BOSTON -- Following Friday night’s 3-1 loss to Boston University, North Dakota sophomore Rocco Grimaldi spoke of the need to throw more shots at BU netminder Matt O’Connor.
North Dakota did exactly that, registering its highest shot total in 13 years. Unfortunately for the visitors, O’Connor was equal to the task, stopping a career-high 55 shots in a 3-3 overtime tie tonight at Agganis Arena.
The 58 shots by UND represented the program’s highest total since recording 60 in a December 2000 game against Princeton.
Tonight, 40 of UND’s shots came in the final two periods alone, including 25 in the final 20 minutes. But O’Connor stood tall in a game in which his teammates were outshot by a near 2-to-1 margin (58-31).
“That’s the game of hockey. Their guy played well in yet,” said UND coach Dave Hakstol. “I’ll judge the performance, not necessarily the outcome. We played a better hockey game tonight than we did last night.”
Junior forward Stephane Pattyn, who notched his second goal of the season in the second period, concurred with his coach.
“Very disappointing,” Pattyin said of the tie. “I thought we played really well. Their goaltender played really well. The way we played, if we keep playing like that we’re going to win more games than we lose.”
In their non-conference series finale, neither team was able to sustain the upperhand on the scoreboard for any substantial period of time, trading one goal in each of the three regulation periods.
BU defenseman Garrett Noonan opened the scoring on the power play seven minutes into the game, but sophomore Bryn Chyzyk pulled UND even just two minutes later, beating O’Connor with a spinning wrist shot from the right circle.
Nick Roberto restored the Terriers’ lead seven minutes into the second period, but Pattyn needed only 14 seconds to draw UND even once again. The Ste. Anne, Manitoba, native was left all alone in front of the BU net and converted a Luke Johnson centering feed.
In the third period, it was UND drawing first blood on a power-play tally by freshman Adam Tambellini. The Edmonton, Alberta, native stationed himself at the faceoff dot to the right of O’Connor, received a cross-ice feed from winger Brendan O’Donnell, and made no mistake with the empty net.
That lead, too, would be short lived, as BU’s Robbie Baillargeon replied just over three minutes later on a broken rush in the UND zone. A centering pass was broken up by a UND defender, but rolled to Baillargeon at the side of the net for an easy tap in.
Neither team could break the 3-3 deadlock despite combining for a head-spinning 39 shots in the third period and seven more in overtime.
“As usual, when you come out on an eastern swing, you usually run into different challenges and obviously we ran into some challenges this weekend,” said Hakstol. “But we probably got better as a hockey team even though we’re leaving with one point.”
“We just wanted to come out and compete tonight,” added Hakstol. “That was our issue last night; we didn’t compete at the level we expect to through a 60-minute game. We didn’t have a lot of comfortable guys in our locker room today and I think we played that way.
“We got a little bit better and now it’s a matter of holding that level.”
Sophomore Zane Gothberg stopped 28 of 31 shots for UND.
Both teams went 1-for-7 with the man advantage.
UND will return home next weekend for another non-conference series, this one against St. Lawrence in the annual Subway Holiday Classic.
Notes: Each UND goal scorer notched his second goal of the season … O’Donnell was named the game’s second star in his return to the lineup after missing five straight games with an upper body injury. He had a career-high seven shots on goal in addition to his assist … Sophomore forward Rocco Grimaldi had his 5-game point streak come to an end … Freshman defenseman Keaton Thompson, playing in only his third collegiate game, picked up his first career point with an assist on Chyzyk’s goal … UND will enter next week’s St. Lawrence series with a 1-1-2 non-conference record … UND is still searching for its first Saturday win of the season (0-4-2).