Late goal helps UND tie Denver
UND goalie Cam Johnson skated to the bench and looked up at the clock.
It said 2:00.
The clock was winding down and the Fighting Hawks were trailing by a goal—at risk of losing back-to-back games in which they held two-goal leads.
But Hayden Shaw came through.
The junior defenseman launched a point shot that grazed a Denver defender and changed angle enough to fool goalie Tanner Jaillet and give UND a 3-3 tie with the Pioneers on Friday night.
Denver grabbed the extra point in National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings by winning the three-on-three portion with a Troy Terry goal.
UND moved to 12-8-7 overall and 6-6-3 in NCHC standings. Denver moved to 14-6-5 and 8-4-3.
The season series is on the line at 7:07 p.m. tonight. The teams are 1-1-1 against each other this season.
UND is still able to win the season series thanks to Shaw's goal—UND's first with an extra attacker in more than a year.
"I think I got a pretty lucky bounce, but that's what happens," Shaw said. "Our forwards got pucks deep and kind of forechecked hard and gave me a little room. Guch (Jordan Kawaguchi) gave me a nice pass over and I just got a lucky bounce there."
UND also received goals from Cole Smith and Shane Gersich en route to the tie.
UND got off to a great start, scoring on the second shift of the game. Smith got the puck behind the net and powered past Denver defenseman Erich Fear to get to the side of the crease. Smith threw a backhand across the top of the crease, where it hit Pioneer defenseman Tariq Hammond and went in the net at 1:02.
A few minutes later, UND capitalized on its first power play of the night.
Defenseman Christian Wolanin left the puck for Trevor Olson behind the net and the senior centered a pass to Gersich on top of the crease. Denver goalie Tanner Jaillet stopped the initial attempt. Grant Mismash picked up the rebound and dished it back to Gersich, who buried it for a 2-0 lead at 5:18.
The Fighting Hawks held Denver to just four shots on goal in the first period—which tied for the fewest number of shots on goal in a period this season for the Pioneers.
Although UND bottled up the Pioneers for most of the second period, their top players did get on the board.
Henrik Borgstrom had the puck poke-checked off his stick while entering the zone on a 3-on-2 rush, but defenseman Michael Davies held it in. He got it back to Borgstrom in the right circle and Borgstrom slid a pass across the zone to Dylan Gambrell, who blasted a one-timer past Cam Johnson at 7:04.
"Obviously we came out of the gates pretty well," UND forward Joel Janatuinen said. "We played a pretty good first period. We played a good second period until they scored a goal and then the game just got away from us a little bit and, obviously, they tied it up in the third. Otherwise, we played well. We just have to be stronger mentally to just keep playing our game when we get scored on."
Denver tied it early in the third period when Tariq Hammond's point shot went off of the skate of Rudy Junda and five-hole on Johnson.
Just 63 seconds after the tying goal, Smith was called for a contact to the head major for a hit on Denver defenseman Adam Plant, who left the game and did not return. Smith also was called for a major for a hit on Plant during the November series between the teams.
Just like the ensuing power play in November, Denver capitalized.
Terry received a pass from Gambrell in the slot, spun to avoid UND forward Austin Poganski and snapped a wrist shot home at 5:56.
With two minutes to go, UND coach Brad Berry pulled his goalie and his team delivered the tying goal.
"I'm proud and pleased with the way they played to start the game," Berry said. "We had that attack mentality in the first period. I thought after they scored that goal in the second, we kind of backed off a little bit and we didn't skate as much. It gave room for them to create a little more. But overall, having a two-goal lead you want to win that game. We have to be a little more resilient tomorrow, because there are ebbs and flows in games. We got a point out of it. We got a tie out of it. Tomorrow, we have to do better in the process to get the result we want."
UND played without its top two centers—juniors Rhett Gardner and Nick Jones. Gardner missed his fourth-straight game after injuring his foot against Bemidji State. Jones played through an undisclosed injury last weekend at Minnesota Duluth.
Gardner and Jones had combined to take more faceoffs than the rest of UND's team combined this season.
Without them, Ludvig Hoff played top-line center, while Collin Adams shifted to center.
UND also was without defenseman Gabe Bast.
The Pioneers saw Johnson for the first time this season. He was out with an injury during the November series between the teams and rookie Peter Thome started both games.
UND wore its traditional road green jerseys for the Green Out event, where all fans were asked to wear green.