ANN ARBOR, Mich. — It was No. 1 against No. 2, or was it just a special teams scrimmage?
Eight of the 10 goals came off the power play in a matchup that proved the penalty-kill and power-play units are relatively equal, as No. 1 North Dakota and No. 2 Michigan skated to a 5-5 tie in the consolation game of the Ice Breaker Cup.
Both teams will start their season at 0-0-2.
“This was not a consolation game,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “You expect that North Dakota would be an offensive team and take you out of the game. We were fortunate to get back in the game.”
Berenson told the referees at the end of the five-minute overtime that he didn’t want a shootout, and North Dakota coach Dean Blais concurred.
“It doesn’t make sense (to have a shootout),” Blais said. “We said let’s get out of here with a tie.”
The host Wolverines salvaged their weekend by fighting back from a 5-3 deficit to tie the game on a Mike Cammalleri tally with less than four minutes remaining.
Referee Mark Wilkins started using the whistle early and often. Wilkins sent two North Dakota players off to the box in the first 1:22 — the first of seven two-man advantages in the game.
Michigan failed to score on their first 5-on-3. Senior captain Geoff Koch made up for the missed opportunity by notching his first goal of the year eight minutes into the first. Koch found the loose puck off the rebound of a Mark Mink shot.
North Dakota’s Bryan Lundbohm knotted the game at a goal apiece on a 5-on-4 power-play tally. Lundbohm, at the right side of the net, received a nice pass from Jeff Panzer, then slapped it past Michigan goaltender Josh Blackburn.
The Wolverines failed again on their second two-man advantage despite four excellent scoring opportunities, two where the net was wide open and Michigan shot just wide.
Jeff Jillson saved the power-play unit when his shot near the left hash mark got by North Dakota goaltender Andy Kollar with three minutes remaining, giving the Wolverines a 2-1 lead.
North Dakota notched its second power-play goal thanks to a melee in front of the Michigan net. Panzer was able to spurt the puck out of the mess and past Blackburn.
The power-play pendulum swung North Dakota’s way for much of the rest of the game. Michigan, though, struck first when Mark Kosick tallied his first goal to put Michigan up 3-2 four minutes into the second. But for the end of the second stanza and almost 10 minutes of the third, referee Wilkins called nine penalties on the Wolverines to only one on the Fighting Sioux.
Three goals, one the 5-on-3 then two on the 5-on-4 spurted the Fighting Sioux to a 4-3 advantage.
Defenseman Chad Mazurak tallied two and Travis Roche notched the other.
Down 5-3 on the scoreboard, but not in the number of players on the ice, Michigan was able to take advantage in the latter half of the period. Goals by John Shouneyia and Mike Cammalleri tied the contest at 5 and sent it to overtime.
In such a penalty-filled game with more special teams action than 5-on-5, it was tough to gauge whether this was truly a matchup of the two best teams in the nation.
“We came out of the weekend thinking we are as good as these teams,” Berenson said. “I’m glad we got the chance to play North Dakota.”
Mark Francescutti is sports editor of the Michigan Daily.