GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- It had been two months and 16 games since sophomore Bryn Chyzk last scored a goal for the University of North Dakota hockey team.
His previous goal came Jan. 10 in a UND weekend sweep of Colorado College, part of a three-point weekend for Chyzk.
His goal tonight proved to be the game-winner as North Dakota rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Tigers 4-2 in the opening game of the best-of-three National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoffs.
Chyzyk pounced on an errant clearing pass by the Tigers and unleashed a one-time rocket at 18:07 of the second period to give his team its first lead of the game and pave the way to victory.
His unassisted goal was his fourth of the season. Of his 12 points in 43 career games, four have now come against the Tigers.
"I kind of saw the play developing, and I knew it (the pass) was going to the guy's skates,'' Chyzk said. "I thought he was going to kick it, but it kind of slipped through. It was a gift, so I took it.''
UND had to dig itself out of a 2-0 deficit early as a sluggish start led to goals by CC's Sam Rothstein at 1:15 and by Aaron Harstad at 7:05 of the opening period.
UND didn't have a shot on goal until 6:28 of the opening period, and nearly went down 3-0 on a breakaway chance by CC's Jeff Collett. But Collett was stripped from behind by UND defenseman Jordan Schmaltz.
UND turned the play the other way in a hurry, and Drake Caggiula buried his 10th goal of the season short side high off right wing at 12:11 to chop CC's lead in half.
"There are different points to this game you can point to that are critical points,'' UND coach Dave Hakstol said, "but it's small plays within a game that add up to be big plays.''
He added, "If we give up the third one, we probably aren't able to dig our way out.''
The hustle stop by Schwartz and resulting goal by Chyzk turned that possible 3-0 deficit turning into a 2-1 momentum changer.
"We dug ourselves a hole,'' Hakstol said of his team's start. "The most important part is that we found a way to dig ourselves out of that hole. It's a credit to our guys. We weren't ready to play off the drop of the puck, but we fought our way back to get it within one goal, even though nothing was coming easy.''
The second period-- the worst one for the Tigers all season-- blew up on them and their upset chances. CC has been outscored 48-20 in the second period this season, easily CC's worst period all year.
UND's Michael Parks tied it at at 7:14 on a power play, roofing his 11th goal of the season glove side from in tight when left all alone in front of CC goalie Josh Thormbert (18 saves). His goal came just 23 seconds into a UND power play.
Chyzyk then made it 3-2 for UND after two periods and Brendan O'Donnell buried a turnaround shot from the slot at 8:08 of the third period to close the scoring.
"I thought we did a good job battling back,'' Caggiula said. "I think it was mostly nerves. We have a lot of young guys on the team. First playoff series, it could be nerves. We'll definitely be better tomorrow.''
The line of Mark MacMillan centering Caggiula and Parks combined for two goals and three assists to break out of a mini-slump.
"The last three games, we haven't got any points or anything like that,'' Caggiula said. "That's kind of our role on the team, to score some goals. Coach talked to us about that. We just beared down on our chances tonight to give the guys a lift, and the team just rolled from there.''
UND, 21-11-3, can advance to the Frozen Faceoff in Minneapolis next weekend with one more win over the Tigers, 6-23-6 overall and now 0-3 against UND.
Game notes: Zane Gothberg bounced back strongly from the two early goals to finish with 20 saves ... UND was 1-for-2 on the power play with 5 shots, CC 0-3 with 3 shots ... Caggiula and Parks led UND in shots on goal with 3 ... UND blocked 14 CC shots, 5 of them by senior defenseman/captain Dillon Simpson ... Caggiula, Chyzk and Parks were named the three stars of the game, in that order, by the media ... With students gone for spring break, the game drew 10,217 fans.
Virg Foss covered UND hockey for 35 seasons for the Grand Forks Herald until his retirement in 2005. He now reports on UND home games exclusively for UNDsports.com.