Three goals in 84 seconds leads UND to third-period comeback
GRAND FORKS — University of North Dakota trailed by two goals in the third period to a team that hadn’t led at intermission in any game this season.
But the once-chastised power play and senior center Rhett Gardner came to the rescue.
UND scored three times in the span of 84 seconds to escape with a 4-3 win over Alaska Anchorage in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Matt Kiersted started the rally with a power-play goal at 8:05 of the third period. Then, Gardner scored the game-tying goal and the game-winning goal within 41 seconds of each other to help the Fighting Hawks get a sweep of the Seawolves.
On the tying goal, Gardner tipped a Jacob Bernard-Docker point shot past Seawolves goalie Kristian Stead at 8:48.
On the winning goal, Gardner carried the puck through the neutral zone, split two Alaska Anchorage defenders and went top shelf with the backhand from in tight.
“Sigh of relief,” UND captain Colton Poolman said. “I think that lost a couple years off of my life. That game was not our prettiest hockey. They really played a game plan, stuck to it and made it really, really hard on us. I’m proud of our guys.
“I thought we stuck through a couple of crappy bounces, a couple of bad plays that we inflicted on ourselves. We got down to it and we pulled through, so I’m pretty happy with that one.”
It was UND’s first rally from a two-goal deficit in the third period since Nov. 17 of last season, when the Fighting Hawks did it on the road against No. 1-ranked Denver.
Gardner scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season, while winning 29 of 40 faceoffs.
“A leader takes the team on his back and that’s what he did,” UND coach Brad Berry said.
Alaska Anchorage, which took advantage of two UND own-goals, fell to 1-10-1.
UND improved to 7-5-1 with two series looming before Christmas break: a road series at defending national champion Minnesota Duluth and a home series against the University of Denver.