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UND rallies for overtime win over Colorado College

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UND's Mark Senden and Colorado College's Andrew Farny work for the puck in Friday's NCHC game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Eric Hylde/ Forum News Service2 / 4
UND's Nick Jones breaks away with the puck as CC's Grant Cruikshank chases on a short-handed attempt in the second period for UND. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service3 / 4
UND's Gavin Hain watches Colorado College goalie Alex LeClerc make a save as CC's Grant Cruikshank defends in the second period Friday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service4 / 4

GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota looked to be on the verge of another perplexing defeat.

Despite outshooting and outchancing Colorado College for much of the game, the Tigers scored back-to-back goals at the start of the third to take a one-goal lead.

But, finally, UND wrote a new ending to the story.

Jordan Kawaguchi scored the game-tying goal with 5:46 left and Ludvig Hoff deflected a Jacob Bernard-Docker point shot in the final minute of overtime to lift UND to a 4-3 victory in front of 11,094 in Ralph Engelstad Arena Friday night, Jan. 11..

“It was huge for a lot of different reasons,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “Getting back in the win column. Second of all, climbing the standings in the NCHC and trying to get home ice. Pairwise, it’s a huge thing. But I think first and foremost is the morale of the group here. You’re working hard all year and you don’t get rewarded sometimes on the offensive side of the game. We got rewarded tonight.”

With the win, UND improved to 10-9-1 overall and 4-5 in National Collegiate Hockey Conference play. Colorado College dropped to 8-11-2 and 2-6-1.

UND outshot the Tigers 47-23 for the game, but needed a pair of dramatic goals to get the win.

On the tying goal, UND forward Nick Jones attempted a shot from the inside of the right circle. It went to the top of the crease, where Kawaguchi had his stick on the ice and re-directed it past Tiger goaltender Alex Leclerc (43 saves).

Then, after dominating overtime, UND finally capitalized.

Bernard-Docker got the puck at the point and wound up for a slap shot. With two Tiger defenders in the lane ready to block the shot, Bernard-Docker pulled the puck toward his body to change the angle and sent it toward the slot.

Hoff was standing in the high slot and tipped it out of mid-air high into the corner of the far side of the net.

“I was just happy,” Hoff said of seeing the puck go in the net. “I just wanted to hug the guys and kind of celebrate. Obviously, it’s a big win for us, but as we talked about in the locker room already, we’re not happy right now. We need two wins.”

For the second-straight game, Jones gave UND the early lead on a power-play goal midway through the first period.

Defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker sent a puck to Jones at the bottom of the left circle. Jones was left uncovered and had time to size up Colorado College goalie Alex Leclerc. Despite not having much room, Jones picked the upper short-side corner of the net at 10:11.

UND scored in the second period for the first time in a conference game this season to extend the lead to 2-0. After a dominant shift by the Mark Senden, Cole Smith and Gavin Hain line -- one that generated several Grade-A looks -- UND scored on a seemingly harmless play when Peski slapped a puck from the point through two Tiger defenders and five-hole on Leclerc at 7:14.

The Tigers got that goal right back on the power play, though. With just 11 seconds remaining on the man advantage, point-man Alex Berardinelli found Westin Michaud open at the side of the crease.

UND goalie Adam Scheel pushed from side to side to try to make a desperation save and he got a piece of Michaud’s attempt, but the puck had enough on it to still trickle into the back of the net.

Early in the third period, Colorado College tied it on a broken passing play that ended up on the stick of former U.S. Under-18 Team player Erik Middendorf, who finished it off on top of the crease.

And just 44 seconds after Middendorf’s goal, Gabe Bast was called for a five-minute major for contact to the head of Tiger forward Alex Berardinelli, who remained on the ice for several minutes and did not return.

Former UND forward Chris Wilkie tied it up just 26 seconds into the advantage, but UND killed the remaining 4:34 and eventually turned the tide back its direction.

“Obviously, it turned out well for us,” Kawaguchi said. “We got the win, but obviously, not the way we wanted. We gave up a two-goal lead. But at the end of the day, we got the win and that’s what matters.”