By Matt Wellens
MADISON, Wis. — Special teams kept No. 3 Minnesota Duluth in Friday’s 6-2 loss to No. 17 Wisconsin for at least two periods before the wheels fell off.
In the series finale Saturday back at the Kohl Center, the Bulldogs power play and penalty kill fell short as the Badgers finished the nonconference sweep with a 3-1 victory.
“Last night we produced a lot better,” UMD junior wing Nick Swaney said. “We had opportunities tonight. End of the second period we had a really good look, hit a few posts. ”
UMD finished 2-for-4 on the power play Friday and were 3-for-4 on the penalty kill, outshooting the Badgers 7-5 while down a man. The only power-play goal for Wisconsin was on a 5-on-3 advantage.
On Saturday, UMD’s penalty kill again went 3-for-4, but was down one when it surrendered the first goal of the night. The Bulldogs power play was 0-for-5 thanks in part to Badgers sophomore goaltender Daniel Lebedeff, who stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced. He made five saves on the kill.
“The game came down to scoring on chances,” Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said. “We had plenty of chances to score. We had the right people in the right spots, power play chances. The difference is they had their opportunities and they scored on them.
“We had plenty of chances to score more than one goal. That’s what it came down to.”
The Bulldogs (1-3) went into the third period trailing by a single goal for the second consecutive night in Madison, this time 2-1 instead of 3-2.
The Badgers (3-1) jumped ahead 2-0 in the second via a one-timer by freshman center Alex Turcotte on the power play five minutes in and a breakaway by junior center Ty Pelton-Bryce 12 minutes into the period.
UMD sophomore winger Noah Cates got one goal back with 5:35 to play before the second intermission by juking Badgers junior defenseman and captain Wyatt Kalynuk on the rush. The move by Cates caused Kalynuk to fall to the ice, opening a shooting lane for Cates right down the pipe.
Junior wing Sean Dhooghe clinched the win for Wisconsin with an empty netter in the final minute.
“That’s a real exciting weekend,” Badgers coach Tony Granato said. “We won a different way. We’re not going to be able to score six, 11 goals every night. When you don’t have it, you have to play smart defensively. The commitment from our team group was very obvious at the start of the game.”
The Bulldogs will meet another Big Ten program, and former WCHA rival, next weekend when they play Minnesota on Friday in Minneapolis and Saturday at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
> Bulldogs junior defenseman Scott Perunovich briefly left the game Saturday, skating to the bench clutching his back during a Bulldogs power play. He was shown by FOX Sports Wisconsin cameras having his back attended to, but Perunovich did return and finished Saturday’s game. Perunovich battled a back injury late last season
> Sophomore wing Tanner Laderoute missed Saturday’s game with a left leg injury. Laderoute left Friday’s game in the third period after going hard into the end boards behind the Badgers’ net. He had to be helped off the ice and to the UMD locker room.
> Freshman wing Quinn Olson was also out for the second consecutive night with an upper body injury.
WISCONSIN 3, MINNESOTA DULUTH 1
Minnesota Duluth 0-1-0—1
First period — No scoring. Penalties — Hunter Lellig, UMD (tripping), 5:00; Alex Turcotte, UW (kneeing), 5:22; Cole Caufield, UW (tripping), 16:55; Cole Kopeke, UMD (tripping), 18:36.
Second period — 1. UW, Alex Turcotte 3 (Wyatt Kalynuk, Linus Weissbach), 5:04 (pp); 2. UW, Ty Pelton-Byce 2 (Sean Dhooghe, Romah Ahcan), 12:09; 3. UMD, Noah Cates 2 (Justin Richards, Lellig), 14:25. Penalties — Bench minor, UMD (too many players on the ice), 3:37; N. Cates, UMD (holding), 4:32; Ty Emberson, UW (holding), 4:32; Turcotte, UW (cross checking), 7:31; Luke Loheit, UMD (interference), 15:25; Bench minor, UW (too many players on the ice), 18:28.
Third period — 4. UW, Dhooghe 1 (Dylan Holloway), 19:24 (en). Penalties — Tyler Inamoto, UW (interference), 4:32.
Shots on goal — UMD 6-14-12—32; UW 6-10-5—21. Goalies — Hunter Shepard, UMD (20 shots-18 saves); Daniel Lebedeff, UW (32-31). Power plays — UMD 0-of-5; UW 1-of-4. Penalties — UMD 5-10; UW 6-12. Referees — Colin Kronforst, Barry Pochmara. Linesmen — Nicholas Bradshaw, Robert Shintani. Att. — 13,296.