ST. PAUL, Minn. • Even doubters have to believe in them a little, if only because these Tigers certainly do.
They have good reason after downing sixth-ranked North Dakota 4-3 in overtime in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five quarterfinals.
Colorado College’s third win in a row sends the never-say-die Tigers (17-18-5) into the semifinals against top-ranked Minnesota (26-7-5) and two victories from the program’s first Broadmoor Trophy and an NCAA Tournament berth.
“It is definitely belief in ourselves,” junior Alexander Krushelnyski said. “We know that when everyone plays their best we can win and we did tonight.”
The OT game-winner, scored by sophomore defenseman Peter Stoykewych 4:52 into the extra frame, came after North Dakota’s Drake Caggiula scored his second of the night to tie the game with 7:15 left in regulation.
CC looked ready to pull out the win in regulation after Hunter Fejes scored on a hard wrist shot that blew past North Dakota goalie Clarke Saunders’ glove early in the third period at the Xcel Energy Center, silencing most of the largely green-clad 17,038 on hand. Krushelnyski had tallied his third short-handed goal in the second to keep the pressure on North Dakota (21-12-7), which will advance to the NCAAs regardless.
Krushelnyski’s goal started when Rylan Schwartz took the puck away from North Dakota defenseman Joe Gleason and found his linemate for the breakaway. It was just one play in a strong performance by the senior, typifying the performance of the seven fourth-year players during this postseason run.
“They’re grinding out wins and they did a great job of that tonight,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said.
Hobey Baker hopeful Danny Kristo scored with 9.1 seconds left to put UND ahead 2-1 entering the second period. Caggiula’s first goal tied the game at 1-1 5 minutes earlier.
“Giving up that goal hurt and not scoring on the earlier 5-on-3 did too,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “But we didn’t panic. Joe Howe is a huge part of our success and is giving us a lot of confidence.”
North Dakota outshot CC 32-23 and 20-10 through the first two periods but Howe and the CC penalty kill, which went 6-for-6, was up to the task. Howe finished with 29 saves to compile 141 stops in four playoff games, breaking his record of 134 set in five in 2011.
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