Jordan Kawaguchi’s goal at 1:17 of 3-on-3 overtime gave top-ranked North Dakota a 4-3 victory over fourth-ranked Denver.
It closed out a crazy night that featured six lead changes, a power-play goal by Denver’s Carter Savoie with 2:52 left that forced overtime and high emotions for both teams despite an empty Baxter Arena in Omaha’s NCHC pod.
🚨 OT winner!
Kawaguchi gets it done for @UNDmhockey
— The NCHC (@TheNCHC) December 5, 2020
“It’s not too hard to get your excitement up or your passion for the game,” said North Dakota coach Brad Berry. “With no fans, you really don’t notice it. You’re in tuned to the game and you’re competitive for the next shift. Guys create their own emotion, especially with two good teams like that.”
It also doesn’t hurt that you’re pitting two teams that have a long-standing rivalry that pre-dates the NCHC.
“It’s a rivalry that goes back to the old WCHA days,” Berry said. “As much as there are heated words that go on, it’s just the ultra-compete level. We ultimately respect what they do as a program and I know they do for us.”
Denver opened the scoring with the only goal of the first period, a power play tally by Savoie.
Jake Sanderson sniped a goal on the North Dakota power play at 17:18 of the second to even the game to knot the score, but that just set up a wild third.
After the Pioneers regained the lead 30 seconds into the third on Brett Edwards goal, Ethan Frisch and Jasper Weatherby scored twice in short order to give the Fighting Hawks a lead with 5:26 left.
For fourth-ranked Denver, the loss is the second to begin play in the bubble after falling, 2-1 to No. 3 Minnesota Duluth earlier in the week. But the Pioneers will have the chance to bounce back when they face St. Cloud State in less than 24 hours.
“I think that’s the nice thing about the Pod,” said Denver senior Ryan Barrow. “You get to play a lot of games quick. It will be nice to get back at it tomorrow.”
No. 2 Boston College 3, No. 12 Providence 0
Rookie Trevor Kuntar notched his first collegiate goal late in the second period, which turned out to be the game-winner, and goaltender Spencer Knight stopped 30 shots as the second-ranked Eagles improved to 3-0 on the young season with a 3-0 victory over No. 12 Providence.
▶️ Get to the net and never quit on the play kids pic.twitter.com/paN5ZV2AQV
— BC Hockey (@BCHockey) December 5, 2020
Providence came out strong but couldn’t solve Knight in the first period despite a 15-6 shot advantage. From there, Boston College turned around the game, controlling the play and scoring the game’s final three goals with Nikita Nesterenko and Mike Hardman, into an empty net, finishing the scoring in the third.
“They were definitely at game speed and I thought we struggled a little bit at game speed,” said Providence coach Nate Leaman. His team practiced together as a full squad on Thursday for the first time after COVID struck multiple players on the team more than two weeks ago. “It definitely impacted us on our scoring chances. We were slow releasing pucks off our sticks. On our transition we were slow because the guys thought they had more time than they did and that’s not playing the game in eight or nine months.”
No. 16 Notre Dame 5, No. 20 Arizona State 4
Nick Leivermann’s shot through traffic with 5.1 seconds left in regulation broke a 4-4 tie as No. 16 Notre Dame halted No. 20 Arizona State’s three-game winning streak and gave the Irish their first win of the season, 5-4.
.@N_Leivermann called GAME.
— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) December 5, 2020
The game was filled with momentum swings with the Irish finishing out on top.
They grabbed a 2-0 lead with goals by Alex Steeves and Landon Slaggert just 13 seconds apart before the game was six minutes old.
But the Sun Devils responded with four straight, two coming from Matthew Kopperud, who finished the game with three points.
Notre Dame scored twice in 77 seconds midway through the third on goals by Jake Pivonka and Solag Bakich setting up Leivermann’s wild finish.