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North Dakota aren't strangers to Capital Region

North Dakota aren't strangers to Capital Region

North Dakota aren't strangers to Capital Region
North Dakota won its first NCAA title in 1959 at Houston Field House.
Photographer: North Dakota Athletics

The University of North Dakota has a rich tradition of college hockey.

The Fighting Hawks of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference have played in 22 Frozen Fours and won eight NCAA titles, with the most recent coming in April when they beat ECAC Hockey’s Quinnipiac 5-1 in Tampa, Fla. The program has had 171 players selected in the NHL draft.

Eighth-ranked North Dakota (9-6-3) will face No. 10 Union (14-3-2) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Messa Rink. It’s the first time the two teams have met. However, North Dakota is no stranger to the Capital Region. It has made five previous trips to the area, and it was mostly successful.

Here’s a look at North Dakota’s most prominent visits to the Capital Region:

1959 NCAA TOURNAMENT

It wasn’t called the Frozen Four back then when the tournament was played at RPI’s Houston Field House. North Dakota captured its first NCAA title, winning both games in dramatic fashion in overtime.

In the semifinal against St. Lawrence, Guy LaFrance scored 4:22 into OT to give North Dakota a 4-3 win. Reg Morelli scored twice in the game.

North Dakota faced Michigan State in the championship game. It had a 3-1 lead over the Spartans, but Michigan State tied it at 3-3 to send the game into OT.

Morelli won it for North Dakota, scoring at 4:18 of OT. He is named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

UPSET AT RPI

North Dakota was back at Houston Field House for the 1984 NCAA tournament. This time, it was the two-game quarterfinal series against RPI on March 16 and 17.

The Engineers entered the series 30-6 and had just won the ECAC Hockey tournament title. North Dakota was 28-11-2.

But home-ice advantage wouldn’t help the Engineers, thanks to the goaltending of North Dakota’s Jon Casey. He made 38 saves in the series-opening 4-2 win. Chris Jensen had two goals and an assist in the game.

Casey was even better the next night. He stopped 49 shots in a 5-4 victory. Goals by Steve Palmiscno and Jim Archibald 27 seconds apart midway through the third period erased RPI’s 4-3 lead.

2001 FROZEN FOUR

North Dakota won the 2000 NCAA title over Boston College in Providence, R.I. The rematch took place at Pepsi Arena (now Times Union Center).

In the April 5 semifinal, goalie Karl Goehring made 30 saves, and Kevin Spiewak and Ryan Bayda scored first-period goals against Hobey Baker Award winner Ryan Miller, giving North Dakota a 2-0 win.

Two nights later, North Dakota was down 2-0 after two periods. Late in the third period, North Dakota coach Dean Blais pulled Goehring for an extra attacker twice. The moves paid off as Tim Skarperud scored a power-play goal with 3:42 left, and Wes Dorey tied it on an even-strength goal with 36.4 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

However, the chance to repeat as NCAA champs ended when Krys Kolanos scored 4:43 into OT to give BC a 3-2 win.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Ken Schott at 395-3159, [email protected], or on Twitter @slapschotts. Read his take on college hockey any time by checking out his blog, Parting Schotts, at www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/schott.

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