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Welcome to Bulldog Insider, where News Tribune reporter Matt Wellens will keep you up-to-date on the University of Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs. Click on a link below to jump to a section:

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Scott Sandelin said Wednesday the absences are due to a combination of injuries and illnesses, but the coach expects to have enough players available this weekend against the Tigers.

Fifth-year senior wing Anneke Linser scores twice and fifth-year senior goaltender Emma Soderberg earns her 15th career shutout.
UMD took a 2-0 lead in the opening 4:33, but needed a late goal from sophomore defenseman Darian Gotz to secure the win.
Former Minnesota Duluth captain Parker Mackay led the Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA championships in 2018 and 2019, being named the tournament's most outstanding player in 2019. Now he's part of a growing group of recent UMD graduates from both the men's and women's programs working as scouts in the NHL.
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Minnesota Duluth freshman wing Ben Steeves has six goals in his first 10 games as a Bulldog, the most goals by a UMD rookie since J.T. Brown had five in his first 10 games of the 2010-11 NCAA championship run.


Highlights and interviews from the UMD Men's and Women's hockey programs. See even more UMD hockey video here.
Linser, Bulldogs ready for Ohio State

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Bell to take part in Games 4 and 5 of USA-Canada Rivalry Series
With the UMD women's program not playing any games between Dec. 11-Jan. 6, Bulldogs fifth-year senior defenseman and captain Ashton Bell is re-joining Team Canada for Games 4 and 5 of the Rivalry Series against the United States. Game 4 is Dec. 15 just outside Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada, while Game 5 is Dec. 19 in Los Angeles. Puck drop is 9 p.m. CST for both games.

Bell is one of 16 Olympic gold medalists from the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing who are taking part along with former Bulldogs defenseman Jocelyne Larocque. It will also be Bell's first time playing alongside another former Bulldog, Elizabeth Giguere, who played at UMD a year ago while Bell was in the Olympics.

The United States, which includes former Bulldogs goalie Maddie Rooney, currently leads the series 3-0 after sweeping three games in November in British Columbia and Seattle.

NLI Watch: Keeping track of future Bulldogs signing on for 2023-24 season
College hockey recruits are now eligible to sign their National Letter of Intent for the 2023-24 season, which locks in their commitment to play for the Bulldogs.

Once a brief window in November, the NLI signing period now remains open through the summer for the following school year.

Here's a look at who has signed NLIs so far for the men's and women's programs. Expect there to be more women's signings initially, as Scott Sandelin will need more time to see who is and isn't going pro after this season. Both Sandelin and Maura Crowell must also take into account players they want to bring back for a fifth season. The current junior and senior classes at UMD still have the extra year of eligibility from the pandemic.

Men's NLIs signed for 2023-24:Anthony Menghini, F, Fargo Force (USHL); Zam Plante, F, Chicago Steel (USHL).

Women's NLIs signed for 2023-24: Grace Sadura, F, Minnetonka (MSHSL); Eve Gascon, G, Saint-Laurent Patriotes (QCHL); Quinn Dunkle, North American Hockey Academy (JWHL).

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UMD women are hopeful to have Gabbie Hughes back for home series against Harvard while Dominic James is listed as probable for the Bulldogs' men's series at Western Michigan.
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The Bulldogs' run of being ranked in 154 consecutive polls was the longest active streak in NCAA Division I men's hockey.
Ben Steeves picked up his fifth and sixth goals of the season while Quinn Olson scored in overtime to give UMD the win over Omaha at Amsoil Arena.
Fifth-year senior defenseman Maggie Flaherty scored two goals and freshman goaltender Hailey MacLeod made 18 saves in Minnesota Duluth's 5-1 victory over the Huskies.
Minnesota Duluth was put on the penalty kill for a good chunk of the third period in the series opener Friday, and the Mavericks took advantage by scoring two power play goals to rally for a 3-2 win. UMD and UNO meet again at 6:07 p.m. Saturday at Amsoil Arena.
No. 7/8 Bulldogs score twice in the first period on way to 2-0 win. Hughes, a Patty Kazmaier top-three finalist last season, was injured in the first period.

UMD Bulldogs hockey tweets by Matt Wellens