UND tops Colorado College 51 seconds into OTCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For 119 minutes, 46 seconds, there wasn’t much of a reward for the University of North Dakota’s outstanding play this weekend.
By: Brad Schlossman, The Dickinson Press
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For 119 minutes, 46 seconds, there wasn’t much of a reward for the University of North Dakota’s outstanding play this weekend.
But it all paid off in a matter of seconds late Saturday night.
Dillon Simpson scored a game-tying goal with 13.4 seconds left; Drake Caggiula scored the game-winner just 51 seconds into overtime and UND stunned Colorado College with a 3-2 comeback win in World Arena.
“That’s why you have to play 60 minutes,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “In the locker room, we said, ‘If this takes us 60 minutes, let’s use 60 minutes. If this takes us 65, let’s do whatever we have to do.’”
Just when it looked like UND would have to head home with a pair of losses — despite outshooting the Tigers by more than 20 shots both nights — all of the hard work paid off.
On the tying goal, Rocco Grimaldi won a puck battle in the corner and got the puck to Corban Knight behind the net. Knight, who extended his point streak to nine games, made a brilliant feed to Simpson in the high slot. The defenseman ripped a shot just under the crossbar for the extra-attacker goal.
“I’m sick of (hitting) posts, so I thought I wouldn’t put it anywhere near it,” Simpson joked. “I tried to rip it as hard as I could top shelf. The goalie had my number all night, so it was good to get one by him.
“After my goal, the bench was pretty confident. We knew we were going to win that game. We believed.”
UND kept the heavy pressure on Colorado College goalie Josh Thorimbert in overtime. After Danny Kristo and Derek Forbort narrowly missed chances, Caggiula put it away.
During a line change, a puck came out to the blue line, where MacWilliam kept it in. The puck went off of MacWilliam’s stick to Caggiula in the right circle. He took a few steps and snapped a shot that hit Thorimbert’s shoulder, landed behind him and rolled across the goal line.
The large UND contingent among the 7,021 in World Arena erupted and left the building chanting “Let’s go Sioux.”
“I had a bunch of time, so I walked in, shot to my favorite spot,” said Caggiula, who finished the weekend with three goals. “Luckily, it went in.”
UND, which outshot Colorado College 89-46 on the weekend, was able to fly home on a charter late Saturday night with a 7-5-2 overall mark and a 4-2-2 record in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play.
“We were talking with some of the guys, saying that if we didn’t get the win today, it was going to be a pretty depressing flight home,” Knight said. “This definitely lifts the mood.”
UND has now won its last two overtime games and has two third-period comeback victories in the last three weeks.
“It shows our character that we can pull out a win like that and it’s definitely exciting,” Knight said.
UND got off to a fast start Saturday, scoring on the opening shift of the game.
After a good cycle, Knight grabbed the puck near the halfwall and spotted Kristo cutting to the net. Knight attempted to hit Kristo with the backdoor pass but the puck went off of Tiger defenseman Peter Stoykewych and in the net at the :34 mark.
The Tigers evened it less than three minutes later when they rushed the puck up the ice and found Rylan Schwartz with some space in the right circle. Schwartz snapped a shot through Saunders for his ninth goal in the last five games against UND.
Colorado College took the lead with 13:00 left in the third period when Archie Skalbeck re-directed a Mike Boivin pass.
But UND kept the pressure on the Tigers and finally got rewarded.
“This was a good weekend for our team to build and grow and play back-to-back games at a high level,” Hakstol said. “Being able to come back and tie the game and win it in overtime, it obviously really solidifies some of the hard work that the guys put in.”
Notes: UND went with the same lineup as the opener. . . Colorado College only made two changes. It replaced Michael Morin on the fourth line with Scott Wamsganz and it changed goaltenders. . . UND wore green jerseys. . . UND hosts Denver next weekend, then travels to Houghton, Mich., to take on Michigan Tech before breaking for Christmas.