There have been greater comebacks in the 65-year history of University of Minnesota-Duluth hockey, but this one marks as the most astonishing one of all, UMD men’s hockey website said.
Minnesota-Duluth rallied to edge the Princeton men’s hockey team 5-4 in overtime on Friday night in the NCAA first round of the West Regional played at Minnesota’s Mariucci Arena. Senior Brett Wilson scored two goals for the Tigers.
The more than 7,000 fans in the crowd watched UMD make its sixth NCAA tournament appearance and score two goals inside the final 40 seconds of regulation to have a chance at extending their postseason journey.
Freshman left winger Mike Connolly sealed the victory with a power play goal past Princeton net minder, Zane Kalemba, at 13:39 of the first OT. The goal came off a pass from Justin Fontaine extended the Bulldogs’ playoff winning streak to a perfect 6-0-0.
Down 4-2 with 39.4 to go in the third period and skating 6-on-4, center Jack Connolly potted his 10th goal of the season near the right side of the goal to keep the Bulldogs’ chances afloat.
With .8 seconds left to play, UMD completed a miraculous turn of events to force overtime when sophomore defenseman Evan Oberg’s shot from inside the right face-off circle found the back of the Tiger net.
“There was a couple of guys laying down in front,” said Oberg, who now has seven goals on the season. “But I just tried to get the shot over the top of them.”
UMD jumped out to a 1-0 lead for the sixth consecutive game at 8:17 of the first period.
Senior left winger Andrew Carroll pounced on a rebound following a Travis Oleksuk wraparound attempt for his fifth goal of the year and first goal since Jan. 24.
Princeton answered with just more than five minutes left in the first with the man advantage.
Brett Wilson took advantage of a loose puck in front of the net to end junior goaltender Alex Stalock’s school-record scoreless streak at 147:45.
Princeton built up a lead with a strong start to the second period.
At 1:42, freshman Derrick Pallis scored from the point that was redirected by a UMD player past Bulldog netminder, Alex Stalock.
Junior Cam MacIntyre had the puck down low and his centering pass missed its target in front of the net, but got Pallis on the blue line, who netted his third goal of the season. Junior Dan Bartlett was credited with an assist.
Seven minutes later, Wilson, took a shot from the right at a rebound to put the Tigers upby two, but UMD came back in the next 29 seconds to issue a response.
En route to halting the Tigers three-goal outburst, freshman defensive Brady Lamb took a shot that hit traffic and fluttered into the net behind Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist, Kalemba.
Shorthanded at 9:21 in the third and in the process of fighting off UMD’s third power-play chance of the period, Princeton went ahead 4-2. Brandan Kushniruk, moving down the right side put one past Stalock that bounced off the inside of the left post into the goal.
UMD limited the Tigers to only five total shot attempts over the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Stalock, 2008-09 All-WCHA selections, made his 100th career appearance and finished with 27 saves while Kalemba had 30.
The Tigers finish the season at 22-12-1, while UMD moved to 22-12-8 and will face Miami tomorrow with Frozen Four berth hopes.
Britney Milazzo is a Contributor for Bleacher Report.