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Another classic UND-Minnesota game ends in a tie

MINNEAPOLIS--It took 6 minutes, 17 seconds for North Dakota and Minnesota to get in a scuffle Friday night. "It was like, 'we're baaaaack,'" Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. Indeed, the North Dakota-Minnesota rivalry returned after three years Fri...

UND's Rhett Gardner celebrates UND's second goal of the first period as Minnesota goalie Eric Schierhorn and Ryan Collins look on. photo by Eric Hylden/Forum News Service
UND's Rhett Gardner celebrates UND's second goal of the first period as Minnesota goalie Eric Schierhorn and Ryan Collins look on. photo by Eric Hylden/Forum News Service

MINNEAPOLIS-It took 6 minutes, 17 seconds for North Dakota and Minnesota to get in a scuffle Friday night.

"It was like, 'we're baaaaack,'" Minnesota coach Don Lucia said.

Indeed, the North Dakota-Minnesota rivalry returned after three years Friday night and it was like it had never gone away.

In front of a raucous Mariucci Arena crowd, these teams scuffled, showcased their skill and went blow-for-blow until it ended up as a 5-5 tie in front of 9,939 chanting fans-many wearing green.

UND (5-2-1) led on four different occasions and Minnesota answered every time-the final response coming on an extra-attacker goal by Gopher sophomore Tommy Novak with just 1:17 remaining.

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Nobody was able to cement themselves in the rivalry's lore with an overtime goal, and it ended up a tie, just as the last game these teams played in Mariucci Arena four years ago.

"It was everything we expected," said UND freshman Tyson Jost, who scored a highlight-reel goal and added two assists. "The crowd was into it, something we knew was going to happen. You could kind of taste the bad blood out there. It was back and forth. You could feel the energy and the tradition in the game.

"But I was disappointed we couldn't seal the deal."

The game had a little bit of everything.

There was some rough stuff-11 after-the-whistle penalties, highlighted by Gage Ausmus and Ryan Lindgren's shoving match early on that landed them both in the penalty box for 14 minutes.

There was some skill, highlighted by Jost's play to circle the net, drive hard to the side, fake a shot to get the goalie down, drag it across the top of the crease and slam it home on the other side.

There was atmosphere. The east side, covered in green and white, exchanged chants with the Minnesota student section on the west side of the arena throughout the game.

And there was drama.

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UND appeared to be in position to win the game twice in the first period.

Jost's highlight-reel goal gave the Fighting Hawks a 4-3 lead with 8:43 to go. But that lead evaporated just 3:28 later, when Brent Gates collected a bouncing puck in the slot and beat UND goalie Cam Johnson (32 saves).

Tucker Poolman gave UND the lead again with just 1:59 to go, when his blast from the point hit Gopher goalie Eric Schierhorn (17 saves), popped in the air and landed across the goal line.

But the Gophers, who scored two extra-attacker goals six days earlier against St. Lawrence, had more magic left at home. Lucia pulled Schierhorn immediately after the faceoff and the Gophers eventually worked the puck to Novak, who ripped a one-timer past Johnson's glove.

"I thought we did a good job getting the lead every time it was tied," UND coach Brad Berry said. "But it's the small details that are getting us. It's undisciplined penalties. It's puck management at times when we need to get pucks deep. For the most part, I loved the effort tonight, but we have to make sure the small details get taken care of."

Special teams continue to haunt the Fighting Hawks.

Six days after losing to Minnesota Duluth 3-0 on two shorthanded goals and a power-play goal, the Gophers scored four of their five goals with man advantages. Minnesota went 3-for-8 on the power play.

"We can definitely take some positives and negatives out of that game," Jost said. "Some penalties killed us. We've got to tighten that up. If we do that, things will go smoother."

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UND did get one big penalty kill.

Rhett Gardner was called for elbowing in overtime, but couldn't capitalize for the win.

"There's a little disappointment, knowing we had a good effort tonight," Berry said. "Again, we have to be sharper tomorrow as far as our discipline goes."

Lucia said he was pleased with his team's performance.

"Sometimes as coaches, we get nervous, but I was more looking forward to watching our guys play," Lucia said. "What are they going to do? How are they going to respond? Do they understand the series? Do they understand how hard they're going to have to play? And I think they did."

And in the end, it was another crazy North Dakota-Minnesota game.

"They are (crazy)," Berry said. "They are a testament to the tradition and history of this rivalry. It's a lot of things coming at our guys from our perspective, as well as theirs, as far as what the rivalry really means. Tomorrow, we have to keep our heads together and play that 60-minute game."

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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