- Associated Press - Saturday, March 29, 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) - Sophomore goalie Zane Gothberg repeatedly saved North Dakota in the third period and the first overtime. He didn’t have to wait long or do much in the second overtime before he could finally celebrate.

Connor Gaarder scored off a rebound 1: 28 into the second overtime Saturday night, sending North Dakota to a 2-1 victory over Ferris State and its 20th trip to the Frozen Four.

“A flood of emotions, I guess,” said Gothberg, who had a career-high 44 saves. “Once Gaardy scored his goal, it’s just craziness. Every hair on your body is just standing up.”

Gothberg put North Dakota (25-13-3) in position for the NCAA tournament’s Midwest Regional title. He did his most impressive work in the third period and the first overtime, when Ferris State had a 26-8 advantage in shots.

Ferris State (29-11-3) took its best shot and got nowhere.

“I thought that the shots we had were unbelievable,” Ferris State’s Garrett Thompson said. “I felt we carried the pace tonight in the first overtime and in the third period. It’s just frustrating not to put one past him.”

North Dakota is headed to the Frozen Four in Philadelphia for the first time since 2011. The seven-time national champions nearly didn’t get into the tournament.

North Dakota got an at-large berth and the fourth seed in the Midwest when rival Wisconsin knocked off Ohio State for the Big Ten title. North Dakota beat top-seeded Wisconsin 5-2 in the regional semifinals Friday night.

Second-seeded Ferris State came up short in its attempt to reach the Frozen Four for the second time in school history.

“A little painful right now, as you can guess,” coach Bob Daniels said.

The teams traded goals in the second period, and the goaltenders took it from there.

Ferris State went up 1-0 when Cory Kane skated in on Gothberg and took a shot that slid between the goalie’s pads as he went to the ice to try to block it - his only mistake on a very long night.

The Bulldogs lead the nation in penalties, averaging 17.1 minutes per game. They beat Colgate 1-0 in a penalty-filled semifinal, with goalie C.J. Motte making 35 saves. A penalty led to North Dakota’s first goal.

Scott Czarnowczan got a 2-minute penalty for tripping, and North Dakota tied it with a power-play goal. Nick Mattson passed to Paul LaDue for a shot that Stephane Pattyn deflected past Motte to even it up.

Motte finished with 24 saves.

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