In a game that lived up to its hype, Minnesota State and North Dakota traded bone-crushing blows until Connor Mackey’s goal at 10:32 of overtime ended a thrilling national title game and sent Minnesota State, a team that had never won an NCAA tournament game before this year, to an improbable national title, 4-3.
Jordan Kawaguchi scored twice for North Dakota, including a tying goal with an extra attacker with just 18.8 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime.
But Minnesota State was a resilient team.
After falling behind, 1-0, on Kawaguchi’s first goal in the opening 20, the Mavericks were a strong team in the middle stanza.
Marc Michaelis evened the game at 7:28 of the second and then, less than three minutes later, Parker Tuomie gave Minnesota State its first lead at 10:27.
North Dakota looked like it would need a third-period comeback until Shane Pinto’s goal late in the second turned the game into a 20-minute (plus overtime) contest.
It appeared that Minnesota State was heading towards the national title in regulation when Nathan Smith stole a puck and skated in on a breakaway, scoring with 7:17 remaining. And thought North Dakota peppered the net, Dryden McKay stock tall, making 16 third period saves.
Unfortunately for him, the 17th shot off the stick of Kawaguchi, went in with just 18.8 seconds left forcing the overtime.
Kawaguchi was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, despite playing for the losing team.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP BOX SCORE
Minnesota State 4, North Dakota 3 (OT)
1st: UND, 12:03, J. Kawaguchi (M. Kiersted, G. Mismash); 2nd: MSU, 7:28, M. Michaelis (L. Sowder, R. Zmolek); MSU, 10:27, P. Tuomie (J. McNeely, Michaelis); 16:41, UND S. Pinto (J. Weatherby, W. Michard); 3rd: MSU, 12:43, N. Smith (unassisted); UND, 19:41, Kawaguchi EA (E. Frisch, Kiersted); OT1: MSU, 10:32, C. Mackey (Lutz, Jaremko).
GOALS: MSU 0-2-1-1–4; UND 1-1-1-0–3; SHOTS: MSU 11-16-5-7–39 ; UND 10-9-17-6–42
OFFICIALS: J. Koharski, G. Miller, referees; T. George, B.Bernard, linesmen; T: 3:24