FARGO, N.D. — Everyone was ready to pack up except for the referees.
In the first overtime of a 3-3 game Friday evening at Scheels Arena, North Dakota’s Dixon Bowen appeared to give his Fighting Hawks the victory over Boston University, but as the green-splotched crowd cheered, the refs instead called for a review.
After a five-minute check of the tape, it was ruled North Dakota was offside entering the zone, and the goal was waved off.
So the two teams played on, and in a reversal of fortunes that spanned the entire emotional spectrum, the Terriers’ Charlie McAvoy, scratching and clawing, perfectly parlayed a pass by Clayton Keller from the left wing into the net midway through the second overtime, giving the Terriers a 4-3 win and a spot Saturday in the final of the NCAA West Regional.
“I know that [Keller] is a dynamic player, when you put it in his hands, there’s always a chance something good is going to happen,” McAvoy said. “I just watched the play and saw a lane going to the net. I figured he would find me if I was open, and that’s exactly what he did. Happened pretty quick, but I’m glad it went in.”
McAvoy’s shot at 11:48 of the second extra period — the 29th BU shot of the game compared to 59 for UND — ended the game at 4 hours and 27 minutes, 14 of which were spent replacing a shattered glass panel in the third period.
“It was just an incredibly hockey game,” BU coach David Quinn said. “The ebbs and flows of it, obviously they get the goal in overtime and everyone thinks the game is over . . . When the linesmen buckled his helmet we knew we were going to get another chance.”
The Fighting Hawks grabbed their only lead way back in the first period, when Rhett Gardner pushed across a score at 17:04. It was the 10th game in a row the Terriers gave up the contest’s initial goal, their record now being 6-3-1 in such games.
But BU went to work from there, getting the equalizer early in the second period when senior captain Doyle Somerby slapped home his first of the year.
The Terriers got the next two — the first by Bobo Carpenter 32 seconds into the third and another on a pass finished off by Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson on a breakaway that leaked through two defenders.
Up 3-1 in an unfriendly atmosphere that had largely been quieted, the Terriers seemed on their way to dethroning the reigning champions.
But then, with 10:33 left in regulation, BU’s Kieffer Bellows was checked so hard into the glass it shattered.
After the 14-minute break, the Fighting Hawks had new life.
“That time gave our team time to reset a little bit,” UND coach Brad Berry said.
The Fighting Hawks pulled within one on a shot from Ludvig Hoff two minutes after play resumed, and got the tying strike just three minutes later from Christian Wolanin.
BU at that point was reeling, fatigued and letting UND pepper goalie Jake Oetttinger with an array of shots. The freshman was up to the task, finishing with 56 saves, including 13 in overtime, when, for the first extra period at least, the Fighting Hawks seemed always on the brink of scoring.
But the offsides goal aside, the Fighting Hawks were never able to push across the clincher the crowd was so desperately waiting for, not even with the two power plays they had.
“They made one more play than we did,” Berry said. “At the end of the day that’s what the game’s about in single elimination . . . We presented enough opportunities on our side to win the game, we didn’t make the extra play.”
UND held BU to just one shot on goal in the first overtime and had a power play the final two minutes of the period.
The Terriers regrouped for the second OT just enough to will across McAvoy’s game winner.
“I thought in the second overtime we were playing much better hockey, we had some better chances, some more zone time,” said Quinn. “When you have two high end players like Charlie [McAvoy] and Clayton [Keller], you get great plays. That’s what it takes to win games like this.”
. . .
Minnesota-Duluth, the No. 1 seed in the West Regional, avoided a major collapse in the second semifinal, beating No. 4 seed Ohio State, 3-2, in overtime. The winner was a slap shot by Willie Raskob, his fourth goal of the season, at 11:58 on a pass from Alex Iafallo.
The Bulldogs advance to Saturday’s final against Boston University at Scheels Arena, to be played at 6 p.m.
The Bulldogs controlled the pace and tempo the first two periods, and entered the third with a 2-0 advantage thanks to two second-period goals, one by Dominic Toninato at 0:49 and one by Nick Wolff at 13:41.
But the Buckeyes stormed back in the third period, putting two past Minnesota-Duluth goalie Hunter Miska to tie the game and force the extra frame.
The first goal for OSU came 7:09 into the third period by Matt Joyaux on a straight-on slap shot. The game-tying score was from Gordi Myer with just more than seven minutes left in the game. The Buckeyes, playing with the momentum, had numerous chances to win the game in regulation, their best chance taken away by a sprawling stick save by Miska, who finished with 40 saves.