By Matt Wellens
HOUGHTON, Mich. — Minnesota Duluth’s play in the second period Friday left coach Scott Sandelin with a sour taste in his mouth despite a 2-1 victory over Michigan Tech.
“Second period I didn’t like at all,” Sandelin said Friday. “It started with breakaways. We had poor coverage again.”
The coach had few qualms Saturday after his third-ranked Bulldogs scored five goals in the second period to beat the No. 19-ranked Huskies 5-2 to complete the nonconference sweep at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
It was a dominating performance for the defending national champions, who also outshot the defending WCHA tournament champions 38-13.
“It was a good team effort tonight,” Sandelin said. “Defensively we did a good job. We had the puck more of the night than we didn’t. I thought we managed the puck a lot better tonight and the end result was we had it more and we weren’t chasing it as much. We scored more goals and got more opportunities.”
Freshman forward Tanner Laderoute scored the first two goals of his college career in the final five minutes of the second to boost the UMD margin to four entering the third period. Sophomore defenseman Dylan Samberg, junior wing Riley Tufte and senior captain Parker Mackay picked up UMD’s first three goals of the period.
Junior goaltender Hunter Shepard stopped 11 of the 13 shots he faced after watching his Bulldogs outshoot the Huskies 13-2 in a scoreless first period.
Trying to explain his coach’s feeling about the second period after Friday’s win, Shepard said in the postgame media interview the frustration may have something to do with it being a weak period for the Bulldogs over the first three games.
Shepard said the team was struggling with the long changes at times, citing some new faces and new combinations to the lineup as a reason for that. The Cohasset native said he also noticed opponents were making strong pushes during the middle period.
That was the case Friday as the Huskies took advantage of Bulldogs turnovers for breakaways. Tech did something similar in the early going of the second on Saturday, using a Bulldogs neutral-zone turnover to create an odd-man rush and equalizer. Junior wing Andrew Bellant tied the game at 1-1 just minutes after Samberg put UMD ahead 1-0.
The next four goals came from the Bulldogs, however, as Tufte netted his first of the season on a power play. His blast from the top of the faceoff circle was set up by sophomore wing Nick Swaney, who from his stomach fed Tufte his own rebound right back to him.
Koepke, a Hermantown native, then continued what has been a strong start for the Bulldogs freshman class. He picked up his second point of the season by forcing a turnover behind the Huskies net that led to Mackay’s second goal of the year.
“I just went down there, the ‘D’ skated into me and I bumped into him,” Koepke said. “There was a loose puck sitting right there with (Justin Richards) forechecking also. It was just laying there, I looked up and Parker was wide open in the slot. I fed it to him and he was able to make a great shot.”
The Bulldogs freshman class has 10 points — five goals and five assists — through four games with Laderoute and Jackson Cates each getting two goals in two weeks.
Laderoute was in the stands last Saturday when the Bulldogs opened the season and raised their national championship banner against Minnesota. He made his debut Sunday in Minneapolis and played both games in Houghton.
For someone who is just trying to secure a spot in the lineup, Laderoute said it was “huge” to score two goals and turn a 3-1 game into a 5-1 game.
“I’m just trying to fight to stay in the lineup as a freshman,” Laderoute said. “As long as you can contribute, especially like that, it means the world. I didn’t even know how to celebrate I’m so excited.”
Minn. Duluth 0-5-0—5
Mich. Tech 0-1-1—2
First period — No scoring. Penalties — Andrew Bellant, MTU (high sticking), 8:12; Cooper Watson, MTU (roughing), 15:18.
Second period — 1. UMD, Dylan Samberg 1 (Parker Mackay, MIkey Anderson), 1:17; 2. MTU, Andrew Bellant 1 (Jake Jackson, Alex Smith), 5:03; 3. UMD, Riley Tufte 1 (Nick Swaney, Scott Perunovich), 11:09 (pp); 4. UMD, Parker Mackay 2 (Justin Richards, Cole Koepke), 14:29; 5. UMD, Tanner Laderoute 1 (Noah Cates, Perunovich), 15:31. Penalties — Jackson Cates, UMD (hooking), 7:53; Jake Lucchini, MTU (slashing), 11:02.
Third period — 7. MTU, Cooper Watson 1 (Brian Halonen, Alec Broetzman), 19:10. Penalties — TJ Polglaze, MTU (elbowing), 10:02; Billy Exell, UMD (boarding), 11:52.
Shots on goal — UMD 13-19-6—38; MTU 2-8-3—013. Goalies — Hunter Shepard, UMD (13 shots-1 saves); Devin Kero, MTU (32-27); Robbie Beydoun, MTU (6-6). Power plays — UMD 1-of-4; MTU 0-of-2. Referees — Brad Albers, Rick Nelson. Linesmen — Dan Juopperi, T.J. Likens. Att. — 3,100.
Matt Wellens (@mattwellens) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (218) 723-5317.