonight,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “In the third period, I thought we started to see Denver hockey. After being down 2-0 in this building, being able to get a tie you’re very happy and then it’s nice to get the extra point which might mean something in the standings.”
Denver fell behind at 1:02 of the first period when Trevor Olson chipped a puck that glanced off Tariq Hammond, who was positioned in front of the goal, before bouncing into the net. North Dakota extended its lead four (4) minutes later when Trevor Olson centered a puck from below the goal line, Grant Mismash took a shot and Shane Gersich buried the rebound. The Fighting Hawks’ two-goal lead held through the first intermission. The Pioneers were limited to four (4) shots through the first 20 minutes.
The Pioneers responded in the second period, outshooting the Fighting Hawks, 6-4, and finding the back of the net. At 7:04 of the second period, Dylan Gambrell made it a 2-1 game after receiving a cross-ice pass from Henrik Borgström and putting a one-timer from the left circle over the right shoulder of North Dakota goalie Cam Johnson. Denver trailed by one (1) goal at the second intermission.
Rudy Junda tied the game early in the third period, deflecting a shot from Hammond at 2:11 of the third period to make it a 2-2 game. Denver was positioned to take the lead at 3:14 of the frame when Cole Smith collided with Adam Plant and was issued a five-minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head (high sticking). Gambrell appeared to make it a 3-2 game at 4:29 of the third period, but the goal was disallowed after video review revealed goalie interference. Less than 30 seconds after the disallowed goal, Troy Terry took a pass from Gambrell, spun and wristed a shot that sailed into the net to give Denver a 3-2 lead.
North Dakota evened the score at 18:28 of the third period as Hayden Shaw stepped across the blue line and flicked a wrist shot that knuckled past Jaillet. The game-tying goal sent the game to overtime.
The Pioneers had a chance on the man advantage during five-on-five overtime but were unable to notch the game-winner. With the game officially recorded as a tie for NCAA records, the teams played a five-minute three-on-three overtime for the extra point in the NCHC standings.
With 49 seconds remaining in three-on-three overtime, Terry skated the puck into the offensive zone and wristed a shot from the left faceoff dot to take the extra point in the conference standings.
Tanner Jaillet finished with 15 saves. The Pioneers went 1/5 on the power play and 2/3 on the penalty kill.