Minnesota Duluth knocks out UND in longest game in NCAA tournament history

Minnesota Duluth knocks out UND in longest game in NCAA tournament history

They played overtime. And another. And another. And another. And another. The match that started on Saturday ended on Sunday. It lasted 142:13, longer than any game in the 74-year history of the NCAA men’s hockey tournament.

That’s what made the end atrocious for a No. 1-ranked UND team in the country for much of the season.

At 12:42 p.m. Sunday morning, after 6 hours and 12 minutes of play, Minnesota forward Duluth Luke Mylmok landed a shot on a run that beat UND goaltender Adam Scheel five holes at the start of fifth overtime for giving the Bulldogs a 3- 2 victory in the Fargo Regional Final at Scheels Arena.

The goal came moments after UND defenseman Jake Sanderson landed a shot from the post, the third time the UND had drawn the iron in the additional five sessions.

“It will probably be one of the most memorable games, even though we lost the game in overtime,” said UND coach Brad Berry. “This is sport. I said to the guys after the game: “That’s life. This is what life is. It is not fair. At the end of the day we could have argued all day that should have won the game… we thought we had a very good opportunity. We had a ton of opportunities to win the game. We thought it wasn’t fair that we didn’t win the game. But again, that’s sport, that’s life. You keep moving. ”

The Bulldogs took to the ice to celebrate a fourth straight trip to the NCAA Frozen Four, the first team to achieve that feat since the 2005-08 UND. They’ll go to Pittsburgh in two weeks, two wins before becoming the first varsity hockey team to win three straight titles since Michigan in the 1950s.

UND (22-6-1) stayed on the ice for several minutes trying to digest the end of their season, which included a Penrose Cup as National Conference Champions in college hockey and the first NCHC Frozen title. Faceoff, but it won’t end. with the school’s ninth NCAA National Championship.

“We had a really good team this year together,” said Berry. “I’ve been here for a long time as a player, as an assistant coach and as a head coach, and I don’t know if we had a closer group or more concerned with each other than this group. We’re always talking about controlling the things you can control. There are three things we always talk about: your work ethic, your attitude, and the choices you make every day. These guys did it at a T level, at an elite level. ”

Captain Jordan Kawaguchi, who equalized the game with an extra goal in the dying minutes, hugged all of the UND players as they left the ice.

“These are my brothers,” Kawaguchi said. ” It is my family. ”

The Bulldogs, who have won the last two NCAA national titles, have continued their overtime magic.

Minnesota Duluth won overtime games in the NCAA in 2016 (Providence), two in 2017 (Ohio State, Boston University), another in 2018 (Minnesota State-Mankato), another in 2019 (Bowling Green) and another Saturday Sunday. Three of those overtime wins came at Fargo’s Scheels Arena.

UND, meanwhile, lost another heartbreak in multiple overtime in the NCAA tournament.

In 2017, in the same building, UND lost a double overtime game to Boston University. The Fighting Hawks went on for 25 minutes without allowing a shot on goal – including the entire first overtime – but couldn’t finish it.

Saturday’s game wasn’t that lopsided – the final shots were 65-54 UND – but the odds of winning it were plenty.

Gavin Hain hit the crossbar in the first overtime. Shane Pinto hit the crossbar in third overtime. Just at the end of third overtime, Jasper Weatherby entered the zone on a rushed run, fired a puck that hit Minnesota goalie Duluth Zach Stejskal, floated through the air behind him and landed overhead. net. Sanderson hit the post again in fifth overtime.

“When you look at the (puck on) the top of the net… You look at Jake Sanderson – I think he hit two posts, he went double post and outside – you must be wondering a little bit that the gods of the hockey don’t shine on you, ”Berry said. “Again, it’s neither here nor there. It’s one of those things where we needed one more rebound, we needed one more play to score, and we didn’t.

“I can’t blame any of our players for tonight’s loss. They gave it their all. That’s all we’ve asked them for all year. They did it again tonight. ”

After removing the NCAA tournament a year ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, UND and Minnesota Duluth have done their best to make up for it, playing an all-time game that broke the previous tournament record of the 123: 53 NCAA set by St Lawrence and Boston University in 2000. The Saints won in fourth overtime.

Not only did UND play the longest game in program history – the previous record was on December 21, 1968, when UND beat Minnesota 5-4 in a game that lasted 102:09 – he also has it. done with a player. UND senior forward Grant Mismash, who has averaged one point per game this season, suffered a leg injury in the second period. He tried to play a quarterback in the third, but he couldn’t go.

By second overtime the UND players had expended so much energy that Berry started playing extra forward Carson Albrecht, trying to split the minutes and get energy from guys who hadn’t played. as much.

“The last intermission, two of us had IVs going,” Kawaguchi said. “We were drinking Coke just to get sugar into our system, to give us energy… pretty much anything that makes you feel better, we did. ”

UND, who was 19-0 in the game’s first goal this season, had to play from behind in the regional final.

Minnesota Duluth scored back-to-back goals in 1:20 at the start of the third period to take a 2-0 lead.

At 3:21 am, Bulldog Hunter defenseman Lellig threw a shot from the point that hit Bulldog forward Jackson Cates, jumped into the air and landed behind Scheel. A few changes later, UND defenseman Ethan Frisch attempted a stopwatch from the point, but his stick snapped and Cole Koepke had a clean breakaway, beating Scheel on the stick side.

UND however pulled off a breathtaking rally at the end of the third.

Senior forward Collin Adams conceded one off Stejskal behind the baseline with 1:41 to cut the Bulldog’s lead to one. Then, after the Bulldogs missed a chance at the empty net, UND equalized. Pinto attempted a shot from the left circle, but he deflected to the right circle, where Kawaguchi buried him with 57 seconds remaining.

“I thought we played well,” Kawaguchi said. “It’s a good team. We are a good team. Two great teams are participating. Obviously the score reflected it, the whole game reflected it. Both teams could have won tonight. ”

The winning goal came from Mylmok, a freshman with just one previous goal this season.

Scheel finished the game with 51 saves, the most by an UND goalkeeper since 1994.

Kawaguchi, a senior, led UND in scoring for the third consecutive year, becoming the first player to do so since Greg Johnson (1990-93). While the NCAA has ruled this season does not count towards a player’s eligibility, meaning any senior could return, some may choose to move on.

“Emotions are everywhere,” Kawaguchi said. “It’s hard to put a lot of words right now. ”


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