Bound and determined to win on the road for the first time this season, Colorado College came painfully close again on Saturday. So painfully close.
The Tigers clicked on a pair of power plays late in the second period and early in the third to grab a 2-1 lead, but let the University of North Dakota off the hook by giving up a pair of tallies just 2:04 apart midway through the final frame that allowed UND to escape with a 3-2 victory at Engelstad Arena.
It was the sixth one-goal loss of the season for CC, which dropped to 2-15-3 overall and 2-7-3-1 in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. North Dakota, which took the series opener by a 5-3 count on Friday, won its seventh consecutive decision to improve to 11-7-2 overall and 7-5-0-0 in the NCHC.
This one was a particularly tough pill to swallow, as Colorado College battled until the end and deserved a better fate.
UND led 1-0 on the strength of Mark MacMillan's first-period goal until senior left winger Alexander Krushelnyski pulled the Tigers even with a backhand of Aaron Harstad's rebound with 24 seconds left in the middle stanza. Harstad and Peter Stoykewych, both junior defensemen, each earned his third assist of the weekend on Krushelnyski's team-leading fifth red lighter of the campaign.
Krushelnsyki then set up freshman defenseman Jaccob Slavin at 1:16 of the final period to put CC up for the first time in the series. Freshman center Sam Rothstein also earned an assist on the go-ahead goal.
The lead held for five minutes until North Dakota's Keaton Thompson, also a freshman defenseman, waltzed in from the blue line and unleashed a slap shot from just above the right faceoff circle. The rising blast eluded screened Colorado College netminder Josh Thorimbert and knotted the score again at 2-2.
A little more than two minutes later, UND's Rocco Grimaldi capitalized on a Tiger turnover to put the home team back on top to stay. CC was able to get Thorimbert to the bench in favor of an extra attacker during the final minute of play, with no luck. North Dakota finished the game with a 25-23 edge in shots on goal.