Since that wonderful day in DDC's life, the Green and White has seen two new heroes come to the forefront -- junior forward Trevor Olson and DDC Baby No. 2.
Following a 5-2 win on Friday, Olson netted the game-winning goal at 7:38 of the OT period in a wild and memorable game at Ralph Engelstad Arena as UND swept the Huskies to advance the Green and White to the Frozen Faceoff in Minneapolis this coming weekend. Since DDC Baby No. 2's birth, UND was won four-straight games and Olson has the deciding tally in three of those games.
North Dakota handled St. Cloud fairly handily on Friday, but the old adage "it's hard to end a team's season" held true on Saturday as the Huskies brought a tremendous effort.
The game was tied 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5 before Olson potted the winner in OT. After a Shane Gersich goal made it 4-3 halfway through the third period, St. Cloud State continued to come at UND, tying the game just 1:02 later and took the lead just 1:44 after that.
But, the Green and White had the magic of Baby DDC No. 2 in their pocket as Christian Wolanin knotted the game at five with 4:02 to go.
During the intermission before the overtime period, fans at the REA were treated to bonus coverage of the UND men's basketball team's overtime winning effort in the Big Sky tournament finals that punched the Green and White's first-ever ticket to the NCAA tournament over Weber State, sending the fans into a frenzy that continued with Olson's winner in OT.
Baby DDC No. 2's magic was too strong for the Huskies and Weber State, for that matter.
Here's what stood out to DDC as UND notched wins No. 19 and 20 and moved one step closer to the NCAA tournament.
NCHC Playoffs First Round Results:
No. 1 -- Big Players Playing Big
While UND's depth has been a huge part of their last handful of games where they've won five-of-six, come playoff time, teams that compete for NCAA titles need to have their best players be their best players, each night. This was definitely the case this weekend for the Green and White. UND's top five point producers, Shane Gersich, Brock Boeser, Tyson Jost, Austin Poganski and Tucker Poolman all had multiple point weekends. Boeser returned to the lineup after missing the previous weekend in Miami and scored in both games. Gersich and Poganski also both scored in both. With the development of depth players increasing each game, having these five players rolling will prove large for UND as the look to continue to advance.
No. 2 -- Depth Goals Coming Up Large
As just mentioned, UND's depth players are turning dividends for the Green and White, of late. Along with Olson's game winner, junior Johnny Simonson and freshman Cole Smith both assisted on the game-tying goal by Christian Wolanin and did the same on Olson's series-clinching goal. Simonson fired the puck from the side boards toward the net and Olson got his stick on it to get the winner. The line of Smith, Simonson and Olson had a tremendous weekend, playing with edge and pace that St. Cloud had trouble containing. UND will be a tough out the rest of the way if this trend continues.
No. 3 -- A Memorable Day for UND Sports
DDC Baby No. 2's magic is pretty evident to this blogger. A wee bit biased, you say? No. You're wrong. DDC Baby No. 2 is clearly a UND sports Godsend.
Here's an awesome video of the ovation the REA crowd gave the UND men's basketball team's victory in the Big Sky Conference:
UND Men's Basketball Gets a Big Ovation at REA
You'll need a Facebook account to get to it and the video is about halfway down the page. Big props to the UND men's basketball team.
No. 1 -- Last Game at REA for 2016-17
While it was done in victorious fashion, it's always a sad moment each season to know that the Palace on the Prairie will be closed for games until October. While UND struggled at times at home this season, The Ralph is always a true home advantage for the Green and White. Senior Gage Ausmus and Matt Hrynkiw as well as any underclassmen that leave after the season, helped send the REA faithful happy one more time. Here's to hoping there's another ceremony at The Ralph in about three weeks.
Thanks for reading and check back later this week as DDC previews the Frozen Faceoff at the Target Center in Minneapolis.