Westin Michaud watched this scene play out twice in January.
Back then, he was sitting on the visitor’s bench, wearing a Colorado College jersey as UND scored game-winning goals in Ralph Engelstad Arena on two straight nights. He heard the goal horn, listened to Chelsea Dagger blast through the speakers and watched the Fighting Hawks jump off the bench and pile on the goal-scorer.
On Friday night, he finally got to enjoy that experience himself.
Michaud rifled a wrist shot off a clean faceoff win just 52 seconds into overtime to give UND a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Bemidji State in front of 11,305 fans in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
After scoring the goal, Michaud skated toward the student section, raised his arms and waited for his teammates to join the fun.
“The place is electric,” said Michaud, a senior graduate transfer. “It’s the best place to play in college hockey. I’m glad we came out on top and did that for our fans.”
The Fighting Hawks (3-1-1) have now won the last four overtime games in The Ralph. Two of those wins came over Colorado College, where Michaud played last season. One came against Omaha on Senior Night last season and one against Bemidji State.
Friday's winning goal came with some help from rookie center Shane Pinto.
Moments before the winner, Pinto won a faceoff back to defenseman Matt Kiersted, whose point shot was deflected into the netting above the glass.
"I said, 'Pinto, let's go, do it again,'" Michaud said. "And you know what? He did it. I moved a half an inch left. I was fortunate enough, I saw the defender kind of in the back there. I pulled it, dragged it and hoped it would go in, and it went in."
Michaud quickly snapped the faceoff win past the glove of Bemidji State goalie Zach Driscoll for his third goal of the season.
UND stayed perfect 3-0 at home this season as it kicked off a five-game homestand. It will go for the series sweep at 7:07 p.m. Saturday.
"Obviously, it wasn't pretty," UND junior forward Jordan Kawaguchi said. "But we found a way to get it done. It just shows what kind of team we have, just kind of stick with it, even when things aren't really going our way and we're not playing our best."
As expected, these teams played a close game. Eight of the last 10 meetings -- a stretch that dates back just over five years -- have been decided by a single goal. Four of those eight have gone to overtime.
The Beavers (0-1-2) frustrated UND offensively for most of the night. The Fighting Hawks went through a 10-minute stretch in the first period without registering a single shot on goal, while the Beavers carried a narrow 1-0 lead late into the third period thanks to a second-period power-play goal by Owen Sillinger.
The Fighting Hawks finally broke through after coach Brad Berry juggled the line combinations.
The tying goal came with just 5:47 left in the third. Sophomore defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker, the team's leading scorer, used his speed to beat a Beaver defender wide on the right side. Bernard-Docker got to the bottom of the right circle before sending a centering pass toward Kawaguchi, who was cutting down the slot. Kawaguchi re-directed it just inside the post.
"To be honest with you, I was just trying to get the puck toward the net," Kawaguchi said. "Doc used his feet there, got around the defenseman and kind of threw it to the net. I knew Mash (Grant Mismash) was to my left so I was trying to get the puck to the net, just kind of get a rebound out of it, but it snuck its way in. Obviously, I'm pretty happy about that."
A week ago, UND turned a potential win into a tie and a potential tie into a loss at Minnesota State-Mankato, allowing a pair of critical third-period goals. This time, the Fighting Hawks flipped that.
"We made some plays and I thought our execution was a lot better in the third and overtime than it was in the first two periods," Berry said. "I think you can attribute that to learning a little bit from last weekend and making sure we don't fall into the same result as Mankato.
"You've got to give it to Bemidji. I thought they played hard. They came out of the gate hard. They dictated play for a little bit. I thought we got going. We made one more extra play that we didn't get last weekend."