March 1, 2009

Courtesy Colorado College

Despite seeing its faint hopes for a regular-season title officially come to an end on Saturday afternoon, Colorado College gained what could prove to be another huge point in the final WCHA standings.

Chad Rau's second goal of the game, a wrap-around effort at 7:59 of the third period, rallied the Tigers from behind and allowed them to salvage a 4-4 draw with the University of North Dakota at sold-out Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.

With its school-record ninth tie of the season, CC extended its undefeated streak to six games (3-0-3) and maintained its slim hold on third place in the league standings. Fourth-place Wisconsin later skated to a 3-3 deadlock at Minnesota State to stay within a point.

A victory in Sunday's rematch would clinch a home-ice playoff berth for Colorado College in the opening round of the WCHA playoffs.

Rau and freshman defenseman Gabe Guentzel, who had a career-best three assists, collected three points apiece in a see-saw battle that featured excellent scoring chances, clutch goaltending and momentum swings throughout the entire 65 minutes. Junior wingers Mike Testwuide and Bill Sweatt, who added an assist, also scored in the contest.

Sweatt's tally at 14:35 of the second period, set up by Guentzel and Rau, staked the Tigers to their only lead of the day as the visitors had UND on its heels for a good portion of that second stanza. But the Fighting Sioux got a break late in the period when Darcy Zajac's backhand of a rebound found its way into the net to even things up with 5.5 seconds showing on the clock.

North Dakota regained the lead on Brett Hextall's second goal of the game just 1:49 into the third period. Hextall's shot from the right faceoff circle actually hit the post, then was inadvertently directed into the cage by a back-checking CC player.

Sophomore net minder Richard Bachman finished with 32 saves, including five in overtime, as UND finished with a 36-28 advantage in shots on goal.

The Fighting Sioux, who remain in a two-team battle with Denver for a regular-season championships and the MacNaughton Cup that comes with it, are 20-11-4 overall and 15-6-4 in league play, one point behind the Pioneers prior to DU's game against St. Cloud State on Saturday night.