By Matt Wellens
DULUTH — After the Minnesota Duluth men’s and women’s teams combined for 14 goals in their Friday wins, the Amsoil Arena goal horn got a little more rest in Saturday’s series finales.
The UMD women beat Bemidji State 2-0 in the afternoon and the men followed in the evening with a 3-2 win over Maine to complete a weekend sweep for the Bulldogs hockey programs.
Junior wing Riley Tufte and freshmen wings Noah Cates and Cole Koepke scored for the Bulldogs, who nearly watched their 3-0 lead disappear after the Black Bears clawed back with a goal late in the second period and early in the third.
Junior goaltender Hunter Shepard preserved the win with a number of key saves in the final minute when Maine had its goaltender pulled for an extra attacker. Two of his 18 saves came in the final seconds without a stick.
“Winning is hard and no matter what happens on Friday, you have to be prepared to bring it every night,” said coach Scott Sandelin, whose Bulldogs won 8-2 on Friday against Maine. “That’s a good lesson for us.
“I didn’t think our intensity level was where it was the night before, but I’m going to give Maine credit because we know they were going to come back and play better. What we saw the night before probably wasn’t their team and we took advantage of that.”
While not the four-goal second period experienced in Friday’s rout, the Bulldogs again used the middle stanza to create some breathing room from its opponent, getting goals from two freshmen to take a 3-1 lead into the third.
Noah Cates sniped through his second goal of the season 5:35 into the period to put UMD up 2-0. Koepke later put Maine down 3-0 — though the Black Bears would get one back later in the period on a power play — with his first collegiate goal. The former Hermantown Hawk let it rip on a puck that bounced off the side boards and right into his wheelhouse.
“It’s a special feeling. That’s something I looked forward to since I was young,” Koepke said of his first college goal. “I had a few chances the first five games of the season so it was nice to get that first one off my chest.”
Tufte scored the first goal of the game and his third of the season just 2:50 in — one second sooner than UMD scored first on Friday — after blasting a one-timer through six seconds into UMD’s opening power play of the night. Krieger won the opening faceoff and dished to Perunovich, who slid a pass over to Tufte to set up the one-timer.
The Bulldogs finished 1-for-5 on the power play Saturday after the Black Bears took seven penalties for 14 minutes, including a pair of simultaneous minors in the final minute of the second period, giving UMD a 5-on-3 advantage for the final 41 seconds of the second and for the opening 1:19 of the third.
Maine was able to kill off the two-’Dog advantage, though, and pull within one at the 4:45 mark of the third when freshman wing Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup deflected a pass past Shepard.
“We can’t have setbacks, we can’t stop playing,” Tufte said. “Coach mentioned we were up 3-0 and thought it was going to be another 8-2 game or 8-0 game. We can’t have that happen. He made that pretty clear to us after the game.
“Winning is not easy and things are going to happen like that. We’re going to have to battle games out like that. There are going to be a lot of 3-2 games this year and we just can’t take a night off. You can’t take a night off, especially if you beat a team 8-2.”
Minn. Duluth 1-2-0—3
First period — 1. UMD, Riley Tufte 3 (Scott Perunovich, Peter Krieger), 2:50 (pp). Penalties — Eduards Tralmaks, UM (roughing), 2:44; Chase Pearson, UM (hooking), 5:28; Adam Dawe, UM (roughing), 9:36; Nick Wolff, UMD (roughing), 9:36; Tufte, UMD (roughing), 17:37.
Second period — 2. UMD, Noah Cates 2 (Perunovich), 5:35; 3. UMD, Cole Koepke 1 (Wolff, Mackay), 15:54; 4. UM, Rob MIchel 2 (Mitchell Fossier, Eduards Tralmaks), 17:39. Penalties — Pearson, UM (cross checking), 1:51; Tim Doherty, UM (holding), 9:04; Jade Miller, UMD (hooking), 16:54; Doherty, UM (hooking), 19:19; Canon Pieper, UM (tripping), 19:19.
Third period — 5. UM, Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup 2 (Pearson), 4:45. Penalties — Louie Roehl, UMD (5:09.
Shots on goal — UM 5-10-5—20; UMD 14-17-13—44. Goalies — Jeremy Swayman, UMD (44 shots-41 saves); Hunter Shepard, UMD (20-18). Power plays — UM 1-of-3; UMD 1-of-5. Referees — Scott Bokal, Eugene Binda. Linesmen — Tony Aronson, Brandon Schmitt. Att. — 6,589.
Matt Wellens (@mattwellens) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (218) 723-5317.