GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- It's been four decades since the movie "Slap Shot'' hit the big screen in 1977, long before UND junior defenseman Christian Wolanin was born.
Regardless, Wolanin put his personal slapshot on center stage tonight in front of a sellout of 11,795 at Ralph Engelstad Arena and it was a big hit as well, especially with his teammates and UND fans.
In a National Collegiate Hockey Conference game that survived first a 5-on-5, 5-minute overtime and then a 3-minute 3-on-3 session without a goal, the back end of the weekend series between UND and Miami officially ended in a 3-3 tie.
But after the scoreless overtime sessions, North Dakota earned two of the three NCHC points available in the game when Wolanin buried a slapshot as the only one of four shooters on each side to score in the shootout.
Wolanin circled slowly toward Miami goalie Ryan Larkin, then pulled up in the right faceoff circle and quickly blasted his slapshot into the net. UND freshman goalie Peter Thome then turned back Miami's Carson Meyer to give UND five of the six points available in the series after Friday's 4-1 victory.
"We're happy. Five out of six points is almost as good as it gets,'' Wolanin said.
In a game of swings, Miami jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals from Gordie Green and Ryan Siroky, but UND stormed back with goals from former East Grand Forks Senior High standouts Colton Poolman and Dixon Bowen to tie it at 2-2.
Poolman buried a right point slapper to answer the goal 37 seconds after Siroky had scored his first of the year. Bowen's goal came 33 seconds into the third period off a wrister to the short side on Larkin on a rush down the right boards for Bowen's first of the year.
UND led 3-2 at 16:22 of the third period, thanks to a brilliant play by rookie Grant Mismash. He had the puck alone in front of Larkin, but with no angle to score. Rather than just fire into Larkin's pads, he took a couple of strides behind the net and rifled a pass to the far side to Shane Gersich, who buried his fourth of the year.
But Miami pulled Larkin for a sixth attacker with two minutes left in regulation and converted. After an icing call on UND with 1:33 left in the period, Miami won the faceoff and defenseman Louie Belpedio whipped a pass to Josh Melnick, who scored an extra-attacker goal at 18:36 of the period.
Two overtime sessions failed to produce a goal, though UND thought it had scored in the first overtime when Johnny Simonson pushed in a puck off a scramble. But after a lengthy video review, the officials ruled that Larkin had the puck covered with his goalie pad, and then was pushed into the net.
The extra point leaves UND at 2-1-1 in the NCHC with 8 points, one point out of first place, shared by Colorado College and Western Michigan, with 9 points each. UND is 7-2-3 overall after posting back-to-back weekends with a win followed by a tie.
Wolanin's slapshot idea came from assistant coach Dane Jackson.
"Coach Jackson looks at the guys after the three or four misses deking, and he's like, 'someone try shooting it,''' Wolanin said.
So Wolanin did what the coach suggested and he literally drove his point across and into UND's league point total with his blast.
"We'll take 'em,'' UND coach Brad Berry said of the win and tie. "Come back from 2-0, shows a resiliency and the response from the guys, and the character in the locker room, finding a way to do it. I think it is a learning lesson as far as going down two goals. Can't afford to do that,'' Berry said.
"But the biggest thing is finding a way to come back from that. Put that in your back pocket later in the season when you have to come back from a goal or two. We've got a lot of things to work on, try to get better at, but I liked our resolve tonight,'' Berry added.
Miami fell to 4-5-1 overall and 1-2-1 in the NCHC.
Game notes: Thome, making his fourth straight start in place of injuried junior goalie Cam Johnson, turned back 22 shots and is unbeaten in his UND career at 2-0-2. The three goals is the most he's given up in his four starts . . . Larkin had 31 saves for Miami . . . Gersich led UND in shots on goal with 6 while Green had 5 for Miami . . . Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play with one combined shot on net in the power plays . . . UND has killed 46 of 48 opponent power plays this season. . . UND had a 41-35 edge in faceoffs, led by Nick Jones winning 10 of 15 . . . In the shootout, Belpedio, Green, Melnick and Meyer missed for Miami while Mismash, Austin Poganski and Gersich failed for UND before Wolanin literally slapped in the winner.
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.