MIKE CONNOLLY SCORES IN THIRD OVERTIME TO SEND BULLDOGS TO FINAL FIVE WITH 3-2 WIN OVER ST. CLOUD STATE
Junior forward Mike Connolly scores game-winner 1:13 into third overtime for Minnesota Duluth
Mike Connolly has had a knack for scoring overtime goals during his three-year career at the University of Minnesota Duluth and Saturday night he was at it again. The junior left winger rapped in his own rebound from the left side of the crease 1:13 into the third overtime to give the the Bulldogs a 3-2 vcitory over St. Cloud State University and a sweep of its Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff series at AMSOIL Arena.
The overtime score by Connolly, his fourth since joining the Bulldog program and club-leading 25th tally of the season, ended the longest home postseason game in the UMD's 67-year history and sent he and his teammates on to the WCHA Final Five tournament for the third time in as many years. UMD will meet Bemidji State University Thursday at the Excel Energy Center.
Junior All-American center Jack Connolly struck twice in the opening 13 minutes of the game, both off feeds from senior right winger Justin Fontaine, to put the No. 11 Bulldogs up 2-0, but St. Cloud State rallied back on goals from David Eddy at the 3:06 mark of the second period and Taylor Johnson 9:20 into the third. Fopntaine also assisted on the game-winner and now has a career-best 51 points this winter. The Bulldogs put 63 shots on goals, two shy of the school record which was set on March 11, 2007 in the third, and decisive game of the WCHA playoffs at St. Cloud State University -- a game which was won 3-2 by the Huskies in, ironically, the third overtime.
UMD junior goaltender Kenny Reiter, who backstopped the Bulldogs to Friday's 4-2 victory, finished with 37 saves while improving to 12-6-5 on the year. UMD (22-9-6 overall) was 1-for-1 on the power play and had just three man advantage opportunities all weekend. St. Cloud State, which closed out the year at 15-18-5, cashed in one of its three power plays.