MINNEAPOLIS -- There is something about series rematches that seem to bring out the best in Minnesota-Duluth. The Bulldogs have made a habit of bouncing back second nights pretty much all year and that trend continued Sunday at Mariucci Arena where they skated off with a 6-2 victory against the No. 1-ranked Minnesota Gophers.
The Bulldogs, who are now unbeaten in five of their six rematch games this season (4-1-1) but just 3-3-0 in weekend openers, scored four times on the power play and once while shorthanded to salvage a split in the two-game set with their long-time intrastate rivals. Junior right winger Justin Crandall had a pair of goals and added two assists for the first four-point night of his career and sophomore goaltender Matt McNeely, making his first start since Oct. 18, stopped 36 of 38 Minnesota shots as the No. 19 Bulldogs improved to 6-5-1 overall.
"The last couple of games we've been getting a lot better on the power play and getting a more pucks to the net," Crandall said. "To have a big win like that is pretty cool for us. Overall, it was just a fun night."
Rookie center Dominic Toninato put UMD up 1-0 at 7:47 of the first period when he redirected a pass from senior right winger Joe Basaraba past Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox for the first UMD shorthanded goal in almost a year. A little more than two minutes later, sophomore center Tony Cameranesi took Austin Farley's centering feed and buried a shot from the low slot for the game's only even-strength goal. Just seven seconds into a five-on-three power play later that period, Crandall roofed in what turned out to be the eventual game winner -- his team-leading third of 2013-14. Farley and fellow left winger Kyle Osterberg and Minnesota's Mike Reilly all struck on the power play in the second period before Crandall banged in a rebound 65 seconds into the third which gave the Bulldogs' their first six-goal outing at Minnesota since Feb. 14, 1997 (an 8-4 victory). Michael Brodzinski cashed in on Minnesota's 10th, and final, power-play opportunity of the evening with 8:56 to go in regulation. UMD wound up going 4-for-7 with the man advantage.
"I like the way our kids responded tonight," UMD head coach Scott Sandelin said. "I think that says a lot about this team. Hopefully, we can use it to move forward when we start conference play again."