Minnesota had not lost on their home ice since November 24th--a run that included 15 wins and two ties. Their last loss at Mariucci? A 6-2 loss to Minnesota Duluth.
On Friday night, the Bulldogs had the Gophers' number again. Austin Farley scored 2:07 into the game, and Minnesota Duluth outshot Minnesota 13-1 in the games first ten minutes. From there, they never looked back on their way to a 3-0 win on the ice of the nation's top-ranked team.
Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox did a valiant job to keep the Gophers in the game, but Dan Molenaar's first career goal at 9:55 of the second period extended the Bulldogs' lead to 2-0. Dominic Toninato added a power play goal at 11:42 of the third period to close out the scoring.
Kasimir Kaskisuo made 17 saves for his first collegiate shutout. Adam Wilcox stopped 35 shots in a losing effort. The win is the fourth-straight for Minnesota Duluth, while the loss snaps Minnesota's three-game winning streak. The two teams will meet again tomorrow night at Duluth's AmSoil Arena at 7:07.
Shots on Goal: UM:7-6-4 UMD: 15-10-7
Corsi(even strength shot attempts): UM:9-13- 6 UMD: 14-19-11
Prime Scoring Area attempts: UM: 4- 8 -1 UMD: 13-7-6
- Slow starts have been an issue for Minnesota Duluth all season, and they knew they'd need a strong start tonight.
. "They're always a quick-starting team here," said Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin. "I've lived that for 20 years when you play here. But we harped on that all week, and I think last week gave us some confidence. I thought last Saturday in St. Cloud was our best first period and I thought tonight was better than that."
It helped that the Bulldogs got a bit of a lucky break off the opening face-off. Minnesota gained possession on the opening draw. Kyle Rau broke free in the neutral zone and caught a pass that sent him into the zone with some room to work with. But Rau mishandled the puck and didn't get off much of a scoring chance. The puck ended up in the corner and Minnesota's Leon Bristedt ended up taking a holding penalty 22 seconds into the game. Austin Farley converted on that power play chance and from there, the Bulldogs had all the momentum.
-Give credit to Minnesota Duluth for not giving Minnesota anything to get started, but it was just a flat effort all night for Minnesota. Some of it may be the injuries starting to catch up to them, but a lot of players that looked good last Sunday against Notre Dame had very rough games tonight. No stat better sums it up for the Gophers than their paltry six shot attempts in the final period--including just one, which was blocked, coming from the prime scoring area. Trailing 2-0 heading into the third, one would have expected a serious push by Minnesota to get back into the game. But there was just nothing in the tank tonight.
Don Lucia summed up it well after the game: "Sometimes you just don't have your game, and tonight we didn't have our game"
-I highlighted discipline as one of the big keys to the weekend for Duluth heading into the weekend. The Bulldogs had gone short-handed more than any other team in the country coming into this game, while Minnesota had the nation's second-best power play. Tonight, the Bulldogs only went short-handed once for the game and were able to kill off that penalty.
Scott Sandelin on his team's discipline: "When you're staring at a 31, 32% power play, you don't want to give them too many chances. I thought our guys did a great job of moving their feet and putting themselves in good position."
-This was a forgettable game for nearly every Minnesota skater, but Adam Wilcox played a fantastic game despite taking the loss. He made some big saves, especially in the first period when he was bombarded. He gave his team a chance to win tonight by getting them out of a disastrous first period down only 1-0. The team in front of them didn't take that opportunity, but it was there. I talked last week about how it can be hard to judge a goalie like Wilcox because he doesn't see a lot of quality shots. Well, he did tonight, and he proved he was up to the task.
-Wilcox's counterpart, Kasimir Kaskisuo had a much quieter night, needing to make only 17 saves. You know your team had a pretty good night when your goalie shuts out the number one team in the country on their home ice, and that only merits third star of the game. Still, there were some sneaky good saves mixed into those 17 stops, and Kaskisuo did a great job of not giving Minnesota anything cheap that would help give them momentum and get them into the game.
It was a nice rebound for Kaskisuo who gave up four goals on 22 shots in his collegiate debut against the Gophers in the first game of the season.
Sandelin: "I'm sure he had nervousness like a lot of guys that first game. It didn't help that we gave up a breakaway and a short-handed chance right away. I think we was excited to have a chance to play Minnesota again. His overall play these past two or three weeks has been really solid. I think he was a lot more confident--I won't even say confident, but I think he was a lot less jittery than he was for the first game."
-After the game, Dan Molenaar was asked if the Bulldogs felt comfortable playing at Mariucci Arena: "Absolutely. Last year we had the 6-2 win on Sunday. Something about the big ice; our team does really well. We have a lot of patience and we're able to sustain a lot of pressure down low. We're not intimidated by these guys. Most of the guys know a handful of other guys on their team. You have to respect them because they have an unbelievable amount of skill and they're a great team. But you can't come in intimidated and I think that was the key to our success right away. We weren't stunned playing in front of the big crowd. A lot of guys are from this area so we feel really comfortable in this situation."
2:07- Austin Farley from Andy Welinski and Cal Decowski (power play) 1-0 UMD
A shot by Welinski from the left side of the ice was stopped by Wilcox, but Farley was right on the doorstep to knock home the rebound into an open net.
9:55- Dan Molenaar from Karson Kuhlman and Tony Cameranesi 2-0 UMD
Minnesota Duluth established their cycle deep in Minnesota's zone. Kuhlman had the puck behind the net and found Molenaar who was pinching in from the point. Molenaar fired a one-timed snap shot into the upper corner of the net.
11:42-Dominic Toninato from Austin Farley and Cal Decowski (power play) 3-0 UMD
With some beautiful puck movement on the power play, Decowski swung the puck down low to Farley at the right goal line, who made a quick pass to Toninato all alone in front of the net for an easy tap-in goal.