UND rallies from a three-goal deficit to tie Quinnipiac
The Fighting Hawks scored three goals in the span of 2:22 in the third period.
GRAND FORKS — Quinnipiac was 26-1 last season when scoring the first goal of the game.
So, it didn't look great for UND on Friday night when the Bobcats scored the first, second and third goals of the top-10 showdown in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
But the Fighting Hawks proceeded to do what few teams have done to Quinnipiac in recent years.
They threw an onslaught of shots at one of the nation's best defensive teams, they scored five goals on the country's active career shutout leader and they rallied for a wild 5-5 tie in the series opener.
As UND scored three times in the span of 2 minutes, 22 seconds in the third period, the 10,875 fans in Ralph Engelstad Arena came alive and fueled UND's biggest comeback in nearly five years.
"I've never been part of a game or an atmosphere like that," UND freshman forward Dylan James said. "I had chills the whole game. It was pretty crazy."
Junior Riese Gaber said: "It was incredible. It was probably the loudest I've heard this building. You've got to give it to the fans. I think every time we scored, I looked up and it kind of takes your breath away. It's pretty special. It's a pretty special place. It's something we don't take for granted, that's for sure."
Gaber, Jackson Blake and Chris Jandric all had a goal and an assist, while James scored his first-career goal and Gavin Hain remained red hot with his seventh goal in seven games as UND stayed unbeaten.
It marked UND's first comeback from down three goals since Nov. 17, 2017, when it rallied from a 3-0 deficit at No. 1 Denver to win 5-4. It was the first time UND has done it in front of the Ralph Engelstad Arena crowd since Dec. 5, 2014, when it rallied against Lake Superior State at home.
The only two other times UND has rallied from a three-goal deficit in the last 15 years: The Dave Hakstol Timeout Game in the 2012 Final Five against rival Minnesota and the Andrew Kozek hat trick game at home against Denver in February 2008.
"Oh my gosh, that was the coolest experience I've ever witnessed," Blake said of the building's atmosphere during the comeback. "Every goal, the building just erupts and the bench is shaking, and all the boys go crazy. That's definitely huge."
It was extra notable because of the opponent.
Quinnipiac outshot 42 of its last 44 opponents coming into Friday's game. UND turned the tables and not only outshot the Bobcats, but did it handily — 43-22. It was the largest margin Quinnipiac has been outshot in a game since Oct. 20, 2017 — nearly five years to the day.
The 43 shots on goal marked the most allowed by Quinnipiac in more than a decade. The last team to throw that many at a Bobcat goaltender was Omaha on Dec. 31, 2010.
"I think it's pressuring the puck," UND coach Brad Berry said. "I think that's a big deal — getting pucks, the 50-50 battles, getting to situations where you just keep pressuring the puck with support. They did it as well. They scored goals early on because they did that. There's no magic to it. It's obviously outnumbering guys on a puck, making a play or two in the offensive zone and keeping plays alive. We didn't keep enough plays alive in the first. They did. I thought we did a better job as the game went on."
UND moved to 2-0-1 on the season, while the Bobcats moved to 1-0-2. The series finale is scheduled for 6:07 p.m. Saturday in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
"There was a lot of energy spent, physically and emotionally," Berry said. "We've got to make sure we enjoy it for a little bit, get something to eat, get some hydration, get home and come back tomorrow knowing we have to get after it again here."
Here's some more of our coverage from the UND-Quinnipiac series...
No. 8 Quinnipiac stormed to the big lead on goals by Joey Cipollone, Cristophe Tellier and Jacob Quillan in the first period. Those goals chased UND starter Drew DeRidder for backup Jakob Hellsten, who completed the game.
In the second period, the teams traded goals. James scored at 2:52 to make it 3-1. Quinnipiac's T.J. Friedmann answered to make it 4-1 at 8:55. UND's Owen McLaughlin set up Gaber at 16:21 to make it 4-2 heading into the third period.
In the third, Quinnipiac ran into penalty trouble and UND capitalized.
Blake scored his second goal of the year — a power-play tally — on a highlight-reel play at 5:55. He spun off a defender in the left circle, carried it to the slot and snapped it five-hole on Quinnipiac goalie Yaniv Perets, who finished with career highs in both saves (38) and goals allowed (five).
"He's good, eh?" Gaber said of Blake. "I try to watch him every day and learn things from him. . . the way he sees the ice. And it's same thing with O-Mac (McLaughlin). All four of our freshmen are unreal but those two, the way they carry the puck and see the ice, is just. . . I wish I could do it like that."
On Blake's goal, Quinnipiac defenseman Iivari Rasanen was called for a penalty for hauling him down. Then, on the ensuing power play, the Friedmann took a hooking penalty to put UND on a five-on-three. Jandric converted to tie it.
Just 34 seconds after Jandric's goal, with The Ralph still buzzing, Hain snapped home a shot from the circle for his fourth goal of the season to give UND the lead.
"The beauty of North Dakota hockey is there's no give-up," Berry said. "There's a mindset of getting after it no matter what the score is. Tonight, capturing the (tie), and the way it happened, it builds your team. It galvanizes your team."
Quinnipiac had an answer, though, when C.J. McGee hammered a shot from the right point to tie it 5-5 with 9:35 left in the third period. The Bobcats had a chance to win it on the power play at the end of the game, but UND killed it off.
The teams held a shootout after a scoreless overtime. UND won it, but it didn't mean anything in the Pairwise Rankings. The game goes down as a tie.
"Obviously, we've got to clean up some things in the D-zone," Gaber said. "There were obviously some breakdowns. But we've got a good group and we'll fix that."
Notes: UND played without injured defenseman Luke Bast and injured forward Dane Montgomery. . . UND's healthy scratches were forward Ben Strinden, forward Griffin Ness and defenseman Ryan Sidorski.