March 17, 2012 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Forbort's Blast Sparks Improbable Rally

North Dakota Gets Off the Deck to Reach Finals

by Eric Stromgren/CHN Writer

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Derek Forbort was the spark North Dakota needed to start an improbable rally in Friday night's 6-3 semifinal win over Minnesota at the WCHA Final Five.

The Gophers were in complete control with a 3-0 lead until UND head coach Dave Hakstol called a timeout late in the second period and Forbort scored 44 seconds later on a slap shot from the blue line.

"We just knew we had to get our heads moving and our feet moving," Forbort said. "We weren't playing our game that first period and a half. I think the goal really got us going."

North Dakota entered the third period trailing 3-1 and cut the lead to 3-2 when Forbort's initial shot to the left of Minnesota goalie Kent Patterson turned into Michael Parks' goal on the other side of the net.

"We made one good thing happen, we had a bounce in the second period," UND head coach Dave Hakstol said. "Mario (Lamoureux) said it: 'Let's go out and get one and see where it goes,' and this is where it went. I'm proud of our hockey team."

North Dakota took over the third period with five goals in outshooting Minnesota 17-2.

"It's a good feeling but our whole team the third period was going on all cylinders, so it wasn't just me," Forbort said. "It was all of the other guys."

Forbort, a sophomore defenseman, also assisted on Brock Nelson's game-winning goal in Thursday's 4-1 quarterfinal win over St. Cloud State.

Forbort has two goals and nine assists this season. He missed five games in the middle of the year after injuring his knee playing for Team USA in a game against the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championships. He has six assists and has a plus-7 in the last 14 games since returning from the injury.

"The knee feels good and I've been playing really good hockey," Forbort said.

Forbort, a native of Duluth, Minn., is a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2010 draft and talked about how he has improved as a player this year.

"I think I've just got bigger and stronger as a player," Forbort said. "My decision making has got a little better and my defensive play has got better as well. I'm just working on those areas to get better and hopefully I can make that (NHL) jump someday."

North Dakota faces Denver Saturday night in a rematch of the 2011 Final Five Championship won by UND 3-2 in double overtime. North Dakota will try to become the first team to win the Broadmoor Trophy three consecutive years.

"Last year's game was pretty crazy," Forbort said. "It should be a good match against Denver, they've got a good team and it should be fun … being a Minnesota boy I love playing the Gophers more, but Denver is a great opponent and there's a big rivalry there."

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