It’s one thing to score an overtime goal. It’s another to net one in the manner North Dakota Fighting Hawks center Shane Gersich did Friday night.
Gersich picked up the puck at the right of his net, skated all the length of the ice, pulled off a spin-o-rama to get by defenseman Will Butcher and then backhanded a shot over the shoulder of goaltender Tanner Jaillet.
Gersich’s 3-on-3 marker gave the Fighting Hawks an extra point over the Denver Pioneers in National Collegiate Hockey Conference action. However, under NCAA rules, the score is recorded 1-1 and officially counts as a tie.
"I thought their defenseman (Butcher) looked pretty tired, but I was tired, too,'' Gersich told Virg Foss of UNDsports.com. "So I just spun and threw it on net, and it went in.''
It’s that type of sublime skill that made Gersich a fifth-round pick, 134th overall, by the Washington Capitals in the 2014 NHL draft. The player he waltzed around is no slouch either. Butcher, 21, is a point-per-game defenseman who was drafted 123rd overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 2013.
Turns out, Gersich, 20, has been keeping an eye on the reigning MVP Hart Trophy winner for tips.
"Sometimes, in practice, you mess around and do that stuff," Gersich told Brad Schlossman of the Bismarck Tribune. "Me and (Vancouver Canucks prospect) Brock (Boeser) always watch Patty Kane and he always does a little spin-o-rama.”
Gersich, a sophomore, is second on the NCAA’s sixth-ranked Fighting Hawks with 12 points (four goals and eight assists), one back of Boeser. Avalanche 2016 first-rounder Tyson Jost is third with 10 points.
With the tie, the Fighting Hawks are 5-3-2 this season, while the second-ranked Pioneers are 6-2-1.
The teams face off again Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.