Two-goal spurt in third lifts North Dakota to comeback victory against Niagara
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Andrew MacWilliam and Danny Kristo scored in a 57-second span early in the third period in North Dakota's 2-1 comeback victory against Niagara on Friday in the NCAA West Regional semifinals.
Second-seeded North Dakota (22-12-7) will play Yale on Saturday in the regional final for a spot in the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh. Fourth-seeded Yale beat top-seeded Minnesota 3-2 in overtime in the opener.
"The reward for our team was our resiliency," North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol said. "You have to give Niagara a lot of credit. We knew they were a hard hockey team to play. They played that way for 60 minutes."
MacWilliam tied it with an unassisted goal, his second goal of the season, at 1:56 of the third, and Kristo put North Dakota in front at 2:53 with his 26th goal.
"The puck came to me and I showed some patience, which is not like me," MacWilliam said. "Fortunately, it went in."
Third-seeded Niagara finished the season 23-10-5.
"It was a heck of a season for our team and our program," Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder said. "I'm pleased with how hard we played. People have to be impressed with how hard we played. It was an unbelievable ride."
Jason Beattie scored for the Purple Eagles in the second period.
"We turned the game around a little bit at the end of the second period," Hakstol said. "We survived Niagara's push and things turned our way."
Zane Gothberg made 28 saves for North Dakota, and Carsen Chubak stopped 41 shots for Niagara.
"He's a heck of a goalie," MacMilliam said about Chubak. "He dragged his team a long way this season."
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