It’s hard to end another team’s season. Team’s that are facing elimination play desperate hockey. On Saturday night, the University of North Dakota were looking to end St. Cloud’s season. The Huskies had other ideas.
In last night’s postgame press conference, head coach Brad Berry said, “Tomorrow is going to be another challenge. We need to up our level tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be a harder game, and we have to make sure that our level goes up.”
True to form, the Fighting Hawks came out of the gates on fire. They were playing on their toes and carrying the play. Then the Huskies grabbed the momentum and started pressing and cycling in the Hawks zone.
Fast and Furious
Saturday’s night’s game wasn’t for the faint of heart. Sometimes, playoff hockey games can be boring and uneventful. This game was not. From the drop of the first puck to the last whistle of the game, there non-stop action. This game was a classic racehorse hockey game, void of defense and full of offense.
The Huskies would get on the board first. At the 15:11 mark of the first period, the Huskies hit pay dirt with a goal from freshman forward Nick Poehling. More from him later.
Game Defining Moment
At the 18:06 mark of the first period, the Huskies thought they had taken a two-goal lead when Robby Jackson appeared to score a goal off a mad scramble in front of the UND net. However, after a lengthy video review, it was determined that the Huskies had too many men on the ice. The goal was waved off.
To add injury to insult, Huskies forward Blake Winiecki was assessed a two-minute unsportsmanlike penalty for his misdeeds in front to the Hawks net.
In what could be described as the defining moment of the game; Austin Poganski scored a power-play goal at the 19:16 mark of the first period, tying the game going into the first intermission.
The game would only get better from this point. The Fighting Hawks would take their first lead of the game with a shorthanded goal from Tyson Jost just 53 seconds into the second period.
That lead was short-lived and would last almost eight minutes before Huskies forward Patrick Newell would tie the game with his fourth goal of the season. Do you see a pattern here?
Brock Boeser would score the go-ahead goal less than two minutes later. However, that lead would last until the third period when Huskies defenseman and former Red River Rough Rider Jon Lizotte would score the first of his two goals, tying the game.
Once again, the game wasn’t tied very long. Shane Gersich would score his 22nd goal of the season to give UND a brief 4-3 lead.
Finally, the Huskies would take the lead when the Lizotte would score his second marker of the game 1:02 later. Nick Poehling gave the Huskies a brief 5-4 lead, the home crowd started to get a little antsy.
And just like that, sophomore defenseman Christian Wolanin scored the game-tying goal with just over four minutes remaining to send the game to overtime.
"It's time to toss your cookies because we're heading to Minneapolis!" – Trevor Olson, probably. pic.twitter.com/m53MeFsjHs
— North Dakota MHockey (@UNDmhockey) March 12, 2017
Olson ends It
Finally, Trevor Olson would score the game-winning goal at the 07:38 mark of overtime sending 10,540 fans into a frenzy. Olson was all smiles after the game.
“That was a game that we needed,” Olson said. “A few shifts got away from us in the third there, but we were rumbling around in their zone a little bit. It went out to John (Jonny Simonson). To be honest, I was kind of tired I was trying to get net front and then going to the bench. Actually, I didn’t get all the way there. I just kind of threw my stick out there and it hit it and went upstairs. It was kind of a cool experience.”
When Olson was asked if he knew that the puck had gone into the net:
“I had no idea,” Olson said. “It hit my stick and I didn’t see anything and I was going to the bench for a change and I saw the ref hammering down at the ice. Then the celly started and then obviously, they had the review.”
It doesn’t really matter how it looked, and head coach Brad Berry is just happy his team is moving on.
“I probably wouldn’t have imagined that the game to go that way, but I want to say congratulations and hats off to Bob Motzko and his team they battled extremely hard and that’s what you get from a team he coaches and a team that has that much skill,” coach Berry said. “Their lives were on the line tonight and it showed.
“They played with desperation and they played hard. There were momentum shifts in the game that we had to battle and I thought our guys did a good job after the third period to regroup and reset and get ready for overtime.”
Huskies defenseman, Lizotte has four goals this season and the former Red River Rough Rider scored two of them against the Fighting Hawks.
UND junior forward Trevor Olson has scored the game-winning goal in three of the last four games.
UND will go to the conference championship for the 15th season in a row.
UND also has won 20 games, 15 years in a row.
Gersich has scored six goals in six games against the Huskies this season.
With the win, UND improves to 20-14-3. UND is ranked 10th in the Pairwise Rankings.