The behind-the-back glove save by Minnesota Duluth freshman goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo in the second period may be the hot Bulldogs’ topic today outside the Twin Ports on social media, blogs and, if ESPN sees it, SportsCenter as well.
But that’s not what the 5,332 fans at Amsoil Arena left talking about on Friday night. Those unhappy Bulldogs supporters left the rink questioning the major and minor penalties late in the third period that led to Miami scoring the game-winning goal on a 5-on-3 power play for a 3-2 NCHC victory.
“We all know why we lost the game,” Kaskisuo said, “and I just can’t say it.”
Two of the RedHawks’ three goals came on two-man advantages. The first, which resulted from a contact to the head minor on UMD sophomore defenseman Carson Soucy and a slashing minor by freshman defenseman Nick McCormack 57 seconds later, tied the game, 1-1, early in the second period.
The second two-man advantage came during a major penalty and game misconduct on UMD sophomore forward Dominic Toninato of Duluth East for checking from behind with 6:35 to play in regulation. It was the fifth major in five games for UMD - the most penalized team in college hockey - and will go down as the most controversial of the bunch after Toninato pushed a RedHawk - but not violently - to the ice along the boards while standing behind him, not charging into the puck handler.
Two and a half minutes later, UMD sophomore defenseman Brenden Kotyk was called for high-sticking. The Bulldogs almost killed off the minor, but Miami center Sean Kuraly took a pass from defenseman Scott Dornbrock and one-timed his shot past Kaskisuo three seconds before Kotyk was to be released from the box.
“We had a couple big blocked shots on there and that’s what you have to do on the 5-on-3,” UMD sophomore wing and penalty-killer
Karson Kuhlman said. “We work on it quite a bit in practice during the week so it’s nice that we made it that far. Obviously we would have liked to make it the last minute or so.”
The 5-on-3 power-play goal by sophomore wing Blake Coleman at 3:49 of the second period was the first of two game-tying goals for the RedHawks in the second period as the hosts were outshot 18-5. Coleman tipped a shot by Anthony Lewis to knot the game at 1-1 and senior wing Alec Wideman tied the game at 2-2 less than eight minutes before the second intermission by poking a loose puck past Kaskisuo.
“Another team that got two 5-on-3s during the night,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin, who declined to comment on the NCHC officiating. “I’d like to get a couple 5-on-3s. I thought our guys did a good job, but you know, we didn’t do a good enough job and they got the late goal.”
Moments before Miami tied the game for a second time, Kaskisuo robbed senior wing Cody Murphy on a breakaway out of the penalty box. Murphy got Kaskisuo moving from the goalie’s left to right and had him beat, but the freshman from Vantaa, Finland, made a behind-the-back glove save to keep the Bulldogs ahead 2-1.
“Personally, I don’t like that save,” said Kaskisuo, who finished with 35 stops. “That might sound weird. It’s bad movement for me, not following him enough along the way. I just threw the glove in there and this time got lucky.”
Kuhlman gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the first period when he buried a behind-the-goal pass from junior wing Cal Decowski into the back of the Miami net. It was the Esko native’s third goal of the season.
Junior defenseman Andy Welinski, another Greyhound, beat goalie Jay Williams on a power-play in the second period for a 2-1 lead.
“We had a good first period, they had a good second period and the third period was pretty even,” Sandelin said. “Unfortunately they got the lucky break on the 5-on-3 and I thought our guys up until that point did a good job.”
Miami 0-2-1-3 Minnesota Duluth 1-1-0-2 First period - 1. UMD, Karson Kuhlman 3 (Cal Decowski, Nick McCormack), 15:37. Penalties - Sean Kuraly, MU (boarding), 5:31; Austin Farley, UMD (cross checking), 7:57; Brenden Kotyk, UMD (interference), 18:24. Second period - 2. MU, Blake Coleman 4 (Anthony Louis, Austin Czarnik), 3:49 (pp); 3. UMD, Andy Welinski 2 (Jared Thomas, Kasimir Kaskisuo), 6:24 (pp); 4. MU, Alex Wideman 3 (Riley Barber, Matthew Caito), 12:04. Penalties - Carson Soucy, UMD (contact to the head, roughing, 2:29; Nick McCormack, UMD (slashing), 3:26; Chris Joyaux, MU (holding), 6:00; Cody Murphy, MU (slashing), 6:53; Scott Dornbrock, MU (holding), 16:56; Cal Decowski, UMD (interference), 17:47. Third period - 5. MU, Sean Kuraly 5 (Scott Dornbrock), 18:01 (pp). Penalties - Justin Crandall, UMD (hooking), 4:11; Justin Greenberg, MU (hooking), 10:21; Mathhew Caito, MU (high sticking), 12:40; Dominic Toninato, UMD (checking from behind major, game misconduct), 13:25; Brenden Kotyk, UMD (high sticking), 16:03. Shots on goal - UMD 13-5-10-28; Miami 6-18-14-38. Goalies - Kasimir Kaskisuo, UMD (38 shots-35 saves); Jay Williams, MU (28-26). Power plays - UMD 1-of-6; Miami 2-of-8. Referees - Dan Dreger, Derek Shepherd. Linesmen - Andy Dokken, Justin Hills. A - 5,332.