It was a hard-fought, back-and-forth contest, but in the end, Willie Raskob's third period power play goal--the first goal of his career--was the difference as Minnesota Duluth edged Miami 4-3 to avenge a loss in the first game of the weekend for the fourth straight time this season.
Miami got the scoring started first when Blake Coleman's wrister through traffic from the point beat Minnesota Duluth goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo, but Justin Crandall answered back for UMD to send the teams to the locker room tied after the first intermission.
Minnesota Duluth would take control of the game early in the second period thanks to a power play goal from Alex Iafallo and a shorthanded goal from Andy Welinski.
But Miami would come back to tie the game with a late second period goal from Riley Barber that was initially waved off by the officials, but confirmed a goal after video review, and a penalty shot goal by Blake Coleman just 18 seconds into the third period.
That set the stage for Raskob, who said after the game that he had been waiting a long time for that first career goal. The RedHawks would press for the tying goal, but Kaskisuo stood strong in the game's final moments to earn the victory.
Minnesota Duluth improves to 4-4-0 overall and 2-2-0 in NCHC play on the year and will travel to St. Cloud next weekend. Miami falls to 5-3- on the year and 1-1-0 in conference play. They'll host Colorado College next weekend.
Shots on Goal UMD 18- 15-6-40 MU 6-8-18-32
Corsi(even strength shot attempts) UMD 28-16-11-55 MU 13-15-19-47 (53.9% to 46.1% UMD)
Prime Scoring Area Chances: UMD 10-15-4-29 MU 4-8-9-21
-Things got started early. At the end of warm-ups when Miami captain Austin Czarnik skated to the referee's circle for the captains' pre-game chat with the officials, and as Minnesota Duluth defenseman Derik Johnson skated by, some words were exchanged. That conversation continued until Johnson had to be restrained by an official. Tensions rose a little bit as Miami's Kevin Morris(6-4 205) and Conor Lemirande(6-6 237) had a lengthy conversation with Minnesota Duluth's Carson Soucy(6-4 210) and Brenden Kotyk(6-6 225) with linesmen in between the two. Discretion eventually won out, with both teams exiting the ice without major incident.
I asked Andy Welinski about what happened during the warm-ups and he said:
"We knew it was going to be chippy. That's just how it ended last night. Both teams were fired up. We're obviously not happy with the results of Friday night.. Nothing really happened overall, but it just kind of set the tone for the game."
The tight back-and-forth game kept a lid on things, but there was a lot of pushing and post-whistle scrappiness from both teams all night. It was pretty clear these two teams don't care for each other much--Willie Raskob basically admitted as much after the game--and when they meet again in February, it should be another feisty, physical series.
-Minnesota Duluth continues to do a great job attacking the net. This was a little play that didn't mean much, but a UMD forward drew a hooking penalty on Austin Czarnik in the closing minute of the first period. Miami would take another penalty to start the second period and Minnesota Duluth would eventually score on the ensuing 5-on-3 power play.
-This was Ryan McKay's first game back from injury after missing the last two weekends due to injury, and I thought he looked a little shaky all night. He tended to be a little over-aggressive in scramble situations, and had a really tough time recovering. On Iafallo's power play goal, he I'm not sure I've ever seen such a wide open net.
-Blake Coleman was the best player on the ice tonight. He's so physical; he finishes every check, wins puck battles, and does a lot of little things. His two goals and assist tonight were no fluke. I'll have more on Coleman later next week.
-Coleman maybe could have had an even better game, but Scott Sandelin had high praise for Cal Decowski after the game, who spent a lot of time on the ice with Coleman. "He was battling a lot of the night against Coleman, who's about twice the size of him, but he won face-offs, he was on pucks, and he's got that ability to be kind of a pest. Down low, he got to a lot of pucks and made plays."
-It's easy to tell what special players Austin Czarnik and Riley Barber are, even on what was an off night by their usual standards--Barber's goal was the only time they showed on the scoresheet. They're on a different level than their peers. Both have such good sticks. They handle passes and make plays with the puck that no other players can make. Czarnik almost had a few dazzling goals in the second period. It's impressive
-This game had a very similar feel to last Saturday's win over Denver for Minnesota Duluth. Once again, the Bulldogs looked completely out-of-sorts until the first media timeout, but then took over the first period from there. Again like last Saturday, they came out of the first period tied, but had a huge edge in prime scoring area chances and were finally able to break through in the second period. Credit Miami for fighting back better than Denver did, but UMD was the better team tonight.
