GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Denver and North Dakota skated to a 3-3 tie and the Pioneers improved to 15-12-4 on the season, 10-10-3 in WCHA play, while North Dakota (20-5-8, 16-4-5 WCHA) maintained the lead in the WCHA.
“I thought it was a really good effort from our team,” said Denver head coach George Gwozdecky. “This is a great atmosphere here in this building and made it very difficult to communicate on the bench at times.”
Denver opened the game matching North Dakota shot for shot and finally broke the scoreless tie at the 5:11 mark. With great pressure in the Sioux zone, sophomore Kevin Doell found a streaking Greg Barber who took the pass and beat UND’s Andy Kollar.
North Dakota stormed back on the second stanza to score two unanswered goals. UND’s David Lundbohm struck first as he stormed through the middle and ripped a wrist shot past Adam Berkhoel at the 5:41 mark.
With less than five minutes to play in the second stanza, UND’s Wes Dorey gave the Fighting Sioux a 2-1 lead when he on a slap shot from 35-feet out.
On a power play, sophomore Matt Weber worked the puck along the boards to the left of the Sioux goal. Fighting off a defender he chipped the puck to Chris Paradise who let a blast go from the point. The shot beat Kollar, tying the contest at 2-2.
With time running out, Denver saw an opportunity for one more rush. Engstrom and Paradise brought the puck into the zone and Paradise let another 50-foot slap shot go. Kollar made the initial save but junior defenseman Jesse Cook crashed the net. After slapping at the puck twice, Cook finally poked it into the back of the net to register his second goal of the season, giving Denver a 3-2 lead at the 19:59 mark of the middle period.
“We had them on the ropes but they are the number one team in our league for a reason,” said Gwozdecky. “We couldn’t get the puck out of the zone and a few minutes later they scored on a wild scramble in front of the net.”
The Pioneers withstood a strong North Dakota flurry for much of the third period. At the 15:42 mark, Berkhoel made the initial save as both teams piled up in front of the Denver netminder looking for the rebound. Berkhoel continued to hold strong but attempts to clear the puck were unsuccessful. Dorey collected the biscuit and beat the sprawled Pioneer goaltender to tie the game. The third period would end tied as the Fighting Sioux forced overtime, where the full five minutes was played withour a score.