Grand Forks, ND — Winning a series in the postseason isn’t easy. On Saturday night, the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team was looking to move on to the Frozen Faceoff. Standing in the way, the Colorado College Tigers.
Saturday’s game resembled Friday’s series opener. Again, all the scoring would take place in the second period. UND would get on the board first with a goal from freshman forward Matteo Costantini, his 8th goal of the year.
UND’s 1-0 lead didn’t last very long. The Tigers would answer less than two minutes later with a goal from Stanley Cooley. At the 14:57 mark of the second period, Riese Gaber would score the game-winning goal on the power play. You can watch the goal in the tweet embedded below.
The game would turn into a defensive chess match. It was a hard, heavy, defensive battle. It wasn’t a very exciting game until the final minutes of the third period.
UND Kills Game-Ending Major Penalty
With 2:18 remaining in the game, sophomore defenseman Tyler Kleven was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for checking Tigers forward Brian Hawkinson from behind. That’s Kleven’s third game misconduct of the season, meaning that he will miss the semifinal game of the Frozen Faceoff. During the final 2 minutes, and 18 seconds, the Tigers put seven shots on the Fighting Hawks net. Some of them were Grade-A opportunities. UND goalie Zach Driscoll (who stopped 29-of-30 shots) stood his ground and UND escaped with a 2-1 win.
“When I see those guys selling out and blocking shots,” Driscoll said, “it just makes me want to compete on pucks that much harder.”
It was a long 2 minutes, and 18 seconds for the players sitting on the UND bench.
“I was biting my nails on the bench for sure,” Gaber said. “You got to give our guys credit — blocking shots, and just warriors out there. That’s why they’re gonna be successful in their careers and that’s why we’re successful as a team. Those guys do a hell of a job and they were huge for us in the last two minutes.”
“I think it’s a situation where both games (Driscoll) he probably didn’t see a lot early in the first period,” head coach Brad Berry said. “Then progressively in the second and third; when the other team was down by a goal. They started pressing. They made a big push in the third period. That’s when you have to be your sharpest. I thought he was. I thought he made some really good saves at key times.”
The Tigers entered Friday’s game with a 2-8-0 record since the beginning of February. Their only two wins came in OT against last-place Miami. None of that mattered. The Tigers fought all the way till the end.
“We knew it was gonna be hard, Gaber said. “Anytime a team has their season on the line. It’s gonna be tough and you got to give them credit. They played really well. They came out hard. Checked well. Just what we expected. We found a way to win, and that’s all that matters.”
“There was a lot of urgencies, a lot of pride in that locker room over there,” Berry said. “I want to commend CC head coach Kris Mayotte and staff and his team. They played hard. They make you earn everything you get. Their program is going in the right direction.”
Friday UND will play the WMU at either 4:00 PM or 7:30 PM.
UND forward Riese Gaber 15g-21a–36pts, leads UND in points and goals.
Matteo Costantini 8g-13a–21pts, he’s also a plus-13.
Zach Driscoll 22-9-1, 2.34 GAA, 9.08 save percentage. He has 2 shutouts.
“We shouldn’t have put ourselves in that situation,” Brad Berry on Tyler Kleven taking a major penalty late in the game against CC. “We already addressed that in the locker room. Late in the game, you’ve got to make sure you’re in control.”
CC thought they’d scored the game’s first goal. After further review, it was determined that Ray Christy had hit the puck in with his hand. IMHO, it was the correct call.