Zach Okabe scores on a rush in overtime to send SCSU to Frozen Faceoff championship
Jami Krannila skipped a pass to Okabe going down the middle and Okabe buried a backhand at 5:45 to end North Dakota's season
ST. PAUL — A rush play goal by Zach Okabe sends the St. Cloud State men's hockey team to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff championship game for a record sixth time.
St. Cloud State senior center Jami Krannila crossed the North Dakota blue line and made a pass to Okabe going down the middle. Okabe went to his backhand and beat Drew DeRidder with a high shot at 5:45 of overtime to give the Huskies a 3-2 win.
The Huskies (23-12-3) will play Colorado College (13-21-3) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Xcel Energy Center for the championship.
St. Cloud State tied the game at 2-2 on a goal off a rush at 5:06 of the third period. Senior wing Zach Okabe made a cross-ice pass to senior center Jami Krannila, who one-timed the puck in. Krannila became the 22nd player in SCSU's NCAA Division I era to score 20 or more goals in a season.
The Fighting Hawks took a 2-1 lead into the third period. The go-ahead goal came on a gritty play by senior wing Judd Caulfield, who fought through a check in front of the net to knock in a loose puck from close range at 12:29 of the second period.
The game was tied 1-1 after the first period.
North Dakota took a 1-0 lead on a nice passing play on the power play. The play finished off when senior defenseman Ethan Frisch knocked in a cross-ice pass from sophomore center Jake Schmaltz at 6:18.
SCSU evened the game at 1-1 also on the power play. On a cross-ice pass from freshman defenseman Cooper Wylie to junior wing Veeti Miettinen, who one-timed a shot past Drew DeRidder at 17:16.
OT KILLER @zachokabe 😤#GoHuskies | #HuksyHockey 🏒 pic.twitter.com/Ba9WKGK5kv— St. Cloud State Men's Hockey (@SCSUHuskies_MH) March 18, 2023
St. Cloud State 3, North Dakota 2
First period scoring: 1. UND, Ethan Frisch 7 (Jake Schmaltz 7, Jackson Blake 26) 6:18 (pp); 2. SCSU, Veeti Miettinen 11 (Cooper Wylie 4, Grant Cruikshank 12) 17:16 (pp). Penalties — SCSU, Ondrej Trejbal (holding) 5:28; UND, Nick Portz (holding) 8:28; SCSU, Josh Luedtke (hooking) 8:28; UND, Frisch (holding) 15:58.
Second period scoring: 3. UND, Judd Caulfield 10 (Mark Senden 10, Gavin Hain 7) 12:29. Penalties — SCSU, Wylie (hooking) 2:35; UND, Dylan James (checking from behind) 5:22; UND, Cooper Moore (boarding) 18:12.
Third period scoring: 4. SCSU, Jami Krannila 20 (Zach Okabe 17, Veeti Miettinen 22) 5:06. Penalties — SCSU, Joe Molenaar (holding) 5:45.
Overtime scoring: 5. SCSU, Okabe 17 (Krannila 19, Miettinen 23) 5:45. Penalty — UND, Gavin Hain (tripping) 1:15
Goalie saves — UND, Drew DeRidder 6-3-4-5—18 (3 GA); SCSU, Jaxon Castor 4-10-7-2—23 (2 GA).
Penalties-minutes — UND 5-10; SCSU 4-8.
Power-play goals, opportunities (shots) — UND 1-3 (3 shots); SCSU 1-4 (3 shots).
Faceoffs — UND 39-27.
Referees — Nathan Wieler, Sterling Egan.
Linesemen — Erik Contino, Justin Hills.
Three stars of the game — 1. Okabe (SCSU), 2. Miettinen (SCSU), 3. Caulfield (UND).
Attendance — 10,242.