Ethan Frisch delivers overtime win for UND
The Fighting Hawks extended their season-long unbeaten streak to five games.
GRAND FORKS — Mark Senden skated to center ice to take the faceoff to open overtime.
It may have seemed odd considering Senden only took one draw all game.
But UND is getting pretty good at this drill.
Senden won the draw. UND got possession. Its skilled players went to work and UND beat Omaha 5-4 when Ethan Frisch buried a feed from Riese Gaber at 1:06 of overtime.
It marked the third-consecutive Friday night that UND won an overtime game.
"We're trying to get a regulation win," UND forward Jackson Kunz said. "It's in the back of all our heads, obviously. We could really use it right now, but if we keep winning in overtime, we'll take it."
Two weeks ago, Gaber beat St. Cloud State in the extra session.
Last week, Jackson Blake beat Colorado College with a goal on the first shift of overtime.
Friday night, Frisch finished it off to extend UND's unbeaten streak to a season-high five games.
On the winning play, UND had just given up puck possession, but Blake caused Omaha forward Cameron Berg to fumble it into open ice. Gaber picked up the loose puck, pulled it to the corner and spotted Frisch driving the middle of the ice.
Frisch picked the corner of the net for the first overtime winner of his college career.
"I saw the play develop in the neutral zone and it kind of reminded me a lot of last week — if people were watching that," Frisch said, referencing his failed opportunity from the top of the crease in overtime last Saturday. "But instead of making a move, this time I decided to shoot. I'm more of a shooter."
The Fighting Hawks (15-13-6) have gone to overtime five games in a row — the first time in program history that's happened. In all, they've played 11 overtimes times this season, winning four and losing one. The other six remained scoreless and went to shootouts.
"We need to learn how to finish them in 60 (minutes)," Frisch said. "Obviously, there are some things we need to clean up defensively to make sure we can do that and help us do that tomorrow. But it's a win and it's fun to do that in front of our crowd here, so we're happy with that. We'll try to get it in 60 minutes tomorrow."
UND freshman Dylan James scored twice, while Kunz and fifth-year senior Gavin Hain each added one.
Blake tallied two assists to reach 40 points for the season.
He's the fifth UND freshman to hit the 40-point mark since The Ralph opened in 2001. The others are Zach Parise, Brady Murray, T.J. Oshie and Brock Boeser. Jonathan Toews had 39.
UND will go for the series sweep at 6:07 p.m. Saturday.
The series opener was a see-saw game.
The Fighting Hawks led 3-1 in the third period, but gave it up on goals by Nolan Sullivan with 10:32 left and Jake Pivonka with 3:55 remaining.
UND regained the lead on a James unassisted goal with 3:02 left, but Omaha evened it again when Matt Miller scored with the goalie pulled with 32 seconds left.
Fighting Hawks goalie Drew DeRidder and Mavericks goalie Simon Latkoczy both finished with 25 saves.
"I thought we took control of the game in the second period a little bit," UND coach Brad Berry said. "The third period, I thought it was going the right way, then we didn't manage pucks on a couple of those plays and they came back and tied the game up a couple of different times.
"I think the biggest thing is we've got to try to win a game in 60 minutes. Don't get me wrong. It's a positive here as far as the last five games, getting a result or winning a game. At the end of the day, it's just cleaning up a couple of things to win the 60-minute timeframe."
The overtime wins help, but they're not full value in the Pairwise Rankings. An overtime win is worth 67 percent of a regulation win. An overtime loss is worth 33 percent.
"I thought we played pretty well," James said. "We had some lulls in the middle of periods. Obviously, we didn't like that. Then, we went to OT and we didn't want that, either. But we found a way to win, so overall, it's good."
The Fighting Hawks, sitting at No. 23 in the Pairwise Rankings, might have to win the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff to get into the NCAA tournament via an automatic bid.
UND will find out Saturday night where its going to start the league tournament for a best-of-three quarterfinal series. It could be at Western Michigan or Omaha. It appears St. Cloud State is no longer a possibility.
No matter where the Fighting Hawks go next week, three-on-three overtimes will be done. Overtimes are five-on-five in the playoffs.
"That's why the urgency is for us to clean up a couple of things," Berry said. "Because obviously overtimes are going to be consistent of what regulation time is — five-on-five."