Roundup: North Dakota Wins In OT With Unlikely Hero
ASU Wraps Up 2nd Season on Strong Note
CHN Staff Report
North Dakota picked up a much-needed win at Engelstad Arena on Saturday, 2-1 over St. Cloud State in overtime, earning a split of the weekend series. And the hero was an unlikely one, [[Mike Gornell]].
The sophomore walk-on from Irwin, Pa., had played in just 9 games this season without a goal and 12 games over the past two seasons with just a single goal to show for it.
But he put on the Superman cape when his team needed him most, scoring both of UND's goals.
In overtime, Gornell chipped the puck past St. Cloud defenseman Dennis Cholowski along the right boards, darted around him and cut alone to the net before roofing a backhanded just 41 seconds into OT to give the Fighting Hawks the much-needed win.
"Relief,'' teammate Trevor Olson said of seeing Gornall's winner go in. "We always give him a little [grief] for his shootout moves in practice, but he obviously buried that one on the breakaway there in OT. A relief, monkey off our back.''
North Dakota, still playing without young star Tyson Jost, had gone just 2-5 in the last seven games coming into Saturday's contest, and remains one game below .500 in the league, in third place, though still 10th in the Pairwise.
Gornall tied the game at 1-1 at 6:10 of the second period, swatting in a rebound of his initial shot past Hukies' goalie Jeff Smith (24 saves) after heavy pressure by UND.
St. Cloud took a 1-0 lead at 11:25 of the first period when Mikey Eyssimont scooped a puck off the end wall and tucked it past UND goalie Cam Johnson (20 saves), returning from injury after missing the last four games .
But Gornall was the major story as UND, which had scored just one goal in its previous two games, ramped up just enough offense.
"It feels great,'' Gornall said. "The big thing is we won. Wins have been a little scare for us. It's huge to get one in our building, going into the bye week and building momentum for the rest of the season.''
Johnson had the same feeling as Olson when Gornall's winner found net. "Relief,'' the UND netminder said. "We needed it big time. We needed it for us, for Pairwise, for our fans, everything. We've been struggling at home, so it's huge.''
UND had been just 2-6-1 at home in league play before Gornall nailed down a win.
"We're all very happy for him,'' UND coach Brad Berry said of Gornall. "He earns everything he gets. He does it the hard way. It's great to see him have a little bit of success here. We needed a guy like that to step up. It was huge for our team. The morale on the bench, the excitement, when he scored, was second to none.''
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Minnesota-Duluth followed its tie and shootout win Friday, with a 27-save shutout performance by freshman goaltender Hunter Miska to defeat Nebraska-Omaha, 5-0, on Saturday.
Five different players scored, including the 13th of the season for Alex Iafallo.
The Bulldogs pulled five points ahead of idle Denver in the NCHC standings for first place, and remain No. 1 to Denver's No. 2 in the Pairwise as well.
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Western Michigan was unable to get a series sweep in a non-league weekend against Arizona State, but Wade Allison's goal with 54.4 seconds remaining in regulation gave his team a 2-2 tie and was enough to maintain the No. 5 spot in the Pairwise.
Down 2-1 in the final 90 seconds the Broncos pulled goalie Ben Blacker to gain the extra attacker. Scott Moldenhauer got the puck to Colt Conrad behind the net and Conrad dished it off to Allison in the left circle. The Philadelphia Flyers’ draft pick skated through the slot and buried it to tie the game up at 2-2. The goal was Allison’s 11th of the season and fourth point of the weekend.
Arizona State's Joey Daccord was the story; the goaltender made 50 saves to preserve the tie.
From ASU's perspective, it was another enormous accomplishment, getting a tie against a top-10 rated team. In particular, it was good to go out on a strong note, this being the team's last game of the season against NCAA teams. ASU got a mythical win by scoring during a 3-on-3 shootout, though it was technically an exhibition. The Sun Devils finish their second season of existence at 10-19-3, a large improvement over last year's 3-22-0 mark.
"Just incredible. What a great effort by our guys tonight," ASU head coach Greg Powers said. "It was awesome to end our NCAA portion of our season playing almost 130 minutes of hockey the way that we need to play to compete against teams like that. The future is obviously very bright for our program."