No matter the results, weekend was special for Sandelins

Minnesota State University-Mankato freshman Ryan Sandelin (14) rushed to celebrate with his teammates after assisting on a goal by Josh French in the second period Friday against Minnesota Duluth at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, Minn. Tyler Schank /The Rink Live

By Matt Wellens

DULUTH, Minn. — Back in 2017-18, Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin and his son, Minnesota State-Mankato recruit Ryan Sandelin, made a friendly wager — dinner — over that season’s series between the Mavericks and Bulldogs.

After splitting during the regular season, it all came down to an NCAA Division I West Regional semifinal showdown in Sioux Falls, S.D., in which UMD rallied for a 3-2 overtime win.

Since then, dad has won two national championships, but what he hasn’t gotten is that dinner from his son. Now, Scott Sandelin never will after Ryan Sandelin and the No. 1-ranked Mavericks swept the eighth ranked Bulldogs with a 3-1 win on Saturday and a 4-1 win on Friday and at Amsoil Arena.

The Mavs finished 3-for-4 on the power play Saturday, converting twice on man advantages in the third period to regain control of the contest after UMD junior center Justin Richards tied the game with a power play goal 7:23 into the third.

While disappointed in the results and by the fact that he still won’t be getting that dinner, Scott Sandelin was happy his son had a good weekend back home.

“I’m glad he got an opportunity to play two games,” Scott Sandelin said. “Obviously, he feels pretty good because they won. Hopefully we’ll see them again.”

Ryan Sandelin

Ryan Sandelin, a freshman wing for the Mavs, had the primary assist on a goal Friday to bring his season point total to three. That got him back in the lineup Saturday, marking the first time since the Oct. 18-19 series against North Dakota that Ryan Sandelin played in both halves of a weekend series.

For the younger Sandelin, the highlight of the weekend was not playing both nights, getting a point or even the two wins — as valuable as all that was. The highlight was the brief chat he had with his dad in the handshake line Saturday at Amsoil Arena.

“It was nice just to talk with him for a minute,” Ryan Sandelin said. “I’m not going to see him for awhile, so it’s just nice to see him face-to-face at the end of it all, and all the other guys I played with and against.

“I know on the other side, he’s obviously disappointed. They want to get at least one, if not both, but it was a fun weekend. I’m looking forward to battling with those guys and against them again.”

Minnesota State University-Mankato freshman forward Ryan Sandelin smiles during a practice at Amsoil Arena before a series against Minnesota-Duluth. Sandelin, the son of UMD coach Scott Sandelin, is from Hermantown, Minn. Tyler Schank/The Rink Live

Bulldogs blue line remains battered

After playing four games without him, junior defenseman Dylan Samberg returned from injury to the Bulldogs blue line on Friday night against the Mavericks. But UMD once again found itself down a defenseman less than two minutes into the series.

Nick Wolff

Senior defenseman Nick Wolff suffered an injury early in the game via an awkward shoulder-to-shoulder hit along the end boards. He returned to the ice from the locker room on two brief occasions before heading back a third time and staying there. Wolff was then scratched from the lineup on Saturday.

“We’re short guys right now as it is. Anytime you lose anyone it’s tough,” UMD’s Scott Perunovich said. “Wolffie is our leader, too, our leader on the back end. He brings a lot of energy so it’s nice to have him. He’ll be back, but when one guy goes down, another one has to step up.”

UMD has been down a defenseman since the Oct. 25-26 series against Minnesota when sophomore defenseman Hunter Lellig suffered a leg injury during practice before the series. Then Samberg took a puck to the head the next weekend against Denver, though he played both games against the Pioneers.

The Bulldogs essentially played with a four-man rotation on defense minus Lellig and Samberg, with senior Jarod Hilderman and sophomore Jake Rosenbaum used in limited stints, although their ice time had been increasing.

Should Wolff now be out long term, the Bulldogs blue liners are prepared to do so again this weekend in NCHC play at Nebraska-Omaha if it comes down to it.

“It’s part of the game, we’ve been dealing with it before, we know how to deal with it,” said UMD junior defenseman Louie Roehl. “We just need guys to step up into bigger roles.”

UMD lands Eden Prairie recruit

Eden Prairie High School (Minn.) senior forward Ben Steeves announced via Twitter on Sunday he had committed to the Bulldogs.

Steeves is a native of Bedford, New Hampshire and played in his home state up until last season when he joined the Oakland Junior Grizzlies 16U team in Michigan. The 2019-20 season will be his first of high school hockey in Minnesota.

Steeves did get his first taste of hockey in Minnesota this fall in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, totaling 14 goals and 14 assists in 21 games.

Matt Wellens (@mattwellens) can be reached at mwellens@duluthnews.com or (218) 723-5317.
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