March 17, 2012 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Timeout Turns Game Around

North Dakota Scores Six Unanswered to Defeat Gophers

by Dan Myers/CHN Staff

ST. PAUL, Minn. — With tired legs and a battered team on the ice, North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol signaled for a timeout with 5:53 remaining in the second period.

Down 3-0 on the scoreboard and 23-7 on the shot chart, Minnesota had played perhaps its best 35 minutes all season and had seemingly buried the FIghting Sioux in an insurmountable hole.

It was that timeout that somehow, some way, completely changed the direction of the hockey game. Less than a minute later, Derek Forbort's blast from the point bounced off a Gopher defenseman in front and past Kent Patterson to pull UND within 3-1.

The goal gave North Dakota all the momentum it needed in the third as an avalanche of Sioux goals — five in all — gave UND a 6-3 win over the Gophers, setting up a championship rematch with Denver tomorrow night at Xcel Energy Center.

Hakstol said there was nothing particularly special about the timeout. Nothing out of the ordinary was said.

"It was simply to do anything we could to earn our next shift and have a good shift," Hakstol said. "There was nothing special said at all. It was a matter of, we had tired bodies on the ice and we're going to do what we have to do to get through this point in the game and survive it and get onto the next point.

"It the little signs of our guys finding a spark, finding some energy and doing everything you can in your power to help them get back into it. That's all it was."

North Dakota captain Mario Lamoureux was a bit more to the point.

"We were getting dominated in every aspect of the game," he said. "We knew we weren't playing the way we needed to play. We weren't moving our feet."

Something clicked afterwards.

Over the final 25:53 after the timeout, North Dakota outscored Minnesota 6-0. It outshot the Gophers 21-2. It outhit and outworked the Gophers to every loose puck. And at critical times in the third period, Minnesota simply had no answer.

"I think we were just scared to lose," said Gophers forward Jake Hansen. "We just weren't playing like we were in the first half of the game. They just took over."

Even though UND had yet to really show up, the team wasn't concerned.

"We have unbelievable leadership on this team," said Sioux forward Michael Parks. "We only have three seniors, but [Lamoureux], and Ben Blood, Brad Eidsness and [Andrew] MacWilliam, those guys lead the way. Mario definitely got us started tonight and we all just followed."

And that leadership showed up when things got tough. Lamoureux, who had scored just one goal all season, banged home a pair of greasy goals in the third, including the game winner at 9:42. Corban Knight added an insurance marker 37 seconds later to give North Dakota a 5-3 lead, capping a 4:48 stretch where UND scored four goals.

Perhaps more impressively, North Dakota scored all but one of its goals 5-on-5. As a team, Minnesota finished the night a minus-20. And it all seemed to start with that seemingly innocent timeout late in the second period.

"It's little things in this game. You find a way to survive during some tough points in the hockey game," Hakstol said. "Our guys did a good job of that tonight. One good thing happened and that gave us a chance."

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