North Dakota hoists third Penrose Cup after overtime thriller
Freshman Shane Pinto's overtime goal two minutes into overtime propelled host North Dakota to at least a share of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference's regular season title with a 2-1 win over No. 16/14 Western Michigan Saturday evening at Ralph Engelstad Arena. It marked the third time in the seven-year existence of the league that North Dakota has hoisted the Penrose Cup and first since 2016.
Collin Adams scored his fifth goal in the last seven games with a snipe at the 4:41 mark of the first. He corralled a loose rebound from a Colton Poolman shot and flicked it past Ben Blacker from a tight angle for a quick 1-0 North Dakota lead.
The offense slowed from there, however, and Western Michigan took advantage. The Broncos equalized on Paul Washe's 11th goal of the season at the 17:01 mark of the first and with a scoreless second, it went to the third tied, 1-1.
WMU appeared to have won it early in the extra frame when Rhett Kingston scored, however, it was waved off due to goalie interference. A few short moments later, Pinto potted his team-leading 16th goal to set the building into chaos mode, celebrating its third Penrose Cup and 18th overall conference championship.
Senior captain Colton Poolman assisted on both goals for North Dakota and Adam Scheel won back-to-back games in net with a 15-save performance Saturday.
North Dakota (25-4-4, 16-3-3-2 NCHC) will take to the road to finish out the regular season at Omaha next Friday and Saturday before hosting the quarterfinal round of the NCHC Playoffs Mar. 14-16.
Notes: UND honored its seven seniors with a pregame ceremony: Dixon Bowen, Casey Johnson, Westin Michaud, Andrew Peski, Colton Poolman, Cole Smith and Zach Yon.