-Andy Welinski's short-handed goal was a thing of beauty. He did a great job to recognize he had a step on his defender and got up the ice to turn a 1-on-1 into a 2-on-1. If I get video, that's something else I'll talk more about this coming week.
-Miami's second goal was a strange one. Live, it certainly looked like a good goal that was going to be called back because the official blew his whistle way too early. Scott Sandelin said the officials told him that they clearly saw the puck go in the net before the whistle was blown, for what it's worth. I'm not sure I believe that, but that's apparently what they said.
Personally, I compare the play to an inadvertent whistle in football, where a runner may have been incorrectly ruled down by the official, but if it's determined after replay that he actually did fumble, and the opposing team obviously would have recovered the fumble. Ultimately, it seems to me the officials took the wrong path to get the right result.
-I'll make this point another time when I'm not 1500 words into a story that only a select audience is reading, but after seeing him three weekends in a row, Karson Kuhlman really needs to be in consideration for the US World Junior team this year. I love how effectively he moves the puck through the neutral zone. He's very patient with the puck rather than panicking and punting. He'd be a perfect fourth line energy guy that can play the wing and give the US some effective minutes in a limited role. I'll probably beat this drum a few more times before December.
-For a fourth liner, Blake Young made two outstanding offensive moves to create scoring chances in the second half of the game. Last Saturday was his first collegiate game and he didn't show much, but I thought he showed some flashes of real potential tonight. Definitely a player worth keeping an eye on.
-This makes four straight series in which Minnesota Duluth has lost the opening game of a weekend, and come back to win the second game. It's tough to explain. "We've got to find a way to make Fridays be Saturdays," said Sandelin after the game. I'll be doing my part. After covering UMD each of the past three Saturdays, I'll be seeing them play next Friday in St. Cloud.
3:20 Blake Coleman from Cody Murphy 1-0 Miami
Coleman picked up the puck in the right circle and took the puck up the boards on the cycle. He held onto the puck and cut towards the center of the ice at the blue line. He fired a wrist shot through traffic that Kaskisuo never saw.
15:06 Justin Crandall from Cal Decowski and Kyle Osterberg 1-1 tie
Minnesota Duluth entered the zone on a line rush. Crandall pass the puck to ___ on his right wing, who took the puck into the corner and passed it out to Crandall in the high slot. Crandall finished with a high shot above McKay's glove.
0:35- Alex Iafallo from Austin Farley and Carson Soucy (5x3 power play) 2-1 UMD
Great puck movement on the two-man advantage by Minnesota Duluth. Farley took a pass at the bottom of the left circle, and fed a cross-ice pass to Iafallo who had a wide open net to shoot into.
6:49-Andy Welinski from Kyle Osterberg and Justin Crandall (shorthanded) 3-1 UMD
Crandall made a nice play in his own zone to spring Osterberg on a breakout. Welinski saw the opportunity to jump into the play and turn a 1-on-1 rush into a 2-on-1 rush. He got a pass from Osterberg and fired a one-timer that trickled past McKay.
14:25-Riley Barber from Cody Murphy and Blake Coleman 3-2 UMD
A shot from the corner trickled behind Kaskisuo in the crease. Barber won a battle in front of the net and knocked the loose puck in. The referees initially waved the goal off, as it appeared they had blown the whistle prior to Barber knocking the puck in, but after a review, they allowed the goal to count.
0:18- Blake Coleman (penalty shot) 3-3 tie
Coleman was hauled down on a semi-breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. He came in on his penalty shot and fired a shot to Kaskisuo's blocker side that went in.
11:48- Willie Raskob from Kyle Osterberg and Austin Farley (power play) 4-3 UMD
Farley entered the offensive zone on the right wing with speed. He fired a pass across crease that didn't find anyone, but Osterberg picked up the puck in the corner and fed Raskob in the high slot. his wrist shot beat McKay to the blocker side.