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UMD men left reeling after back-to-back shutouts at home

How good is Colorado College? The question brought a unanimous response from the Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team after being swept 3-0 Friday and4-0 Saturday at home by the No. 3-ranked Tigers:...

How good is Colorado College? The question brought a unanimous response from the Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team after being swept 3-0 Friday and4-0 Saturday at home by the No. 3-ranked Tigers:

Coach Scott Sandelin: "Of the teams we've seen in the second half of the season, they're the best."

Defenseman Josh Meyers: "They're by far the fastest team we've played. They made the plays and buried their chances."

Goalie Alex Stalock: "Their team speed kept leading to odd-man rushes and breakaways. They're very good."

It was a frustrating, goalless weekend for UMD in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Bulldogs were blanked in consecutive home games for the first time since Nov. 17-18, 1995, when Minnesota won 2-0 and 7-0.

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UMD (12-12-6, 8-11-5 WCHA) dropped from No. 8 in the PairWise Rankings to a tie at No. 12, and from sixth to seventh in the WCHA, one point ahead of eighth-place Minnesota.

Colorado College (23-8-1, 18-5-1) stretched its first-place lead to four points and is 11-2-1 in 2008. The Tigers have defeated UMD in all four meetings this season -- 5-3,3-0, 3-0 and 4-0 -- a combined 15-3.

Tigers star freshman goalie Richard Bachman, ranked first in Division I for save percentage (.935) and goals-against average (1.71), gained an amazing third straight shutout against UMD -- a streak of 197 minutes, 46 seconds over four games total. It marked the first road series double shutout in Colorado College's 70 years.

UMD outshot the Tigers 60-56 for the series.

"We had some momentum in each game, and the shots were even for both games," Meyers said. "The difference is Colorado College scored on its chances.

"It's tough to lose when you put 30 shots on a goalie each night and don't score. Colorado likes a skating game, and I don't think we played in their face enough."

Chad Rau, a junior center from Eden Prairie, Minn., scored two power-play goals Saturday for the Tigers, and Bachman made 29 saves. Senior defenseman Jack Hillen of Minnetonka, Minn., had three assists.

"We played a good methodical team game, and our defensive corps was really good. They defended well and got the puck moving north," Colorado College coach Scott Owens said. "Hillen might be the best defenseman in our league."

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UMD is 0-3-1 its past four home games, scoring just twice in that stretch. The Bulldogs started the season 4-0-3 at the DECC, but are 2-4-2 the past eight games there.

"All weekend we were looking for that goal to give you a little spark, some life, and couldn't find it," Sandelin said. "When you never find it, it zaps you mentally. They're a tough team to play catch-up with, especially with the way their goalie's playing."

UMD remains home Friday and Saturday against No. 4 North Dakota, second in the WCHA. After a nonleague home sweep of Bemidji State, the Fighting Sioux bring a 13-game unbeaten streak (12-0-1) to Duluth, the longest in Division I.

Colorado College 2-1-1 -- 4

Minnesota Duluth 0-0-0 -- 0

First period -- 1. Colorado College, Eric Walsky 11 (Matt Overman), 8:46; 2. Colorado College, Chad Rau 21 (Jack Hillen, Andreas Vlassopoulos), 16:58 (pp). Penalties -- Mike Curry, UMD (elbowing), 2:36; MacGregor Sharp, UMD (slashing), 15:04; Nate Prosser, Colorado College (roughing), 15:04; Michael Gergen, UMD (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:31.

Second period -- 3. Colorado College, Rau 22 (Hillen, Brian Connelly), 14:15 (pp). Penalties -- Andreas Vlassopoulos, Colorado College (holding), 1:28; Nick Kemp, UMD (slashing), 12:48; Matt McKnight, UMD (high-sticking), 14:44; Hillen, Colorado College (holding), 14:44; Matt Greer, UMD (hooking), 17:09.

Third period -- 4. Colorado College, Jimmy Kilpatrick 13 (Hillen, Prosser), 8:04. Penalties -- Travis Gawryletz, UMD (slashing), 3:12; Chad Huttel, UMD (hooking), 13:42; Connelly, Colorado College (charging), 14:55.

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Shots on goal -- Colorado College 10-6-12--28, UMD 6-9-14--29. Goalies -- Richard Bachman (21-5-1), Colorado College (29 shots-29 saves; Alex Stalock (12-12-6), UMD (28 shots-24 saves). Power plays -- Colorado College 2-6, UMD 0-of-2. Referee -- Don Adam. Assistants -- Jerome Kreiger, Jared Moen. A -- 5,182.

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