The top lines for Colorado College and North Dakota battled for every inch of ice, and it was a riveting draw for almost 62 minutes.
Until Jeff Panzer attacked.
The NCAA scoring leader took a pass from behind the net and popped it home for his second goal of the night to give North Dakota a 4-3 overtime victory over Colorado College on Saturday night in Colorado Springs.
"It was another great game; two teams going head-to-head who can really skate," Panzer said. "It was fun to be a part of, and fortunately we got the two points tonight."
The Fighting Sioux center extended his national scoring lead to 43 points in 20 games and helped avenge the Tigers' 6-4 win on Friday night.
"Obviously, it's a huge game for me," Panzer said. "But in the bigger picture, these two points keep us where we want to be in the race for the WCHA title."
CC goalie Jeff Sanger never saw Panzer's shot. Sanger had his eyes fixed on Bryan Lundbohm, who had the puck in back of the net before feeding Panzer.
"It happened pretty quickly," Sanger said. "All I remember is one of their players tapped it out from behind me, and before I knew it, it was in the back of the net.
"Tough way to lose, but we played our hearts out, and we're missing some key players, so overall, it was an OK weekend."
The loss didn't hurt the Tigers in the WCHA standings. CC (11-4-1, 8-4-0 WCHA) remains in second place, tied with Minnesota (10-5-2, 7-3-2), and Wisconsin (11-9-0, 8-6-0) with 16 points, five shy of first-place North Dakota (13-3-4, 10-3-1), which has won 11 of its last 13 games.
"Us getting a point would have been a little more fair in the whole deal," Tigers coach Scott Owens said, "but they're the defending national champions. They know how to win and they have some top players that can make a difference."
In other WCHA action, St. Cloud State blanked Wisconsin 5-0 Saturday night to gain a split after a 3-1 Badgers victory Friday night. Denver swept Alaska-Anchorage, winning 6-2 Saturday night and 5-1 Friday night.
In St. Cloud, Minn., the Huskies found a way to shut down Wisconsin right wing Dany Heatley, the No. 2 overall pick in the most recent NHL draft, and peppered Badgers goalie Graham Melanson with 45 shots, one shy of their season high.
Since the Badgers spent eight of the first 16 minutes short-handed Saturday night, and faced six short-handed situations in the game, Heatley spent too much time killing penalties or on the bench. He had only one shot on goal in the game.
That proved to be the best way to beat the Badgers, who have scored just one goal without Heatley on the ice in the past four games.
"(Heatley's) a human being," said Scott Meyer, who stopped 24 shots to earn his first shutout of the year after a school-record string of seven last season. "He's an exceptional player -- not to take anything away from him -- but sometimes people don't have good games. He had some chances and his shot is one of the hardest to track in the league. But he's just one guy on a very good line. It was a tribute to our team effort that we shut them out."
In nonconference games involving WCHA teams, Minnesota beat Quinnipiac 11-2 Saturday night and beat a Russian select team 5-4 in an exhibition game Sunday night. Minnesota State, Mankato, beat Alabama-Huntsville 3-2 Saturday night and 4-2 Friday night. Minnesota-Duluth beat Bemidji State 5-3 Saturday and 7-2 Friday. Northern Michigan beat Michigan Tech 5-2 and 4-1.
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