Behind their Hobey Baker front-runner, the Fighting Sioux made themselves right at home at the X in a thrilling victory.
North Dakota's Matt Frattin is one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the nation's best player.
For any naysayers left, the senior forward put an exclamation mark on his candidacy on Friday.
Frattin's 34th goal of the season, with 5 minutes, 40 seconds to play, gave the Fighting Sioux a 4-3 victory over Colorado College in the WCHA Final Five semifinals.
North Dakota (29-8-3) advanced to Saturday night's final against Denver, a 6-2 semifinal winner over Bemidji State.
The attendance Friday night at Xcel Energy Center was announced at 15,008, and Frattin made sure the place sounded a lot like the Sioux's home arena.
"We definitely got the crowd in it, and they were really loud for us," Frattin said. "It was just like we were playing at the Ralph today. Hopefully, it will be like that [Saturday] because it really got us going."
Frattin's game-winner came on a shot from about 15 feet out in the slot, off a pass from linemate Evan Trupp behind the extended goal line.
"Trupp has been finding me back door all year," said Frattin, the leading goal-scorer in Division I hockey. "We read off each other pretty good. I kind of went down with my stick on the ice ... and I one-timed it."
Earlier in the third period, with the score tied 2-2, Frattin set up the Sioux's third goal. With North Dakota shorthanded following a five-minute major, Frattin went out on the penalty kill and the game turned.
Frattin got the puck and streaked down the left side; a hook prevented him from having a scoring chance. Instead, the 6-foot, 206-pound right winger from Edmonton, Alberta, rolled into CC goalie Joe Howe, pushing him out of the crease.
Brad Malone, Frattin's other linemate, was left with an open net to shoot at and scored shorthanded at 8:30.
Colorado College (22-18-3) retaliated quickly, tying the score for a third time 2 1/2 minutes later. Rylan Schwartz scored his second goal of the game on a power play for a 3-3 tie.
"One of the better hockey games we've been involved with, entertainmentwise, throughout the year," North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said.
The Sioux outshot Colorado College 15-7 in the first period and 38-21 for the game. But Howe was steady after giving up an early first-period goal to Sioux forward Danny Kristo. A sophomore from Eden Prairie, Kristo had missed the previous 10 games recovering from frostbite injuries.
"We wanted to make it as miserable as we could out there for them," CC coach Scott Owens said. "We competed and battled. But [the Sioux] are old, big and strong, and they come at you."
Especially this Frattin fellow.
|Los Angeles||5||3rd Prd 13:21|
|San Jose||4||2nd Prd 2:29|
|Fla Gulf Coast||81|
|West Virginia||65||1st OT 1:34|
|Villanova||74||2nd Half 0:01|
|San Jose St||76||FINAL|
|San Diego State||76|