GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Colorado College has lost a lot of games (23), and nearly one-third of them (7) in overtime this season.
The hockey gods smiled on the Tigers Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena in the second game of a best-of-3 National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoff series with North Dakota.
CC freshman wing Alex Roos knocked in a rebound exactly seven minutes into OT to give the Tigers a 3-2 victory and square the series at 1-1 with a deciding game set for Sunday night.
North Dakota (21-12-3) outshot the Tigers (7-23-6) 46-29 and attempted 90 shots to 55 for CC, but fell into a 2-0 hole like it did Friday night, only to fall short of digging all the way back out tonight.
That means the Tigers could make it a clean sweep of the lower seeds in the NCHC upsetting the top four seeds in the first round, with league champ St. Cloud, No. 3 Minnesota Duluth and No. 4 Nebraska Omaha being knocked out Friday night.
"Wouldn't that be a wonderful way to start the NCHC tournament in Minneapolis?,'' CC coach Scott Owens said. "It'll be interesting.''
A winner-take-all game awaits the two teams at 7:05 Sunday night. The winner advances to the Frozen Faceoff next week at the Target Center to join Miami of Ohio, Western Michigan and Denver University, who all wrapped up berths tonight.
Peter Stoykewich scored at 16:43 of the first period and Scott Wamsganz at 1:07 of the second period to stake the Tigers to a 2-0 lead.
UND rallied behind a Drake Caggiula goal, his second in two nights and 11th of the year, at 3:45 of the second period and a backhand in tight by defenseman Jordan Schmaltz (his fifth) at 16:04 of the third period to erase CC's early lead.
But Roos was in the right place to the left side of UND goalie Zane Gothberg to easily hammer a rebound into an open net in OT to seal it for the Tigers. It was his ninth goal of the season.
Senior Josh Thormbert made 44 saves to put the Tigers in position to win.
"For us to have success here, he (Thormbert) has to be our best player, and I thought he was our best player tonight.''
UND rallied with Caggiula's 11th goal of the season at 3:45 of the second period and a backhander by defenseman Jordan Schmaltz (his 5th) at 16:04 of the third period to tie it at 2-all.
"I thought we built our game throughout the 60 minutes,'' UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "We probably want a little better start. We didn't give up a whole lot, but we didn't generate a whole lot, either.''
UND didn't manage a shot on goal until a point shot by defenseman Troy Stecher at 12:52 of the opening period. UND jacked up its offense after that, but with 46 shots over the final 54 minutes, but Thormbert was outstanding.
UND will take the view that it needs to win Game 3 from the Tigers to have a shot at making it to the NCAA tournament down the road.
"That's our mindset coming in,'' Hakstol said. "We've got to win going forward. That won't be part of our discussions tomorrow. We want to win a series tomorrow.''
UND dropped from 10th to 15th in the Pairwise Rankings which mimic the selection process the NCAA uses in choosing its 16-team tournament field. So unless UND beats the Tigers Sunday, it is in serious jeopardy of not making the NCAA tournament. The players understand the importance of Game 3.
"It's do-or-die,'' Schmaltz said. "If we win, we put ourselves in a good chance to get into the national tournament. If we don't, we could see our season end early.''
It was CC's first win over UND in four meetings this season.
Game notes: In attendance at the game was Lee Goren, MVP of the 2000 NCAA title won by UND. He was attending his first games ever at the new Engelstad Arena ... Caggiula had a career-high 9 shots on goal to lead UND, folowed by Schmaltz with 6 ... Only 5 penalties were called in the game and there was just one power play, by UND (0 for 1) ... The game drew 10,738.
Virg Foss covered UND hockey for 35 years for the Grand Forks Herald until his retirement in 2005. He now reports on UND home games exclusively for UNDsports.com.