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College men's hockey: Michigan Tech denies UMD Ice Breaker title

Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com Minnesota Duluth’s Riley Tufte brings the puck around behind Michigan Tech’s goal during the second period of Saturday’s game at Amsoil Arena. Michigan Tech won 4-3 to claim the Ice Breaker Tournament title.

Prior to the season, Minnesota Duluth’s veteran leaders said the toughest thing to get across to the program’s 10 freshmen would be the importance of every shift and every game at the NCAA level.

The season-opening Ice Breaker Tournament may have made the veterans’ point.

The Bulldogs followed up Friday’s dramatic 4-3 overtime victory over Minnesota with a 4-3 loss to Michigan Tech in Saturday’s tournament championship at Amsoil Arena.

In front of a crowd of 5,880, the Bulldogs jumped to a 2-0 lead, but the Huskies scored on their first three power-play chances and on four of their first nine shots.

“You have to come off those types of games, whether it’s a Friday night, if it’s a big win, you have to learn to win two in a row when you’re in that position,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. “This weekend we didn’t do it. If we’re going to learn one lesson, it’s hard to win two games in a row.”

Tech (2-1) took a 4-3 lead into the third period after getting goals from Gavin Gould and Justin Misiak. UMD freshman defenseman Scott Perunovich of Hibbing briefly tied the game at 3-3 in the second with his first collegiate goal.

The Bulldogs (1-1) jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first on goals by sophomores Riley Tufte and Nick Wolff, but the Huskies tied the game with a pair of power-play goals 62 seconds apart in the latter half of the period.

“It’s a reminder for everybody whether it’s our league or any of the nonconference games like this one, it’s tough to win two games in a row against any team, in any building.” UMD senior forward and captain Karson Kuhlman said. “That’s a good reminder for us that even though you have an emotional win Friday like yesterday was, you still have to come back and do it again Saturday.”

The Bulldogs often pointed to the North Star College Cup at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul last season as a crucial weekend during the team’s run to the NCAA Frozen Four in Chicago. They beat the Gophers in a tight one-goal game in the semifinals, then needed overtime to topple St. Cloud State.

It was the weekend many players said taught the team what it took to go out and win a championship — no matter the size.

The Bulldogs played in four tournaments last season, winning the North Star, the NCHC Frozen Faceoff in Minneapolis and NCAA West Regional in Fargo, N.D., before falling in the national championship game to Denver at the Frozen Four in Chicago.

The loss to the Pioneers was UMD’s lone loss in eight tournament games a year ago. Of those eight, seven were decided by one goal, three went to overtime and two more saw the game-winning goal scored in the final minute of the third period.

Two of the three overtime wins came during the West Regional while last-minute goals were needed for UMD to win the Frozen Faceoff and advance to the NCAA title game.

Sophomore forward Joey Anderson, who scored the game-winner in the Frozen Faceoff, said tournaments teach a team how to close games out.

“In a tournament, (opponents) are going to be making pushes late and you have to find ways to win,” Joey Anderson said after Friday’s win. “The North Star Cup last year and even (Friday), you just find ways and battle. That’s something we’re hopefully going to continue to learn.”

Joey Anderson said it can be difficult to come back from an emotional semifinal win and then get refocused to play in a championship the next day. It’s an important mental skill he said he hopes his teammates were able to grasp this weekend.

Junior forward and assistant captain Parker Mackay — Friday’s hero — echoed Anderson’s sentiments about what can be learned from the Ice Breaker. Mackay said these lessons also can be applied to a regular-season series.

“Saturday nights are huge,” Mackay said after scoring the game-winner in OT on Friday. “You’re trying to sweep all the time and do the best you can. You can’t just focus on one win. We got to turn the page and look for the same start (Saturday) and bring the whole 60 minutes we did (Friday).”

  • Senior forward Avery Peterson was a late scratch after leaving warmups early. Sandelin said it was a coach’s decision and not injury related.
  • Freshman defenseman Dylan Samberg was ejected for a contact-to-the-head penalty late in the third, forcing UMD to finish the game killing a major penalty.
  • Former Minnesota Duluth and Michigan Tech head coach Mike Sertich presented the Ice Breaker championship trophy to the Huskies after the game.
Minnesota 2, Union 0

The Gophers (1-1) picked up both of their goals in the second period to take third place over the Dutchmen (0-3).

Freshman forward Casey Mittelstadt, the 2017 Minnesota Mr. Hockey from Eden Prairie and eighth overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2017 NHL Draft, picked up his first collegiate goal 3:43 into the second period.

Sophomore forward Rem Pitlick had the other goal while goalie Eric Schierhorn made 26 saves.

Union’s Ryan Scarfo was ejected in the second period for checking from behind and Minnesota’s Ryan Lindgren was tossed for contact to the head in the third.

Michigan Tech 2-2-0—4

Minn. Duluth 2-1-0—3

First period — 1. UMD, Riley Tufte 2 (Nick Swaney, Justin Richards), 0:39; 2. UMD, Nick Wolff 1 (Jade Miller, Billy Exell), 8:32; 3. MTU, Mark Auk 2 (Mitch Reinke, Jake Lucchini), 11:47 (pp); 4. Raymond Brice 1, 12:49. Penalties — Justin Misiak, MTU (holding), 5:02; Dylan Samberg, UMD (holding), 10:28; Peter Krieger, UMD (tripping), 10:57; Alex Smith, MTU (interference), 19:31.

Second period — 5. MTU, Gavin Gould 1 (Lucchini, Reinke), 6:58 (pp); 6. UMD, Scott Perunovich 1 (Peter Krieger, Jarod Hilderman), 8:29 (pp); 7. MTU, Misiak 1 (Alex Smith, Keegan Ford), 10:14. Penalties — Nick Wolff, UMD (hooking), 5:31; Misiak, MTU (holding), 7:25.

Third period — No scoring. Penalties — Bench minor, UMD (too many players on the ice), 2:28; Justin Reitmeier, MTU (interference), 4:44; Karson Kuhlman, UMD (hooking), 7:01; Dylan Samberg, UMD (slashing), 13:58; Samberg, UMD (contact to head major and game misconduct), 16:11.

Shots on goal — MTU 4-7-6—17; UMD 15-11-10—36. Goalies — Patrick Munson, MTU (36 shots-33 saves); Nick Deery, UMD (17-13). Power plays — MTU 3-of-7; UMD 1-of-4. Referees — Geno Binda, Brad Shepherd. Linesmen — Andy Dokken, Brandon Schmitt. Att. — 5,880.

Matt Wellens

College hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune covering the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs men's and women's teams, as well as the NCAA Division III programs at St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior.

(218) 723-5317
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