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Gophers Shock UND, Win 2-1 - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Gophers Shock UND, Win 2-1

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After battling to a scoreless tie for over two and a half periods both UND and Minnesota scored in the 3rd period to tie the game at 1. With 0.6 seconds left, senior defenseman Justin Holl collected a rebound and scored his first goal of the season, ending North Dakota's season and sending Minnesota to Saturday's National Championship game against Union. 

The game featured two of the hottest goaltenders in college hockey right now in Minnesota sophomore Adam Wilcox (Big Ten Player of the Year, Big Ten Goalie of the Year) and North Dakota sophomore Zane Gothberg (career-high 44 saves in UND's double overtime win over Ferris State, .924 Save Percentage, best mark in UND history). 

Gothberg finished with 26 saves, helping keep the Gophers off the board through 2 periods, the first time all season they failed to score before the 3rd. He routinely made big save after big save and controlled the rebounds, until Minnesota junior forward Sam Warning scored the breakthrough goal at 10:51 in the third period to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead. 

30 seconds later Connor Gaarder, the one-time walk on who scored the winning goal in the West Regional championship in double overtime, was clutch again. He controlled his own rebound and beat Wilcox short side to tie the game at 1.

The game looked destined for overtime until Minnesota, short handed due to a Connor Reilly holding penalty, won a faceoff in UND's zone, raced up the ice and fired a shot. Senior defenseman Justin Holl found the rebound and snuck one past Gothberg with 0.6 seconds remaining for his first goal of the season, sending the Gophers into the Championship. 

For North Dakota, there's heartbreak tonight but this team defied the odds-- They were the last team in the NCAA tournament field then they beat top-seeded Wisconsin in West Regional before advancing to the programs 20th Frozen Four. This wasn't the most talented team that North Dakota has had in the past decade but it may have bun the toughest. It may have been the hungriest. It may have been the one group to define the word "team". UND finishes the year 25-16-3 and, barring transfers or dismissals, should be on of the most dangerous teams in college hockey next season.
 

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