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UMD men's hockey: Denver uses big second period to beat Bulldogs 5-3

The Pioneers score three in the second period while UMD is unable to capitalize on an early major power play.

Minnesota Duluth’s Tanner Laderoute (13) passes the puck out of the corner past Denver’s Justin Lee (32) in the first period of the Bulldogs’ 5-0 loss to Denver at Amsoil Arena on Friday evening, Dec. 10, 2021.
Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram

DENVER — Third-ranked and league-leading Denver used a three-goal second period to pull away from No. 6 Minnesota Duluth for a 5-3 win in NCHC play Friday at Magness Arena.

Game 2 of the weekend conference series is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday in Denver.

"They came out hard and we didn't match that intensity," Bulldogs senior wing Tanner Laderoute said. "We came out a little bit more flat than we needed to. Just not the level of intensity to keep it a close game with them"

Pioneers senior center Brett Stapley received a major penalty for kneeing Laderoute 2:12 into the second period, but instead of breaking the game open in their favor, UMD’s extended power play was paused for two minutes just 72 seconds in after Laderoute was called for hooking. UMD then failed to convert on the final 1:48 of the major.

Meanwhile, Denver did convert on its chances in the second.


The Pioneers went on the power play 9:22 into the period, and sophomore defenseman Mike Benning scored nine seconds in. Shortly after, senior captain Cole Guttman scored a tic-tac-toe 4-on-4 goal and sophomore wing McKade Webster recorded the Pioneers' lone 5-on-5 goal of the night at 16:58 to put the Denver up 4-1.

Fifth-year senior center Casey Gilling — by knocking down and than knocking in a blast by sophomore defenseman Darian Gotz of Hermantown — got one of those goals back to pull UMD within two with 50.5 left before the second intermission.

UMD sophomore wing Blake Biondi said that should have been a chance for UMD to regain the momentum.

"That was huge," Biondi said. "That was a big goal by Gilling. (Luke) Loheit made that play happen going hard to the net, and then Gotz made a good play getting the puck back to the net. I thought that was big for us."

The Bulldogs failed to build on Gilling’s late goal, however, as they didn't register a shot on goal until freshman defenseman Owen Gallatin put a puck in off of Laderoute in the final minute. The Pioneers had already scored an empty-netter by then, though.

"I liked our effort at the end, we didn't quit," Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said. "Tanner was a guy on our team I was really proud of. I thought he played hard and I thought he brings it every shift. We need more guys like that."

A Bulldogs power play midway through the first period resulted in two goals — a shorty for Pioneers freshman Carter King after a Bulldogs blunder in their own zone and a power play rocket down the pipe by sophomore wing Blake Biondi of Hermantown.

"When you play this type of team, you can't give them easy goals," Sandelin said. "The first goal was an easy goal. We talked about their pressure up the rink, and we miscue and they end up in the back of the net. We gave them an easy goal on the 4-on-4. Now they made some great plays, because that's what they do, but we can't give them that much."


The Bulldogs are without two key pieces at forward this weekend in Denver, but they did get a depth player back for the fourth line.

Sophomore wing Luke Mylymok made his 2021-22 debut Friday in Denver after missing the first 27 games of the season with an injury.

He appeared in 12 games a year ago, posting two goals and two assists, including the game-winning goal in the five-overtime NCAA regional final win over North Dakota in Fargo. His last game was the NCAA Frozen Four semifinal loss to Massachusetts on April 8, 2021.

Junior forward Ben Almquist — who has alternated between center and wing during his time at UMD — took the spot of injured freshman center Dominic James in UMD’s lineup centering junior wing Quinn Olson and sophomore wing Blake Biondi.

James went down with an upper-body injury Tuesday in the third period of a 2-2 overtime tie and shootout loss at St. Cloud State and isn’t expected back into the lineup until next weekend’s home series against North Dakota.

Senior captain Noah Cates is also not in Denver this weekend as he continues play with Team USA at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. Cates and the U.S. beat Canada 4-2 on Saturday (Friday night in Duluth) to take control of the top spot in Group A.

Sophomore defenseman Wyatt Kaiser didn't finish Friday's game after taking a hit in the corner early in the third period.

Minnesota Duluth 1-1-1—3


Denver 1-3-1—5

First period

1. DU, Carter King, 11:05 (sh)

2. UMD, Blake Biondi (Quinn Olson, Ben Almquist), 12:07 (pp)

Second period

3. DU, Mike Benning (Shai Buium, Massimo Rizzo), 9:31 (pp)

4. DU, Cole Guttman (Bobby Brink, Mike Benning), 13:02

5. DU, McKade Webster (Cameron Wright, Rizzo), 16:58


6. UMD, Casey Gilling (Darian Gotz, Luke Loheit), 19:11

Third period

7. DU, Bobby Brink (Guttman), 18:34 (en)

8. UMD, Tanner Laderoute (Owen Gallatin, Connor Kelly), 19:12

Saves — Ryan Fanti, UMD, 27; Magnus Chrona, DU, 16.

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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