Special teams were just that — special — for Minnesota Duluth Saturday night.
The No. 2 Bulldogs scored twice shorthanded and once on the power play and skated out of AMSOIL Arena with a 3-0 victory over top-ranked North Dakota. A sellout crowd of 6,759 witnessed UMD's first two-game series sweep of the Fighting Hawks since Jan. 27-28, 1995.
UMD, which made its 2016-17 National Collegiate Hockey Conference debut on Friday night by taking down the Fighting Hawks 5-2, did all of its scoring in the second period. That started at the 11:24 mark with a wicked wrister from the topof the left faceoff circle from sophomore right winger Karson Kuhlman that whistled past North Dakota netminder Cam Johnson while the Fighting Hawks were a man up. Four minutes later, with UMD on the power play, senior defenseman Carson Soucy went top shelf for his first goal of the season. With 59 seconds to go before the intermission break, senior left winger Kyle Osterberg finished off a perfect tic-tac-toe sequence with Kuhlman and senior defenseman Willie Raskobto hike the Bulldog lead to 3-0.
That was more than enough for Bulldog rookie Hunter Miska, who posted the second shutout of his five-game career and UMD's first blanking of North Dakota in over seven years (Alex Stalock in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five tourney on March 20, 2009. Miska (4-0-0) and the Bulldogs killed off all seven of the Fighting Hawks' power play opportunities. UMD, which was outshot 30-25, went 1-for-5 with the man advantage.
"This was a big challenge for us after last night's win to see if we could take that next step," said UMD head coach Scott Sandelin, whose Bulldogs improved to 5-1-2 overall. "I thought North Dakota played much harder tonight — there wasn't a lot of room out there. Once again, it was important to get that first goal. Our special teams came up big and our penalty killers were outstanding all weekend. Hunter had a nice game and we did enough to get a key win."