Oct. 7, 2011
GRAND FORKS N.D. - Third-ranked North Dakota needed two goals late in the third-period for a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Air Force in the first round of the 15th annual Icebreaker Classic at Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.
Air Force fell to 0-1 on the season while North Dakota improved to 1-0.
North Dakota opened the scoring at the 6:37 mark when Brock Nelson won a faceoff and sent a puck in the slot that bounced around at the top of the crease. Corban Knight batted the puck out of the air and past Jason Torf for a 1-0 Sioux lead. Air Force answered just 49 seconds later when Casey Kleisinger tied the game at 7:26. Paul Weisgarber gave the puck to Mike Walsh at the right point. Walsh's pass was wide of the net and Kleisinger tipped it over the shoulder of Aaron Dell. The Sioux regained the lead at 14:11 on the power play. Carter Rowney's first shot was saved but he followed his shot and scored his first of the season to make the score 2-1. Air Force had nearly four straight minutes of power play action late in the period and did not get a shot on goal.
Air Force tied the game midway through the second period. Cole Gunner and Kyle DeLaurell worked behind the net and funneled the puck out front to Stephen Carew scored to tie the game at 2-2 at 8:12 of the second. The Falcons took the lead late in the second period. Gunner started the rush down the right side and his shot was saved. George Michalke III put in the rebound at the 18:43 mark and the Falcons carried a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Air Force dominated play early in the third period, but was unable to get a fourth goal. With seven minutes left, Air Force clung to the one-goal lead, but it was UND that scored the next one. As Air Force was killing a penalty, the Sioux started buzzing. The Falcons killed the penalty, but three seconds after it ended, the Sioux tied the game. Brock Nelson fired a backhander off of Torf's shoulder and then cleaned up his own rebound at 13:48. Eight-seven seconds later, the Sioux took a 4-3 lead on Nelson's second of the game. Danny Kristo centered a pass from the right side and Nelson scored at 15:15. Air Force had several quality chances late that were turned away by Dell. The Falcons pulled their goalie with 1:18 remaining, but were unable to get the equalizer.
UND outshot Air Force, 26-25, in the game. Half of UND's shots came in the third period. AFA was 0-3 on the power play while UND was 1-for-3 Torf made 22 saves for the Falcons while Dell made 22 for the Sioux.
"We are way past moral victories," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We had them down, right where we wanted them, and we didn't get it done. There is nothing to feel good about. We are plenty good enough to lose close to anyone in the country. The bottom line is that we were in a heavyweight fight and we were ahead and lost a decision. We just didn't finish. Teams either find a way to get it done or they find a way to let it get away. Plain and simple, we didn't get it done."