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UMD men's hockey: Bulldogs lose third straight, dropped 5-0 by Denver

UMD hosts Denver again at 7:07 p.m. Saturday in the last Bulldogs home hockey game of the 2021 calendar year at Amsoil Arena.

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The puck gets past Minnesota Duluth goalie Ryan Fanti (39) as defenseman Own Gallatin (20) looks on in the second period of the Bulldogs’ 5-0 loss to Denver at Amsoil Arena Friday evening, Dec. 10, 2021, in Duluth. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

A rematch of the tightly contested 2017 NCAA championship game at United Center in Chicago it was not Friday, as Denver routed Minnesota Duluth 5-0 in NCHC play before a crowd of 5,492 at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

The Pioneers — 3-2 winners in the Windy City in 2017 before the Bulldogs went back-to-back in 2018 and 2019 — scored two goals in the first and three more in the second en route to their seventh-consecutive win since losing four straight games in late October and early November.

“Adversity is always no fun to go through when you're going through it, and you try and learn as much as you can about yourself,” Denver coach David Carle said. You usually got to sharpen your focus and that's what our group has tried to do, but not lose your confidence through that as well.

“Their staff (at UMD) is a hell of a staff. It's a hell of a hockey team over there. They're a really good team, and we know it's going to be a war tomorrow night.”

Minnesota Duluth’s Dominic James (17) shoots the puck just wide of Denver goalie Magnus Chrona (30) in the first period of the Bulldogs’ 5-0 loss to Denver at Amsoil Arena on Friday evening, Dec. 10, 2021, in Duluth. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram landscape

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UMD — losers of three straight now after getting swept last weekend at Northern Michigan — will look to avoid its first four-game losing streak since October and November of 2015 when it hosts Denver again at 7:07 p.m. Saturday in the last Bulldogs home hockey game of the 2021 calendar year at Amsoil Arena.

The 5-0 defeat was the program’s worst loss at Amsoil Arena since a 5-0 defeat to Western Michigan on Nov. 11, 2017, and fell a goal short of the most lopsided loss ever — an 8-2 defeat on Feb. 11, 2011 against St. Cloud State.

Speaking briefly with the News Tribune after Friday’s loss to the Pioneers, Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said he wasn’t interesting in looking for any bright spots from the game.

“There wasn't a lot of them,” Sandelin said. “Our killers did a good job, right? Give them credit. That was what the only thing. We weren't good at any facet, any facet. They were a better hockey team. We've got to be a much better team. If not, we're gonna get the same result.”

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 / Superior Telegram

Sophomore defenseman Mike Benning scored twice for Denver while senior wing Ryan Barrow and senior center Cole Guttman each had a goal and an assist. Freshman defenseman Shai Buium also scored for the Pioneers, who got 23 saves from junior goaltender Magnus Chrona for the shutout.

Junior Ryan Fanti returned to the UMD net after missing both games last weekend at Northern Michigan due to COVID-19 protocols. The NCHC and national goaltender of the month for November made 21 saves on 26 shots.

“I thought we were opportunistic,” Carle said. “It's been a while since their goaltender has played and a few got through him that probably don't, normally. Give our guys credit, though. We did have net-front presence and we're able to get there.”

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Fanti was one of three Bulldogs back in the lineup Friday after missing games the last two weeks due to injury and illness. Sophomore defenseman Wyatt Kaiser was back after missing four games and junior wing Luke Loheit returned from a three-game absence. Freshman defenseman Will Francis was also available, but a healthy scratch.

Minnesota Duluth’s Noah Cates (21) moves the puck up the ice in front of Denver’s Mike Benning (20) in the first period of the Bulldogs’ 5-0 loss to Denver at Amsoil Arena on Friday evening, Dec. 10, 2021. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

The only Bulldog to not return Friday from the short-term injury list was fifth-year senior Louie Roehl, who missed his second game due to injury.

No Bulldogs players were available to speak to the media after Friday’s game, as a team meeting was being held.

It was just the coach speaking to the News Tribune, searching for answers.

“We're not doing a lot of the things we need to do to win hockey games,” Sandelin said. “We don't have … I don't want to get into it. We weren't very good tonight. They were good. I don’t want to take anything away from them. They were good hockey team. We've got to be a better team tomorrow.”

Garrison graduates

Minnesota Duluth men's hockey student assistant coach Jason Garrison, a former defenseman for the Bulldogs who went on to play 11 years in the NHL, motions toward the ice after a call during the Bulldogs' game against Western Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Tyler Schank / File / News Tribune

Amsoil Arena announced the graduation of former Bulldogs defenseman and current student-assistant coach Jason Garrison during Friday’s game. This will be his last weekend working with the team.

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Garrison, 37, returned to the Bulldogs in January of 2021 following an 11-year NHL career to complete the kinesiology degree he started during his college playing days from 2005-08.

“When he left here, obviously early, he promised his grandparents that he was going to finish and it took him a lot longer,” Sandelin said. “But it's been great to have them around and great for him. I think it says a lot that he had the courage to still come back and get his degree.”

Garrison left UMD after three seasons, signing with the Florida Panthers as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He played 603 NHL regular season and postseason games with five different teams — the Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers — recording 53 goals and 124 assists.

Denver 2-3-0—5

Minnesota Duluth 0-0-0—0

First period

1. DU, Shai Buium, 8:11

2. DU, Guttman (Carter Mazur, Bobby Brink), 17:32

Second period

3. DU, Mike Benning (Ryan Barrow, Jack Devine), 4:16

4. DU, Ryan Barrow (Brett Stapley), 7:42

5. DU, Benning (Guttman), 16:31

Third period

No scoring.

Saves — Magnus Chrona, DU, 23; Ryan Fanti, UMD, 26.

Power plays — DU 0-4; UMD 0-3. Penalties — DU 5-10; UMD 6-12.

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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