DULUTH – Minnesota-Duluth continues to surprise not only it’s fans, but the rest of college hockey with a large-margined, 6-0 victory and weekend sweep over #16 Nebraska-Omaha. Ryan Massa started in net for the Mavericks, but John Faulkner finished the game off after the Bulldogs had scored four straight powerplay goals from Austin Farley, Cal Decowski, Joe Basaraba and Andy Welinski.
Faulkner took the net to begin the third period, but a powerplay goal from Joe Basaraba and an even-strength goal from Mike Seidel allowed the Bulldogs to finish with two goals in each period. When the final horn sounded, the Bulldogs earned the weekend sweep while outscoring the Mavericks 11-4.
What I Saw
Nebraska Omaha was paralyzed with penalties all night long, giving the Bulldogs a man-advantage for a large amount of time. When things were even, the Mavericks were able to display the talent they’ve normally been able to produce, but couldn’t find a hole in UMD Goalie Aaron Crandall. The physical game one could expect from UNO was there, but the line between being penalized was crossed much too many times.
Minnesota-Duluth is on a tear. The powerplay was performing very well tonight, going 5/8 while the penalty kill didn’t give up a goal during the three attempts UNO had. The Bulldogs were able to breakout, connect passes, avoid neutral-zone turnovers, and sloppy play that plagued them for most of the season, allowing for the performance that we’ve seen.
What I Thought
Just when things seemed as though they were looking up for UNO, they would either take a penalty or turn the puck over. The amount of times UNO would “shoot themselves in the foot” kept adding up, usually resulting in goals. Blais would have liked his goaltenders to play a little differently, too, as they gave up six goals. Had they not taken so many penalties and had some momentum growing from the goaltenders making great saves, the game would have been much closer and could have resulted in the Mavericks winning.
UMD is right where they want to be going into the playoffs. Although they are heading on the road, either to Minnesota State, Wisconsin, or Denver (most-likely, anyway), the Bulldogs will take a large amount of momentum and confidence with them after two sweeps. The powerplay and goaltending are performing at the best of its ability, which could end up giving UMD a bid into the WCHA Final Five.
What They Said
Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais said,”It didn’t seem to matter what we did, they found a way to take advantage of our mistakes so you’ve got to give Duluth credit.”
Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin said,”Like last night, we took advantage on the powerplay. Our guys played with a lot passion tonight; we played smart and aggressive.”
Minnesota-Duluth senior Mike Seidel said,”We really stressed coming out in the first period because we knew they were going to come out with fire. We told ourselves that we were going to match their intensity and push forward and to gain momentum.”
What Else You Should Know
Aaron Crandall earned his second shutout in a row for UMD. He stopped 32 shots and did a fine job at redirecting pucks away from potentially dangerous situations, as well as seeing shots through a good amount of traffic.
The Bulldog powerplay is now 11 for 23 in the last four games (48%) and penalty kill sits at 13 for 14 (93%).
Nebraska-Omaha has now lost four games in row resulting in the longest losing streak of the season. They’re also 2-7-0 in their last nine games.