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UND hockey fans were inches from witnessing goalie-goal history

No UND goaltender has ever scored a goal.

UND CC Kleven6.jpg
UND's Tyler Kleven hugs goalie Zach Driscoll after the Fighting Hawks defeated Colorado College 3-2 Friday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — With 90 seconds left, a one-goal lead and facing an extra attacker, UND goalie Zach Driscoll secured a puck just outside his crease without much immediate pressure.

He positioned his body and fired the puck the full length of the ice toward an empty net.

"I was pumped up," UND defenseman Ethan Frisch said.

Driscoll's launch appeared in line but went just wide left of the goal for an icing.

How close?

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"Six inches? Seven inches?" Driscoll guessed.

That's how close UND hockey fans were to witnessing history during the Fighting Hawks' 3-2 win Friday night against Colorado College.

No UND hockey goalie has ever scored a goal. Only four NCAA hockey goalies have scored a goal by shooting it directly into the net.

After the miss, Frisch went up to Driscoll, tapped his stick to his pads and addressed the attempt.

"We'll take that every time," Frisch told Driscoll. "You go for a goalie goal. I'm fine with that."

UND coach Brad Berry said Driscoll has the green light in that situation, for the most part.

"Preferably, it would be a two-goal lead but at the end of the day, we went through a lot of analytics the last couple years and you have the puck on your tape and an open look down the ice ... if you get an opportunity, it solidfies the game," Berry said. "Even with the goaltender, if there's no one in his lane, and there's no one checking him from behind, if it's on his tape, and he can (shoot) it out and get it down the ice, absolutely."

Driscoll felt some extra pressure to secure the win after the attempt.

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"As a goalie, you go for it, and you better not give up a goal after the icing, so I'm happy with it," Driscoll said.

Driscoll initially thought he scored.

"When it left my stick, I thought it was 100 percent going in," he said. "I got more and more disappointed as it trailed down there."

The rarity of the moment — the last NCAA goaltender to achieve the feat was Northern Michigan's Atte Tolvanen in 2018 — wasn't lost on UND's players.

"We know that doesn't happen much," Frisch said. "I don't think any of us have been on a team where that has happened, and if we have, I haven't heard about it.

"Especially at the Ralph, it would've been cool. We were hoping that would've gone in for him, but he did a great job tonight. It was pretty low risk, honestly. That's every goalie's dream. We were fired up, thought it was going in."

What if it would've gone in?

"That would've been way cooler, but it's a game of inches," Driscoll said. "That was fun. As goalies, we don't get a lot of empty-net situations for plays like that to make a play at the net. It surprised me how much time I had. I saw a lane and got it up pretty good. It had the right distance but curled a bit on the left."

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That was Driscoll's first-ever attempt at a goal.

"I've never had a chance with that much time," Driscoll said. "So I'm 0-for-1. Bummer. Next time."

All-time NCAA goalie goals

Shot puck into net themselves
Atte Tolvanen, Northern Michigan, 2018
Mitch Gillam, Cornell, 2013
Mike Mantua, Western Michigan, 2002
Chad Alban, Michigan State, 1998

Credited with a goal
Evan Weninger, Omaha, 2018
Michael Garteig, Quinnipiac, 2013
Kyle Richter, Harvard, 2008
Jonathan Quick, UMass, 2007
Andy Allen, Vermont, 1998
Damian Rhodes, Michigan Tech, 1989
Jim Tortorella, Maine, 1980

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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