MINNEAPOLIS- The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs began the third period in great shape Friday night at Mariucci Arena. They were ahead in the shot department and scored 3 goals in the second period – including Austin Farley’s second of the game with 44 seconds left in the period – to tie the game at 3.
But as has been the norm lately for UMD, it wasn’t enough over the final 20 minutes.
Gopher sophomore Kyle Rau scored the game-winning goal with 6:35 remaining as Minnesota (21-6-4, 13-6-4 WCHA) defeated the Bulldogs 5-3 in the first of a two-game series. The loss left Minnesota-Duluth (10-7-4, 8-13-4 WCHA) winless in their last 8 games and looking to once again right the ship.
Nate Condon began the scoring for Minnesota 4:05 into the game when his shot trickled past Bulldogs goalie Matt McNeely and crossed the line on a second effort. That was followed by a shorthanded goal by Erik Haula 7:50 into the second before Justin Crandall evened things out 27 seconds later on the same power play. The two teams once again traded quick goals 5 minutes later as Farley tied the game at 2 and Sam Warning responded to give the Gophers back the lead before the UMD freshman’s second of the game near the end of the period.
Giving up a goal in the last minute of a period can be a rallying cry for the team who scores but Minnesota never allowed that. Instead, they out-shot Minnesota-Duluth 16-4 over the final 20 minutes and made McNeely, who made 29 saves, work. Their persistence was eventually rewarded with Rau’s 14th goal of the season and first in 8 games. Haula then added his second goal of the game on an empty-netter with 5.4 seconds remaining to seal the deal.