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NCHC hands down another suspension to UMD, giving Howard two games for cross-check

Minnesota Duluth freshman wing Isaac Howard received a two-game suspenion for his cross-checking major penalty on Saturday against Wisconsin. He's the second Bulldog to receive a suspension from that series. UMD junior defenseman Wyatt Kaiser was suspended for Saturday's game after taking a high-sticking major penalty on Friday.

College hockey players play game in indoor arena
Minnesota Duluth forward Isaac Howard (3) skates with the puck against Arizona State at Amsoil Arena on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — Minnesota Duluth will be without freshman wing Isaac Howard this weekend when the No. 19 Bulldogs host No. 20 Cornell at 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Howard has been suspended two games by the NCHC for his cross-checking major on Saturday against Wisconsin.

He’s the second Bulldog in four days to receive a suspension from the NCHC following a major penalty, joining UMD junior defenseman Wyatt Kaiser .

“A lot of guys, we need to work on controlling our emotions,” Bulldogs senior wing and assistant captain Quinn Olson said Saturday when asked about the team’s discipline against Wisconsin. “Even if you have a bad shift, you can’t go out there and retaliate. You never know what you’re going to get with the refs. Just stay calm, level headed and just play your game. We can’t afford those mistakes.”

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.
Minnesota Duluth junior defenseman Wyatt Kaiser received a one-game suspension for his high-sticking major penalty during the third period of Friday's game.
Wisconsin wins its first game in five tries this season as it returns to Duluth for the first time since 2012.

A 2022 first round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Howard has a goal and an assist in his first six games with the Bulldogs. He had just two minor penalties prior to Saturday’s major and game misconduct.

Howard was ejected from Saturday’s 3-0 loss after a quick video review 7:23 into the second period. The Bulldogs were on the power play at the time and Wisconsin had cleared the puck to the UMD end. That’s when Howard cross checked Badgers sophomore defenseman Corson Ceulemans in the head at the opposite blue line, well away from the play.


It was the second costly penalty by UMD in the second period Saturday after freshman defenseman Riley Bodnarchuk took a retaliatory roughing penalty that led to a Badgers power play goal and two-goal deficit for UMD.

Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said controlling and managing emotions was a main focus going into Saturday’s rematch with Wisconsin, and his team failed to do that in the second period.

“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 Saturday. “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 (Saturday) was addressed and hopefully we won't see that again, because it won't bode well if we do.”

Kaiser was suspended by the NCHC for Saturday’s game for his high-sticking major penalty and game misconduct 3:48 into the third period of a 5-2 loss to the Badgers on Friday at Amsoil Arena .

Kaiser, who is eligible to for this weekend’s series against Cornell, was initially assessed a minor penalty on the play as he and Wisconsin fifth-year senior Jack Gorniak chased a puck past the UMD net into the corner. As the two players approached the wall, Kaiser spun with his stick in the air. The blade of his stick struck Gorniak in the face.

Wisconsin coach Tony Granato challenged the call of a minor penalty on the ice, saying it should have been a major penalty. He won the challenge after a lengthy video review.

Kaiser’s ejection Friday came with the Bulldogs trailing 3-2 and Wisconsin was able to make it 4-2 thanks to a power play goal during the Kaiser major. On Saturday, UMD was already down 2-0 when Howard was ejected in the second. The Bulldogs were able to kill off his major, but they were unable to gain any momentum from the kill.

“You can’t put your team in a tough spot,” Sandelin said Saturday. “(Friday) night was a one-goal hockey game. Regardless of how it happened, it happened. We lose one of our best players, plus for another game that we wanted to put ourselves in a position to win. (Saturday) we lose another good player for half the game when we’re down two goals. Hopefully guys learn from that.”


The Bulldogs have lost four straight games and are now 2-4 on the season following a home sweep of Arizona State to open the season Oct. 1-2. They tumbled from No. 10 to No. 19 in this week’s USCHO.com poll after starting the season at No. 5 and climbing to No. 4.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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