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UND, Boston U tie in series finale

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BOSTON — The University of North Dakota didn’t get a win Saturday night in Agganis Arena.

But it may have found a big building block during a 3-3 tie against Boston University in front of 4,378 fans.

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UND put forth, by far, its best effort of the season, throwing 58 shots on goal — the most in 13 years — and carrying the play throughout large stretches the game. The only thing that kept UND from a much-needed victory was the play of Boston University sophomore goalie Matt O’Connor, who posted a career-high 55 saves, including 27 in the third period and overtime.

“That’s the game of hockey,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “Their guy played well in net. I’ll judge the performance, not the outcome. We played a better hockey game tonight than we did last night.”

Bryn Chyzyk, Stephane Pattyn and Adam Tambellini provided the goals for UND, which moved to 4-6-2 overall, but learned that it is capable of putting forth big offensive pushes despite a rash injuries that have forced the coaching staff to move a pair of defensemen to forward.

UND did regain the services of Brendan O’Donnell, who was terrific in his return to the lineup after missing the last five games. He set up Tambellini for a go-ahead goal at 6:45 of the third period and registered a game-high seven shots.

But it was far from a one-line show.

UND received a goal from its fourth line — a rarity this season. It also received a goal from its second line and one from its second power play unit, which hasn’t been very productive of late. UND had 17 shots on its seven power-play opportunities.

“We kept it simple and got pucks to the net,” Tambellini said. “Obviously, it didn’t turn out how we wanted to with the final score, but I think we can build off this game. I think that shows that we can play like this. We just have to keep it going.”

Boston University does have a tendency to give up a lot of shots. After Saturday’s game, the Terriers fell to 58th of 59 teams nationally in average shots allowed.

They received goals from defenseman Garrett Noonan, Nick Roberto and Robbie Baillargeon, though, to earn the tie.

“It’s definitely a confidence booster,” UND forward Rocco Grimaldi said. “It’s a tie, which isn’t what we wanted, but we worked extremely hard. We had 60 shots. That doesn’t happen very often. They had a hot goalie, but other than that, it’s stuff we can build on.”

UND went with goalie Zane Gothberg in the series finale and he played well in stopping 28 of 31 shots, but he was outdone by O’Connor’s 55 stops.

“He’s a very good goalie,” Pattyn said. “If you throw pucks on net, odds are that a couple are going to go in. He’s big. He moves well. He has a very good glove hand. We knew that we had to get guys in front of him.”

Hakstol said he thought the team’s biggest difference was the team’s intensity.

“We just wanted to come out and compete tonight,” Hakstol said. “I think that was our issue last night. We didn’t compete at the level we expect to play in a 60-minute game. That was disappointing. We didn’t have a lot of comfortable guys in the locker room today and I think we played that way. I think that’s where our team needs to play. Now, it’s a matter of holding that level.”

UND hosts St. Lawrence next weekend and wins will be much-needed.

“If we keep playing like that, we’re going to win more games than we’re going to lose,” Pattyn said.

His teammates agreed.

“I think our intensity was much better tonight,” forward Luke Johnson said. “Yesterday, we came out flat. I thought we had a better step tonight. I thought that was one of our best games of the season. I thought we controlled play for most of the game. We had a lot of opportunities. It’s definitely frustrating because we would have liked to win that game, but you can definitely take positives out of it.”

Notes: The 58 shots was the most UND has registered in a game since putting up 65 on Princeton on Dec. 30, 2000. Fargo North graduate Nate Nomeland was in goal for the Tigers in that game and made 60 saves. . . UND scratched Mitch MacMillan, who played in the opener, along with Coltyn Sanderson and injured forwards Mark MacMillan, Derek Rodwell and Colten St. Clair. . . Boston University played without Cason Hohmann, who was injured during Friday’s game. . . UND had 80 shot attempts in the game. . . Keaton Thompson played in his second straight game for UND.

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Brad Elliott Schlossman
Schlossman is in his 11th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2014, he was named one of the top three beat writers 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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