Mar 15, 2014 12:06 AM by Jordan Mason
Colorado College was ready to play on Friday.
The visiting Tigers charged out of the gate like gangbusters in their first-ever National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoff game, grabbing a 2-0 lead with the contest barely seven minutes old.
But the University of North Dakota, stunned in the early going, settled down and rallied for a 4-2 victory in the opener of their first-round best-of-three series at Englestad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.
The teams square off again at 7:08 p.m. CT Saturday, with CC needing a victory to force a Game 3 on Sunday and avoid seeing its season come to an end.
Out-shooting UND by an 11-7 margin in the first period, Colorado College struck just 75 seconds after the opening faceoff when freshman center Sam Rothstein deflected a shot by defenseman Peter Stoykewych from the left point past UND netminder Zane Gothberg.
If that didn't get No. 9-ranked North Dakota's attention, junior blue liner Aaron Harstad's tally through a screen at the 7:05 mark certainly did. The Tigers, up 2-0, got the night's first power-play opportunity a couple minutes later but couldn't capitalize. And, shortly after the penalty expired, sophomore Drake Caggiula launched UND's comeback by beating CC goalie Josh Thorimbert high on the glove side from the right faceoff circle.
UND's Michael Parks converted on a power play to tie the game at 7:14 of the middle stanza. Then, with 1:53 left in the period, Bryn Chyzyk roofed the unassisted go-ahead goal after Colorado College turned over the puck and was victimized by an unlucky bounce that went right to Chyzyk.
North Dakota, which improved to 21-11-3 overall, got an insurance tally from junior forward Brendan O'Donnell at 8:08 of the final frame.
Rothstein also assisted on Harstad's goal to finish the night with two points for CC, which dropped to 6-23-6 for the season. Thorimbert finished with 18 saves, including one on a third-period breakaway by Mark MacMillan, while Gothberg made 20.