There was no doubt that New Hampshire’s Peter LeBlanc was the hero of the game on Saturday in their 6-5 OT victory against the No. 2 North Dakota Fighting Sioux. LeBlanc scored two goals, including the goal in the first 45 seconds of OT for the win.
The Wildcats won their first NCAA tournament meeting with North Dakota to improve their record to 20-12-5 overall on the season.
UNH posts a 20-win campaign for the 13th consecutive year—the second longest active streak in the nation—while Head Coach, Dick Umile, earned his 17th 20 win season in 19 years of coaching at UNH.
With the game tied at three in the second period, UND went on top with 2:54 to play, and North Dakota’s Chris VandeVelde widened North Dakota’s advantage.
Despite the bad news of his family having to evacuate their Fargo, N.D. area home, due to the flood, it was a good night for VandeVelde, as he scored two back-to-back goals for North Dakota.
Trailing 5-4, with 5.7 seconds remaining in regulation and a face-off coming up in it's offensive zone, UNH pulled goaltender Brian Foster in favor of an extra attacker.
Sophomore forward Mike Sislo shot the puck around the boards to senior forward Jerry Pollastrone, who passed the puck in front of senior forward Thomas Fortney, who clocked it in the goal to tie the game with one-tenth of a second remaining in regulation.
In the extra period, Pollastrone passed the puck to LeBlanc, where he blasted a shot into the upper right-hand corner past North Dakota goalkeeper Brad Eidsness.
The Wildcats return to action Sunday, March 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Arena, when they take on either Boston University or Ohio State for the right to advance to their eighth Frozen Four in school history.
The Fighting Sioux fall to 24-15-4 on the season.
This was UNH’s fifth overtime game in tournament history, including it's third in regional play.
The last tournament overtime win for the Wildcats—who are now 3-2 in overtime games in the tournament—came in a 3-2 win against Harvard in the Northeast Regional semifinal at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. in 2005.
That was the last time UNH advanced out of that round.
Britney Milazzo is a Contributor for Bleacher Report.