GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks did many of the right things necessary to spring an upset on the No. 4-ranked University of Denver Pioneers at a sold-out (11,845) crowd at Ralph Engelstad Arena Friday night.
UND raced to an early lead of 2-0 after one period and limited the offensively-gifted Pioneers just four shots in the opening 20 minutes.
But an old problem of killing penalties the Hawks have suffered came back to haunt UND late in the game that officially goes down as a 3-3 overtime tie.
A 5-minute major on sophomore wing Cole Smith for contact to the head on DU defenseman Adam Plant put DU on the power play and the Pioneers scored twice. Dylan Gambrell appeared to put Denver ahead at 3-2 at 5:29 of the third period, but Denver's Jarid Lukosevicius was called for goalie interference, wiping out the tying goal after a lengthy video review.
Just 27 seconds later, Troy Terry spun and fired a wrist shot past UND goalie Cam Johnson from center slot for his 11th of the season to put Denver ahead for the first time.
But after UND's Zach Yon hit the post from in close three minutes later, UND defenseman Hayden Shaw's left point shot hit a Denver player in front of the net with 1:32 left in reguation play tied it at 3-3, Shaw scoring his second goal of the season.
Then after a scoreless 5-minute overtime, Terry walked in to close range and beat Johnson in the 3-on-3, 5-minute overtime that gave Denver two National Collegiate Hockey Conference points with UND earning one.
Earlier, Smith's backhander went into the net off a Denver player just 1:02 into the game and Shane Gersich knocked in a rebound on a power play to stake UND to a 2-0 lead at 5:18 of the first period.
But Denver countered with a slap shot from the faceoff circle by Gamrell at 7:04 of the second and tied it at 2:11 of the third on a deflection of a point shot by fourth-line senior wing Rudy Junda, just his second of the season.
That set up an exchange of goals between Terry and Shaw to force double overtime, with Terry scoring the last goal for the extra point.
Still, there was some satisfaction for UND, missing its top two centers with injuries in Rhett Gardner and Nick Jones and top-4 defenseman Gabe Bast because of injury as well. As a result, UND played with its 27th different lineup in 27 games in slipping to 6-6-3-2 in the NCHC and 12-8-7 overall. But the tie also moved UND up one place to 11th in the Pairwise Rankings, used to pick the NCAA tournament field.
UND limited Denver to 1-5 on the power play after giving up 6 power-play goals last weekend in being swept by Minnesota Duluth.
"Proud and pleased the way they played to start the game,'' Berry said of his short-handed team. "They had that atttack mentality the first period. In the second, after they scored that goal, we kind of backed off a little bit. We didn't skate as much, and gave room for them to create a little bit more. Overall, having a two-goal lead, you want to win that game.''
"We had a lot of chances to go up 3-0,'' UND winger Joel Janatuinen said. "We've just got to put them in tomorrow.'''
Game notes: Gersich led UND in shots on goal with 5, followed by defenseman Colton Poolman with 4 . . . UND was credited with blocking 18 Denver shots, led by Shaw with 5 . . . Despite playing without its top two faceoff men in Gardner and Jones, UND won the faceoffs 32-29, led by Ludvig Hoff (10-4) ... Hoff will leave UND's team after tonight's rematch to play for Norway in the upcoming Winter Olympics ... Senior Trevor Olson had his first multi-point game of the season with two assists . . . Terry led Denver in shots on goal with 6.
Virg Foss is in his 13th season of reporting on UND home games exclusively for UNDsports.com. He covered UND hockey for 35 seasons for the Grand Forks Herald until his retirement from newspapers.