Gophers Hockey: Minnesota-Duluth tames Minnesota with 6-2 win

Justin Crandall scored 2 goals Sunday afternoon as the Bulldogs split the weekend series with Minnesota - Matt Christians - SB Nation

Minnesota-Duluth scored four power play goals and another shorthanded to embarrass Minnesota at home Sunday.

Although Minnesota-Duluth was not going to go quietly after being routed by the Gophers Friday night, the team's play on the ice Sunday was louder than anyone expected.

Justin Crandall scored two goals for the Bulldogs (6-5-1, 2-2-0 NCHC) and set up two more as the visitors used special teams to make a statement Sunday afternoon. Five UMD players tallied multiple points while handing top-ranked Minnesota a 6-2 loss in front of 9,130 fans at Mariucci Arena.

Minnesota (9-2-1, 0-0-0 Big Ten) saw a ten game home unbeaten streak snapped right before Big Ten conference play begins in full next weekend.

Minnesota-Duluth scored four goals with the man advantage and added a shorthanded goal to earn the two-game series split after going 0-7 on the power play Friday night.

"Tonight we were able to build on the lead," Bulldogs head coach Scott Sandelin said after the game. "Obviously it was a nice shorthanded goal, but we took the wind out of their sails like they did to us Friday."

Dominic Toninato (Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick) started the onslaught 7:47 into the game with his first career shorthanded goal. Joe Basaraba (Florida Panthers), who had just got out of the penalty box seconds early to end a Gophers 5x3 chance, hit the freshman in stride and Toninato did the rest; tipping it past Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay Lightning).

Tony Cameranesi (Maple Leafs) made it 2-0 Minnesota-Duluth when he was left wide open in front of the Minnesota net 2:25 after Toninato's goal. Crandall, in his second weekend back after missing three weeks with an upper body injury, made it 3-0 on the power play with 5:33 remaining in the first period.

"We got off to a good start, built a lead and kind of turned the tables on (Minnesota). (Friday) we had an opportunity to go up and we didn't score. That's kind of been a bit of a thorn for us." stated Sandelin, who won against Minnesota for the first time since February 5, 2011.

Cameranesi's goal ended up being more special as the game continued. That's because it was the only one scored at even strength. While the game avoided skirmishes outside of Ben Marshall (Detroit Red Wings) and Andy Weliniski (Anaheim Ducks) near the end of the second period after Marshall ran UMD goalie Matt McNeely, Sunday's referees called 68 minutes of penalties.

McNeely, who got the nod after Aaron Crandall was pulled for allowing five goals in the series opener, made 36 saves Sunday. The sophomore goaltender was tough on angles while Minnesota-Duluth took away space in front of the net.

"I don't think we got any traffic. I don't think we got any rebounds today. I think we made the game pretty easy today for them," Gophers junior forward Travis Boyd (Washington Capitals) said about his team's offensive chances Sunday. "We had a lot of shots from the outside and didn't put pressure on them."

The amount of time on special teams played to the Bulldogs' advantage. Minnesota entered the game 29th in the country on the penalty kill after successfully killing all penalties in the last three games. The Gophers as a team were successful with puck possession, out-shooting the Bulldogs 38-27, and drawing penalties.

The Gophers had 10 power play attempts compared to 7 for UMD. It took 7 Minnesota PP attempts, however, for Mike Reilly (Columbus Blue Jackets) to make it a 3-1 game 8:42 into the second period. The sophomore defenseman took advantage of a screen by Hudson Fasching (Los Angeles Kings) and beat McNeely for his fifth goal of the season.

Still, Austin Farley and Kyle Osterberg exacerbated the problems when each scored with the man-advantage less than two minutes apart .

Osterberg's goal chased Wilcox, who made 12 saves, for the first time in his college career.

"He was hung out to dry a little bit," Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said about Wilcox, who was replaced by senior Michael Shibrowski.

Crandall, meanwhile, added his second goal of the night 1:05 into the third period when he was left open in front of Shibrowski on the power play to give Minnesota-Duluth a 6-1 lead.

"We scored some nice goals and had some good efforts around the net," Crandall said.

Freshman defenseman Michael Brodzinski (San Jose Sharks) provided a bright spot with his second power play goal in as many games with 11:04 remaining, but the game was out of reach beforehand for the Gophers.

Special teams has been an issue for Minnesota all season and Minnesota-Duluth took full advantage. It didn't allow the Gophers to get into a rhythm once trailing and the power play's struggles continued to build upon itself.

"Absolutely," said Boyd about Minnesota's lack of even strength play. "It turns into a special teams game and it's tough to stay into it because you're going to have some guys who don't play for a stretch of 5, 10 minutes and some guys who go out there for almost the whole 5-10 minutes. It's definitely tough and part of being mentally in the game. I just don't think we're there yet."

The Bulldogs, meanwhile,were there mentally. And made sure to remind the Gophers this weekend that two can play at this game.

Minnesota hosts Wisconsin next Friday and Saturday. Friday's game begins at 4 p.m. CT on ESPNU while Saturday's starts at 5 p.m. CT on Fox Sports North. Minnesota-Duluth is off next weekend before returning to NCHC play hosting fellow Minnesota college St. Cloud State at AMSOIL Arena December 6-7.

Scoring:

First Period:

MINNESOTA-DULUTH - Dominic Toninato (3) (Joe Basraba 7:47 SHG)

MINNESOTA-DULUTH - Tony Cameranesi (2) (Austin Farley, Justin Crandall 10:12)

MINNESOTA-DULUTH - Justin Crandall (4) (Caleb Herbert, Kyle Osterberg 14:27 PP)

Second Period:

MINNESOTA - Mike Reilly (5) (Kyle Rau, Sam Warning 8:42 PP)

MINNESOTA-DULUTH - Austin Farley (3) (Tony Cameranesi, Adam Krause 13:26 PP)

MINNESOTA-DULUTH - Kyle Osterberg (4) (Crandall, Herbert 15:12 PP)

Third Period:

MINNESOTA-DULUTH - Justin Crandall (5) (Herbert, Willie Corrin 1:05 PP)

MINNESOTA - Michael Brodzinski (4) (Connor Reilly, Christian Isackson 8:56 PP)

Shots:

MINNESOTA-DULUTH - 8 - 11 - 8 -- 27

MINNESOTA 13 - 13 - 12 -- 38

Three Stars: 1) Justin Crandall (2G-2A) 2) Caleb Herbert (3A) 3) Matt McNeely (36 saves)

Other notes:

-Toninato scored the first shorthanded goal for Minnesota-Duluth this season. It was also the first one that the Gophers have given up in 2013-2014.

-Sam Warning extended his point streak to 12 games to start the year, passing Ryan Stoa in 2006-2007, with an assist on Reilly's goal. He now has 14 assists in 12 games.

--

Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter -- 

Matt Christians contributed to this report.

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