March 24, 2017 PRINT Bookmark and Share

North Dakota Does Everything But Win

 (photo: Russ Hons)

(photo: Russ Hons)

by Jackie DeMolee/CHN Reporter

See all of CHN's Tournament coverage: articles, brackets, history and more.

FARGO, N.D. — For all the talk of North Dakota having the crowd on its side, it took a lull in the action to turn things around.

The end result did not ultimately go North Dakota's way, the game lost in heartbreaking fashion to Boston University in double overtime after it thought it had won in the first OT. There will be no back-to-back championships.

But of the multitudes of things that will be ruminated over about this game, the grit of the never-say-die Fighting Hawks will be remembered as much as anything.

Down 3-1 in the third period, North Dakota's Mike Gornall checked BU's Kieffer Bellows into the glass in the Terriers' zone. The ensuing 14-minute delay seemed to take the wind out of BU's sails.

“I thought there were different shifts in the game momentum-wise but I thought for the most part our guys battled extremely hard,” Fighting Hawks head coach Brad Berry said.

During the first five minutes of the third period the Terriers tacked on two even-strength goals by Bobo Carpenter and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. Then came the delay.

“When the glass broke we were brought in as a team by coach and coach said it's going to be one of the best comebacks in college history and we did that, we just didn't, tough way to end it,” Christian Wolanin said.

The first push to rally was a wrist shot from Ludvig Hoff. Wolanin then scored with 4:26 seconds remaining in regulation.

The onslaught continued into OT, with a frenzied crowd in Fargo in their corner. North Dakota outshot BU in the overtime, 5-0 — no shots for BU. But that doesn't nearly tell the whole story.

Dixon Bowen thought he won the game for North Dakota, and the comeback was complete. But another long delay turned things back the other way. This time it was because of a video review, and the play was overturned because of an offsides.

It was the right call, but it didn't make it sting any less.

"It was tough," Berry said. "To me, it was probably the right call. You can't see definitively, but they have very credible people here looking at it."

Still the shots were 51-23 after the first overtime, with many more attempts blocked by BU.

“The ebbs and flows of it, obviously, they get the goal in overtime and everyone thinks the game is over. We thought that it might be an offside and it seemed like the longer it took (to review) the better chance that we were going to live another day,” BU coach David Quinn said.

It wasn’t until the second half of the second overtime that BU was able to finally get something going. It only takes one chance, especially when you have a team as skilled as BU.

Clayton Keller, CHN's Rookie of the Year, dangled with the puck in the North Dakota zone for a seeming eternity. He finally found some free space, and fired a perfect cross-ice pass to a cutting Charlie McAvoy on the back door. McAvoy only had to tap it in.

The seventh-longest game in NCAA tournament history was complete.

“Disappointing outcome, thought our guys battled extremely hard, couldn't be more proud of them,” Berry said.

“I kind of stood up at the blue line and waited for Clayton to come up that wall there," McAvoy said of his second goal of the night. “I watched the play and observed and saw a lane going to the net and I figured he would find me if I was open, that’s exactly what he did and it happened pretty quick but I’m glad it went in.”

Boston University’s goaltender Jake Oettinger stopped 53 of 56 shots on goal to backstop the Terriers to the win.

North Dakota is going home. But not before an effort worthy of a defending champion

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