Minnesota Duluth wins epic NCAA hockey game against North Dakota in five overtime
FARGO – It took five overtime and an unlikely hero, but Minnesota Duluth’s quest for a third straight NCAA Men’s Hockey Championship remains alive and well.
Freshman Luke Mylymok scored early in the fifth OT and the UMD won the longest game in NCAA tournament history, beating the regular season and tournament champion North Dakota 3-2 in a Midwest Regional Championship game that ended early Sunday morning, more than six hours after it started.
Mylymok has only played 11 games this season with Minnesota Duluth (15-10-2). But he beat Adam Scheel between the pads for his second collegiate goal – a goal that came in at 142 minutes and 13 seconds and sent the Bulldogs to their fourth straight Frozen Four.
At the start of that fourth overtime, the game became the longest in NCAA tournament history, surpassing the previous mark of 123: 53 since St. Lawrence won over Boston University in 2000. This game did not reach the longest game in college hockey history; UMass defeated Notre Dame 4-3 in a conference tournament match that lasted 151: 42 on March 6, 2015.
The third-seeded UMD – who did not have to play on Friday, securing an assist to the regional final when second-seeded Michigan had to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test – has won remarkably their last nine overtime games in the NCAA tournament dating back to 1985. It looked like the Bulldogs could win in regulation after holding a two-goal lead for most of the third period. But North Dakota (22-6-1) scored two goals 44 seconds apart to tie the game.
After two scoreless periods, UMD appeared to take control with two goals in 80 seconds at the start of the third period. Jackson Cates scored at 3:21 of the third, and Cole Koepke doubled the lead at 4:41, blocking a shot near the blue line, then skating alone for a breakaway goal.
But North Dakota managed to force overtime by scoring twice with Scheel out for an additional forward. Collin Adams scored at 18:19 of the third period and moments after UMD froze the puck with a long, empty net, UND captain Jordan Kawaguchi tied with a perfect pass from Shane Pinto. in a wide open net with 55.5 seconds left. in regulation.
It looks like the Bulldogs won in first overtime when Kobe Roth shot a pass from Koby Bender. But after a long examination, the officials ruled the goal aside, ruling Bender to be offside before feeding Roth.
The UMD managed a huge break in the dying seconds of the third OT. With 5.6 seconds left, a puck sent harshly at goaltender Zach Stejskal deflected from him and over his shoulder – landing over the net instead of entering it.
An already bizarre game took another turn early in the fourth OT when Stejskal left on suspicion of having cramps. He finished with 57 saves in 124 minutes and 37 seconds. Ryan Fanti arrived cold – after more than six periods of sitting – and quickly had to make a glove save on Riese Gaber.
Fanti finished with six saves for the Bulldogs, the first team to reach four straight Frozen Fours since UND did so from 2005-2008.
Scheel stopped 51 shots for the Fighting Hawks, including 19 in regulation and 32 more out of the five OTs.