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UND sweeps St. Cloud State with wild 6-5 overtime victory

University of North Dakota forward Cole Smith (26) and St. Cloud State defensemen Niklas Nevalainen (7) chase the puck in the first period of Saturday’s NCHC Quarterfinals game two between the Fighting Hawks and Huskies, March 11, 2017 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)1 / 2
University of North Dakota forward Trevor Olson (11) fires a shot past St. Cloud State goalie Jeff Smith (1) to win in overtime during Saturday’s NCHC Quarterfinals game two between the Fighting Hawks and Huskies, March 11, 2017 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald) overtime 2 / 2

UND fans sat in Ralph Engelstad Arena, watched overtime and celebrated their team's victory as the goal horn blared.

Then, they got to do it again.

After watching the men's basketball team punch their ticket to The Big Dance on the big screen at center ice during the third intermission, the UND men's hockey team followed suit.

with a key overtime victory over St. Cloud State to win its first-round series in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Trevor Olson deflected a Johnny Simonson shot from the boards at 7:38 of overtime to give UND a 6-5 win over St. Cloud State and a two-game sweep of their National Collegiate Hockey Conference first-round series.

UND will make a 15th consecutive trip to the Twin Cities and will play either Denver or Minnesota Duluth on Friday at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

The Fighting Hawks won their 20th game of the season in wild fashion.

The game was tied at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5 as each team matched each other blow-for-blow.

UND's goals came from St. Cloud native Austin Poganski, Tyson Jost, Brock Boeser, Shane Gersich and Christian Wolanin in regulation. Olson won it in overtime.

On the winning goal, Simonson blindly fired a shot from the left boards toward the goal and Olson re-directed it over St. Cloud State goalie Jeff Smith's shoulder.

"It feels pretty good," Olson said. "That's a game we needed. We were rumbling around in their zone a little bit and it went to John. To be honest, I was tired. I was trying to get net front and go to the bench. I just threw my stick out there and hit it and it went up stairs. Pretty cool experience."

It was the third game-winning goal for Olson in the last four games.

"I don't know what's going on," said Olson, who has five goals on the season. "I went how many ever calendar years without a goal. Now, all the sudden, they are starting to fall my way. Obviously, I got a luckyk one tonight, but I think our line played well in the third and overtime and we got rewarded for it."

UND (20-14-3) moved up to No. 10 in the Pairwise Rankings and closed out an up-and-down season at home at its high point.

After the win, UND's players refused to let seniors Gage Ausmus and Matt Hrynkiw skate to the locker room without taking one last skate around.

Head coach Brad Berry, meanwhile, gave a fist-pump toward the fans.

"Oh man, I probably wouldn't have imagined the game to go that way," Berry said. "But I want to say congratulations and hats off to Bob Motzko and their team. They battled extremely hard. That's what you get from a team he coaches and a team that has that much skill. 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."

Most of the players and coaches said they didn't know that the crowd was reacting to the men's basketball game during the third intermission.

Olson, however, left the locker room—his routine—and figured out what was going on.

Then, he did it himself.

St. Cloud State, which received two goals from Grand Forks native Jon Lizotte, ends its season at 16-19-1.

UND won Game 1 of the series 5-2.

The Huskies jumped out to the first lead of the game on a goal by Nick Poehling at 15:11 of the first period, but Poganski responded with a power-play goal before the end of the period to tie it 1-1.

UND then held leads at 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 on goals by Jost, Boeser and Gersich, but the Huskies had answers for all of them.

St. Cloud State took a 5-4 lead on Poehling's second of the night with just 6:44 to go, but Wolanin tied it on a point shot with traffic in front.

UND reset in overtime and was able to win it.

The Fighting Hawks went 5-1 against the Huskies this season, winning twice in overtime. Mike Gornall, who was a scratch on Saturday, scored the overtime winner in the other one.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 12th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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