Saint Paul, Minn. – The University of North Dakota started off the day, by putting two players, senior forwards, Corban Knight and Danny Kristo, among the top 10 national finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. The Hobey Baker is given annually to the top player in NCAA Division I men’s hockey.
Then, it was off to the quarter final game of the Red Baron WCHA Final Five where 17,038 fans watched the match-up between the University of North Dakota (21-11-7, No. 3 seed) and the Colorado College Tigers (16-18-5, No. 6 seed) at the Xcel Energy Center.
The University of North Dakota doesn’t get fazed when they give up the first goal of a game, anymore. In fact, it happens a lot. In 19 games where the opposition scored the first goal, the Green and White are 9-5-5.
Make that 9-6-5, with the loss to the Colorado College Tigers tonight.
“Here we are. If you would have said that on the fifth of January after we got swept in Omaha that we would be playing and winning game over North Dakota, I would have said that you’re crazy,” Head coach Scott Owens said on beating North Dakota 4-3 in overtime of the quarterfinal game of the WCHA Final Five.”
The game had a lot of drama and probably didn’t go as planned.
With freshman forward Drake Caggiula in the sin bin for charging, the Colorado College Tigers would get on the board first with a power play goal from senior forward Rylan Schwartz at the 03:06 mark of first period.
That slim one goal lead would last 11:17 as freshman forward Drake Caggiula would make up for his blunder by scoring his seventh goal of the year at the 14:23 mark of the first period. That was Caggiula’s first goal since January 19th, 2013.
UND would start a parade to the penalty box in the waning moments of the first period, but fortunately UND was able to stop the Tiger power play with a tenacious penalty kill, before the Tigers could do any damage on the power play.
Senior forward Danny Kristo would stop the bleeding at the 19:50 mark of the first period with his 25th goal of the season.
UND would outshoot C.C. 11-4 in first period.
The second period was more of a grind out kind of period and the Tigers took advantage of a miscue to score shorthanded at the 07:54 mark of the second period as Alex Krushelnyski shot the puck past UND goalie Clark Saunders.
That was all of the scoring either team would generate the rest of the second period. UND would again outshoot C.C. 9-6.
Things would really get interesting for UND. At the 03:42 mark of the third period, Tiger forward Hunter Fejes took a shot from the top the circle that Saunders missed.
Make that 3-2 Tigers.
UND freshman Drake Caggiula would score at the12:45 mark of the third period to knot the game at 3-3, sending the game to overtime. UND would out Tigers 12-10 in the third period.
At the 04:52 mark of the first overtime, sophomore Tiger forward Peter Stoykewych ended UND run for at four consecutive Final Five championships.
When asked how it feels to not be moving on to play for a four WCHA Final Five playoff championship. This is what Danny Kristo had to say. “I have never felt like this before,” Kristo said. “Obviously we won the last three. That was our goal coming in this year. Obviously, we wanted to four peat, or what not. You just go day-by-day. I thought we took about 20 minutes off there, between the second and third period and kind of got lulled to sleep, maybe we deserved to win the game, but we didn’t play to our potential, so at this time of the year you’re not going to win games. You can’t leave the game to a bounce of the puck.”
This is what coach Hakstol had to say.
“Congratulations to C.C., UND head coach Dave Hakstol said. “They’re grinding out wins. They’re doing a great job. They got the job done tonight. Overall, we played a pretty good hockey game. Pretty good doesn’t get the job doesn’t get it done this time of year against the quality of teams that are here. So, tough ending tonight, that’s our fate, We’ll regroup and get back to Grand Forks and work on our next project.”
Colorado College (17-18-5) moves on to play Minnesota in the 7:00 p.m. game and UND (21-12-7) goes home to find out who they play next weekend in the NCAA regionals.
Cross-posted at the Hockey Writers Combine