Minnesota Duluth Knocks Off Maine
ESTERO, Fla. -- If the University of Minnesota Duluth was looking for a sure-fire way to get into the holiday spirit, they found it Tuesday night at Germain Arena.
The Bulldogs scored three times in a seven-minute span during the second period to defeat the University of Maine 4-1 in the opening round of Florida College Hockey Classic to move on to Wednesday evening's championship game against another nationally-ranked opponent, Cornell University.
The No. 8 Black Bears scored just 13 seconds after the opening faceoff on a goal from Mike Lundin. UMD, which outshot Maine 18-4 in the first period, evened the game at 1:15 into the second period on Michael Gergen's goal off a feed from senior centerTim Stapleton then took the lead for good at the 7:02 mark when senior right wing Justin Williams capped off an end-to-end rush with his seventh tally of the year. Freshman left wing Andrew Carroll's seventh collegiate goal -- but first in six games -- 71 seconds later made it 3-1. Gergen iced the victory with an empty netter (his team-leading 11th goal of the season) at 19 seconds left in regulation. The rookie left wing has now collected at least one point in seven of the last nine games.
"It was just a great team effort," said Scott Sandelin. "Tonight, that first goal woke us up and thought we settled down nicely after that.
"Overall, our penalty kill was solid (Maine was 0-of-5 on the power play) and our defense did a good job of keeping the number of shots down. We lost some momentum late in the second period, but got it back in the third (when the Bulldogs held the Black Bears without a shot on goal for the first 11:35) which was encouraging."
Senior goaltender Isaac Reichmuth finished the night with 22 saves for his 55th career win. Matt Lundin, the NCAA leader in both goals against average (.096) and saves percentage (.957) coming into the night, made 38 stops for the 11-6-0 Black Bears, who allowed more than three goals for just the third time all season.
The meeting was the first between the two clubs in nearly 17 years.
The Bulldogs, who were swept at home by the University of Denver 10 days ago in their most recent outings, upped their overall record to 8-10-3 on the year. That includes a winning mark (5-4-2) on the road.
UMD and No. 9 Cornell, which blanked Northeastern University 3-0 in the other Florida College Classic semifinal, will square off for only the second time ever Wednesday night when the puck drops at 6:35 p.m. (CST). Their only previous confrontation came on Nov. 28, 1968 at the Syracuse (N.Y.) Invitational.
--Courtesy Minnesota Duluth