Rookie left winger Riley Tufte scored twice for the first two-goal night of his young collegiate career to help propel the University of Minnesota Duluth to a 5-3 National Collegiate Hockey Conference victory over the University of North Dakota Friday night in Grand Forks, N.D.
After North Dakota took a 1-0 lead 7:12 into the game, Tufte answered 38 seconds later -- the first of four straight UMD goals that put the Bulldogs up for good. The victory was the No. 4 Bulldogs' fourth in a row over the defending NCAA national champion Fighting Hawks, their longest winning streak against their long-time rivals in a little over 30 years (March 9, 1985 to Jan. 10, 1986).
"My game is starting to come to me," said Tufte, who went pointless in his first 14 games as a Bulldog, but has three goals and one assist in the five outings since. "The first half of the season was tough, but lately I thought I've been playing well. I'm really starting to get used to interview."
Junior center Avery Peterson (one goal and one assist) and junior ringer Karson Kuhlman, Tufte's two linemates, also picked up two points while sophomore center Adam Johnson (on a classic end-to-end rush) and junior center Sammy Spurrell each added a goal. Peterson's score, his third in six games this season, turned out to be the eventual game-winner as it put the Bulldogs ahead 4-1 late in the second period. No. 8 North Dakota (13-8-3; 6-6-1-1), which was outshot 34-24, cashed in on two of its three power play opportunities.
With the victory, the Bulldogs moved to 14-5-4 overall and bolstered its lead in the NCHC standings at 10-4-1-1 (six points over second-place University of Denver). UMD is now unbeaten in 11 of its last 12 regular season road engagements, going 9-1-2 since suffering a 2-1 setback to the Fighting Hawks on Feb. 20, 2016.
"I like the way we played tonight," said UMD head coach Scott Sandelin. "I thought we started out well even though they scored that first goal. We responded quickly and went from there."
The two clubs will meet for the final time during the 2016-17 regular on Saturday night in at Ralph Engelstad Arena.