Gophers and Fighting Hawks skate to 5-5 tie in first game of rivalry series

There were 13 penalties in the first period of the high-tension game.

Gophers forward Tommy Novak fights to maintain control of the puck while playing against Penn State in Mariucci Arena on Saturday night.

Daily File Photo

Gophers forward Tommy Novak fights to maintain control of the puck while playing against Penn State in Mariucci Arena on Saturday night.

Drew Cove

Even after two-plus years off, neither Minnesota or North Dakota can claim a renewed-rivalry victory – yet.

No. 13 Minnesota (3-2-2) tied No. 3 North Dakota (5-2-1) 5-5 Friday night, the first match between the two teams since April 10, 2014.

The Gophers tied the score for the fourth time in the game late in the third period with an extra attacker.

“It was obviously really fun,” said forward Tommy Novak. “It was definitely cool to play in this game, and just playing is unbelievable.”

Novak potted his second goal of the game, the goal that tied it for Minnesota and allowed the game to go to overtime.

Going into the third period, the score was deadlocked at two goals apiece, and the goals went back and forth to eventually reach a 5-5 tie.

The teams played an overtime period that included a Minnesota power play, but neither could score a game-winner.

This game was a true rollercoaster.

The two teams came into the first period of the game with emotions running high, and the Gophers, not even eight minutes into the game, found themselves down by two goals.

As emotions ran high, the kerfuffles ensued. 11 of the 13 penalties in the first period were related to some physical altercations after the whistle.

After North Dakota had gone up by two goals on only three shots, Minnesota was defensively strong and kept the Fighting Hawks off the shot-count for the rest of the period.

Minnesota had a 15-3 shot advantage after the first period, and a 37-22 advantage through the whole game.

The atmosphere in Mariucci had to be seen to be believed.

The sound inside Mariucci Arena at times was deafening. A full student section and a strong showing of North Dakota fans made it an exciting atmosphere.

“It’s elite players making plays,” said head coach Don Lucia. “I think that makes the rivalry what it is.”

Both teams will look to come away with a win tomorrow, and to take this incarnation of the rivalry.