Blake Biondi's second game-winning goal of the season lifted the No. 5 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs to a series sweep of the No. 4 Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday evening in Duluth. After taking game one 5-3 in Minneapolis on Friday night, UMD captured game two with a 2-1 victory on Saturday to take the series.
Biondi and Tanner Laderoute both tallied goals for the Bulldogs, while Wyatt Kaiser, Connor Kelley, Louie Roehl, and Quinn Olson all posted assists on the night. Junior netminder Ryan Fanti record his fourth win of the season after he made 28 saves on Saturday evening. The 2-1 decision improves Fanti to 4-0 on the season.
The Bulldogs got the party started in the first period. Midway through the period, Connor Kelley found Wyatt Kaiser at the left point in the Minnesota zone. Kaiser wristed a shot that would deflect off a cutting Laderoute and past Gopher's goaltender Jack Lafontaine. For Laderoute, the goal is the first of his senior season. UMD took the 1-0 advantage at 10:51 of the first frame. About seven minutes later, Olson spun out of the right-wing corner and made a pass back to Roehl at the right point. The 5th-year defenseman sent a bouncing wrist shot on net looking for a rebound. Lafontaine kicked out a juice rebound to the waiting stick of Biondi who slapped the puck across the line to give UMD a 2-0 lead. It's Biondi's third goal and sixth point in just six games this season. The Bulldogs went into the first intermission up 2-0.
The second period would prove to be a defensive battle with Minnesota outshooting UMD 13 to 7. A goaltender interference penalty to Olson at 14:11 of the period gave the Gophers the best chance of either side. Solid penalty killing and goaltending from Lafontaine and Fanti sent the two teams to the second intermission with UMD ahead 2-0.
Early in the final frame, the Gophers would break through. After a decent shift in the Bulldogs end, Ben Meyers fed Ben Johnson at the point, who sent a shot towards Fanti. Gopher forward Mason Nevers was cruising through the slot and deflected the Johnson shot past Fanti to make it a 2-1 game with just under 14 minutes to play in regulation. Late in the third, the Gophers pulled Lafontaine in an effort to tie the game up with the extra attacker. Kaiser, Noah Cates, and Kobe Roth all took shots at the empty net but would miss wide. Within the last 30 seconds of the third period, multiple Bulldog shot blocks would secure the 2-1 win for Minnesota Duluth. The win gives UMD a series sweep of Minnesota and also a 4-0 record against the Gophers in their last four games.