Junior defenseman Derek Forbort scores game-tying goal for North Dakota

Derek Forbort scored the game-tying goal for North Dakota

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - North Dakota junior defenseman Derek Forbort (Duluth, Minn.) has been around enough to know that desperate times call for desperate measures.

With his team trailing Alaska Anchorage 3-2 and time running out tonight, Forbort struck gold with a desperate play.

His flip shot from the left point at 18:52 of the third period hit the glove of an Anchorage player and deflected into the net to create a 3-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association overtime tie at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

"I got a rolling puck back at the point and I just threw it toward the net," Forbort said. "I think it went off Corban Knight (High River, Alberta). I don't think I scored that one."

After a lengthy video review of the goal, officials determined the puck hit an Anchorage player, and not Knight's high stick. The goal was good.

"I was kinda lucky," Forbort said. "But that's what you've got to do when you're down one (3-2) like that."

It came 10 seconds after UND pulled junior goalie Clarke Saunders (Brockville, Ontario) for a sixth attacker.

Freshman Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, California) nearly won it for North Dakota in overtime.

He brought the crowd of 11,581 to its feet roaring with a lightning-like dash down left wing when he blew past the Anchorage defenseman.

Anchorage goalie Rob Gunderson slid down to stuff Grimaldi at the net to stop that electrifying moment.

"I thought I had him (defenseman) beat there, so I tried to turn the jets on and beat him wide and drive it into the net whether it's through the goalie or whatever," Grimaldi said.

"I had a lot of steam in the engine, so I wanted to go wide to see if I could put it in or maybe get a rebound for someone coming late," Grimaldi said.

Grimaldi, the WCHA preseason rookie of the year pick by the coaches, tied for the team lead with five shots on goal and hit a goal post on a play that could have turned the game UND's way earlier in the game.

With UND leading 2-1 two minutes into the third period, Grimaldi hit the post on a darting move to the net. Anchorage's Chris Williams was called for slashing Grimaldi on the play.

On the UND power play, though, Anchorage tied it on senior Tyler Currier's shorthanded goal at 3:19, just his fourth career goal in 73 games.

Anchorage took the lead on Jordan Kwas' goal from the right point that Saunders never saw through a screen midway through the last period.

That set up the heroics for Forbort, which gave UND three points in the weekend series and a 1-0-1 WCHA record and 2-1-1 overall mark. UND won Friday's game 4-1.

It wasn't a team performance that thrilled coach Dave Hakstol. "I thought it took us 20 to 30 minutes to work our way in," Hakstol said. "They (Anchorage) were tenacious through the 60 minutes. We gave the lead away in the third period, which put us in a pretty tough spot. We found a way to come back and salvage a point."

Scott Allen's goal on a deflection at 4:05 of the opening period gave Anchorage its first lead of the weekend. Saunders slid to his right to play a point shot, only to have Allen tip the shot to his left and into the open portion of the net.

North Dakota rallied to go ahead.

Senior center Corban Knight picked up his 99th career point at 13:39 of the first period capping a brilliant three-way passing play with linemates Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Brendan O'Donnell (Winnipeg, Manitoba) with his backhand flip.

Grimaldi then gave North Dakota its only lead. After UND sophomore defenseman Nick Mattson (Chanhassen, Minn.) hit the post from the point, Grimaldi crashed the net to slam in the rebound at 12:55 of the second period.

That set up the wild third period and exciting overtime to send both teams home with a single point. In the OT session, Kristo hit the crossbar on another great chance for a North Dakota victory.

Hakstol admitted to some nervousness when the video review of Forbort's tying goal took a long time.

"Certainly a critical part of the game is hanging in the balance," Hakstol said. "I thought I saw it correctly from the bench. I thought it went off one of their defenseman's either glove or stick fairly high out in the slot. I believe that's what happened. They (officials) took their time -- and they got the right call."

Saunders, with a strong performance, finished with 27 saves while Gunderson was just as good with 30 stops for the Seawolves.

UND steps out of league play next weekend to host Boston University from Hockey East on Friday and Saturday.

UND notes: Knight continued his faceoff mastery, winning 20 of 28 draws to give UND a 32-26 edge in the game . . . Both teams were 0-for-2 on power plays. . . Grimaldi and Kristo had 5 shots on net to lead UND with Forbort next with 4 . . . Grimaldi, Currier and Allen were named the game's three stars, in that order.