Badgers complete sweep of Bulldogs, who have discipline issues to deal with
Minnesota Duluth, struggling to score at even strength, not only lost the game but had another key player ejected after a major penalty on Saturday.
DULUTH — Minnesota Duluth was swept for the second weekend in a row, following up Friday’s 5-2 loss to Wisconsin with a 3-0 defeat on Saturday in the nonconference series finale at Amsoil Arena.
The Bulldogs trailed 1-0 at the first intermission after Badgers fifth-year senior center Brock Caufield scored just under four minutes into Saturday’s game. UMD was down 2-0 at the second intermission because Wisconsin freshman wing Cruz Lucius put a puck in off the skate of a Bulldog during a power play 3:08 into the second period.
The Badgers, who came to Duluth 0-4, added an empty-net goal in the final 30 seconds as 10th-ranked UMD fell to 2-4 on the season following the season-opening sweep of Arizona State.
“Hey, listen. I can sit here and say we didn’t play great hockey, but Wisconsin played really good hockey,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. “They spread the rink well, they played tenaciously, they got in on the forecheck, they had great numbers and I thought when their goalie needed to make saves, he was there. They played a really good weekend of hockey. So we can sit here and talk about what we didn't do, but sometimes you have to give credit to teams when they play well.”
In six games this season, the Bulldogs have trailed at nine of the 12 intermissions and been behind at the start of the third period in each of the last four games. UMD has been behind in the third period in five of the first six games, coming back just once in the season opener for a 3-2 overtime win over Arizona State.
“Right now we're not sticking to our game plan,” UMD senior wing Quinn Olson said. “(Sandelin has) preached it hundreds of times. We got to get in on the forecheck, and we're not working as a group to do that. That's kind of holding us back.”
The Bulldogs had plenty of chances to spark a comeback Saturday, starting with a two-versus-none shorthanded breakaway by Dominic James and Luke Mylymok in the second period while the Badgers were on a major power play.
UMD went on the power play — where six of its 10 goals have come through six games — two more times on Saturday, they had Badgers goalie Jared Moe flat on his back at one point in the third, and outshot the Badgers 23-16 over the final 40 minutes, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
In six games this year, the Bulldogs have just four even-strength goals. All four came against Arizona State, as the Bulldogs have now gone 13 consecutive periods without an even-strength goal going back to the 15:20 mark of the second period on Oct. 2.
”It's frustrating. No one likes to lose. You hate to lose, but it's early,” Bulldogs junior wing Blake Biondi said. “It's going to take time. We'll stick with it. The coaches aren’t going to let us go any other way but north.”
“We're going to keep doing the right things and we're going to have to work hard. We're going to be forced to work hard and we’re going to get there.”
Already without junior defenseman Wyatt Kaiser — suspended for Friday’s high stick in the third — another key Bulldog got himself ejected on Saturday because of a major stick foul.
Freshman wing Isaac Howard — the first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning this summer — cross-checked Badgers sophomore defenseman Corson Ceulemans in the head behind the play while UMD was on the power play seven-plus minutes into the second period. Howard received a cross-checking major and game misconduct, and will likely face a suspension from the NCHC as Kaiser did.
Howard’s major came a few minutes after freshman defenseman Riley Bodnarchuk was sent to the penalty box for a retaliatory roughing penalty. Sandelin said the officials had warned both teams prior to there would be no more automatic coincidentals after a Bulldog and Badger both went to the penalty box late in the first period.
Controlling and managing emotions was a main focus going into Saturday’s game, Sandelin said, however, his team didn’t do that in the second period on Saturday.
“There was a lot of stuff on the bench that I addressed after the game that we'll never see again, because it will not come in. It will not creep into this,” Sandelin said. “There's always going to be adversity, there's always gonna be frustrating moments, but the best way to deal with that is to put your head down, go to work and play. What I saw tonight was addressed and hopefully we won't see that again, because it won't bode well if we do.”
Matt’s Three Stars
3. UMD senior goaltender Matthew Thiessen — The transfer from Maine made his second start and third appearance at UMD, stopping 25 of the 27 shots he faced.
2. UW senior goaltender Jared Moe — A 35-save shutout for Moe, who finished with 73 saves on 75 shots this weekend.
1. UW fifth-year senior center Brock Caufield — The older brother of Badgers Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Cole Caufield had a goal and an assist Saturday in the Badgers win.
Minnesota Duluth 0-0-0—0
1. UW, Brock Caufield (Mike Vorlicky, Mathieu De St. Phalle), 3:57
2. UW, Cruz Lucius (Corson Ceulemans, Caufield), 3:08 (pp)
3. UW, Jack Gorniak, 19:35 (en)
Saves — Jared Moe, UW, 35; Matthew Thiessen, UMD, 25.
Power plays — UW 1-4; UMD 0-3. Penalties — UW 4-8; UMD 6-23.