In a game as wildly entertaining as any hockey fan could hope for, Eric Walsky got Colorado College back on track Saturday.
Walsky scored four goals, including a decisive pair just 28 seconds apart in the second period, to propel the No. 1-ranked Tigers to a 7-4 victory over the University of North Dakota that earned them a split of the their two-game WCHA series at the World Arena.
The senior right winger’s second and third tallies, at 13:36 and 14:04 of the middle frame, wiped out a 4-3 deficit and put CC ahead to stay after the Fighting Sioux capitalized on nearly three and a half minutes of a 5-on-3 power play to take their final lead of the night.
With the victory, Colorado College improved to 6-1-3 overall and 4-1-1 in league play, one point behind first-place Minnesota. North Dakota dropped to 3-5 overall and 3-3 in the WCHA.
Sophomore goalie Richard Bachman made 43 saves, including 21 in the first period that ended in a 2-2 deadlock. It was the fourth time in five games that he’s finished with 40 or more stops.
Bachman stood tall during the first half of the second period when the Tigers were whistled for four minor penalties within a span of 2:06. While the Sioux buzzed around the net with the long two-man advantage, they managed only one goal – by Jason Gregoire at the 10:46 mark.
Then Walsky took over, completing his first career hat trick before increasing CC’s lead to 6-4 with his final red lighter at 8:51 of the third period.
Any North Dakota comeback hopes bit the dust with 5:03 left in the contest, on the craziest play of the night. During a delayed penalty call against Colorado College’s Gabe Guentzel, UND’s Chris VandeVelde, who earlier had a goal and an assist, inadvertently cleared the puck into his own vacated net from center ice while trying to pass back to a defenseman.
Stephen Schultz, the last Tiger to touch the puck, was credited with the goal.
CC converted on three of seven power plays, including twice during a five-minute major called late in the first period on Sioux forward Brett Hextall for checking from behind after he set up a go-ahead goal by Ryan Duncan. North Dakota cashed in on two of 10 chances in the game.