North Dakota bounced back from a semifinal loss in the WCHA Final Five tournament, beating Colorado College 4-2 on Saturday and possibly earning them a top seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
The Fighting Sioux shredded Colorado College's vaunted penalty kill with three power-play goals in the Final Five third-place game at the Xcel Energy Center. It was the Tigers' second loss of the weekend in St. Paul and in all likelihood cost them a top seed in the West Regional, which they'll host next weekend in Colorado Springs.
Now, both teams sit and wait for Sunday morning's announcement of the NCAA field of 16.
''Wherever we go, we go,'' said Chris VandeVelde, who deflected a shot by Taylor Chorney for a second-period power-play goal that gave North Dakota the lead for good. ''We just got to get prepared for whoever we play.''
VandeVelde's goal came after T.J. Oshie tied the score on a power-play goal in the final minute of the first period. He blasted in the puck from the crease after a Colorado College defenseman whiffed on a clearing attempt.
''Getting our intensity back in our game and getting a win under us is going to build some confidence,'' said Oshie.
Confidence is something Colorado College needs going into the NCAA tournament. The Tigers came into the Final Five as the top seed after sailing to the WCHA regular season championship but lost in overtime to an inspired Minnesota team in the semifinals. It's the first time Colorado College has lost two straight games since getting swept at New Hampshire in late October.
''Our goal was to be a number one seed, but I think we'll take the hand that we're dealt with,'' said Chad Rau, who gave the Tigers their only lead of the game with a goal midway through the first period.
What concerns Colorado College coach Scott Owens is regaining some consistency.
''I'll have our kids' attention this week,'' he said.
Jean-Philippe Lamouoreaux made 33 saves for North Dakota, which had an 18-game unbeaten streak broken in the first round of the WCHA playoffs by Michigan Tech and had lost two of three going into the third-place game.
After Rau and Oshie traded goals in the first period, VandeVelde deflected Chorney's shot past goaltender Richard Bachman, and Chay Genoway followed that with a long rush down the left side, shooting the puck into the net from in front of the crease.
The Tigers cut into North Dakota's lead on Jimmy Kilpatrick's power-play goal late in the second period, but Darcy Zajac extended the lead back to two goals by beating Bachman on an odd-man rush.
Bachman stopped 31 shots for Colorado College.