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UND HOCKEY: O'Donnell gives UND overtime win

OMAHA, Neb. -- In the short break between regulation and overtime, UND coach Dave Hakstol had a sense his players didn't want to go to a shootout. "There was a real focus," he said. "Nothing else was talked about. We didn't come to go to a shootout.

OMAHA, Neb. - In the short break between regulation and overtime, UND coach Dave Hakstol had a sense his players didn't want to go to a shootout.

"There was a real focus," he said. "Nothing else was talked about. We didn't come to go to a shootout. We didn't come to split points tonight. We needed this one."

Brendan O'Donnell delivered it.

The senior forward snapped a shot from the left circle past Omaha goaltender Ryan Massa's glove with 2 minutes, 56 seconds left in overtime and UND earned a key 4-3 win over the Mavericks in front of 10,674 fans in CenturyLink Center.

With the win, UND grabbed a series split and moved to within a point of Omaha for first place in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings.

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Mark MacMillan also scored a pair of goals, captain Stephane Pattyn tallied one and UND left downtown Omaha within striking distance of the Mavericks in the chase for the Penrose Cup.

"It was a huge win for us," Pattyn said. "Now, we're one point behind them. Our goal this weekend was to come in and get six, but we salvaged three and that was big."

UND had the puck in Omaha's zone for almost the entire 2:04 of overtime before finally getting one to go. On the winning play, Austin Poganski and Connor Gaarder were able to dig a puck off the wall and get it to O'Donnell in the left circle. He ripped a shot far side for his 10th goal of the season, sending the team on the ice to celebrate the win.

"I just tried to throw it on net and make sure I hit the net," O'Donnell said. "I had a pretty good idea where I wanted to go with it. I didn't really look at the net. I had a picture of it and tried to put it there. Luckily enough, he missed it and it went in."

UND improved to 19-6-2 overall and 10-5-1 in league play, while Omaha dropped to 16-7-3 overall and 10-5-1 in NCHC play.

"Obviously, it's not the result we wanted Friday, especially the way it happened," MacMillan said. "I thought we played a pretty good game tonight. I thought we came out with an even better effort tonight. We needed those three points to push for the regular season league championship."

UND strolled on the ice Saturday night with the black jerseys - the business suits - which have brought the team so much good fortune over the last few years, then immediately went to work.

UND jumped out to the lead in the first minute of the game as Paul LaDue started a transition play, feeding Michael Parks, who was flying up the right wing on a three-on-two rush. Parks carried the puck until he got around a defenseman in the right circle, then fed MacMillan on the doorstep just 37 seconds into the game.

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Omaha evened it less than three minutes later as Austin Ortega sent Jake Guentzel on a clean breakaway. UND goalie Zane McIntyre got a piece of Guentzel's five-hole shot, but it had enough power to trickle through for the goal.

UND regained the lead near the end of the period on the power play. Nick Mattson found an open Luke Johnson in the slot. Johnson's shot was stopped by Massa, but MacMillan found the rebound and quickly shelved it before defenders could tie up his stick.

Omaha evened it again early in the third when Guentzel's shot from the wall fooled McIntyre and went five-hole.

Pattyn gave UND its third lead of the game when he batted a puck out of midair at 9:15 of the third, but Omaha converted a late power-play chance to even it.

With Poganski sitting in the box for a bench minor for too many men, Brian Cooper fired a shot through a screen with just 3:44 remaining.

Omaha had a prime chance to win the game at the buzzer as Justin Parizek was in alone, but McIntyre made the save to send it to overtime.

"We needed these points if we want to accomplish what we want to accomplish," O'Donnell said. "We played hard. We came out, played a good road game and got the win."

Notes: UND used the same personnel as Friday's series opener, only making minor changes on two of the defensive pairings. . . Omaha defenseman Brian O'Rourke, who missed Friday's game serving a suspension for an illegal hit, returned to the lineup for the Mavericks. He replaced Matt Youso on the blue line. . . UND is now 19-0-1 all-time when O'Donnell scores.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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