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Bettens scores twice, but Bulldogs' road woes continue at North Dakota

UMD coach Scott Sandelin compliments lines anchored by Carter Loney and Cole Spicer after 4-2 loss, but wants more out of another.

NCAA Men's Hockey 2023: MN Duluth v North Dakota JAN 20
Minnesota Duluth senior goaltender Matthew Thiessen dives after the puck against North Dakota on Friday at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Russ Hons / UND Athletics
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. — For the third consecutive game, Minnesota Duluth found itself down by a goal on the road in the third period after spotting the home team a 2-0 lead.

And just like the two conference losses at Omaha a week ago, the Bulldogs failed to close the gap. UMD fell 4-2 to North Dakota in NCHC play on Friday at Ralph Engelstad Arena, dropping its third-straight game on a four-game road trip.

UMD, which has now lost five straight NCHC games, came into the weekend sixth in the league standings with North Dakota a point back in seventh. The Bulldogs — who have given up the first goal in their first five regular season games of 2023 — will try to reclaim the sixth spot when they play one more on the road at 6:07 p.m. Saturday against the Hawks back at The Ralph.

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“We battled back,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. “The third goal hurt, but for the most part I didn't think we played a bad game. We got to capitalize on some opportunities, got to create more opportunities and we didn't do that.”

Junior wing Riese Gaber and fifth-year senior Gavin Hain of Grand Rapids built a 2-0 lead for North Dakota with Gaber scoring on the power play in the first and Hain adding another 12 minutes into the second.

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North Dakota junior center Louis Jamernik put the Bulldogs down 3-1 just 43 seconds into the third while freshman wing Jackson Blake added an empty net goal with 5.1 seconds left to clinch win.

NCAA Men's Hockey 2023: MN Duluth v North Dakota JAN 20
Minnesota Duluth freshman wing Kyle Bettens celebrates after scoring one of his two goals against North Dakota on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Russ Hons / UND Athletics

Freshman wing Kyle Bettens scored both of the Bulldogs’ goals to double his goal total on his rookie season.

Bettens' first goal of the night came 85 seconds after Hain made it 2-0, as Bettens hammered home his own rebound. The second goal pulled UMD back within one with 6:18 left in regulation as Bettens scored clean off a feed by senior wing Quinn Olson on the rush.

“He keeps getting better and better, it’s nice to see him get rewarded,” Sandelin said, who praised the line of Bettens, Olson and sophomore wing Carter Loney. He was also complimentary of his freshman fourth line, made up of Isaac Howard, Luke Johnson and Grand Forks native Cole Spicer.

“I thought we had one line that wasn’t pulling its weight tonight and that’s not good against a team like this,” said Sandelin, who declined to say which of the other two lines that was. “Spicer had two or three chances, (Howard) had one. They created some chances, probably more than another line I’m not going to mention.”

Senior goaltender Matthew Thiessen, a transfer from Maine, got his first start of 2023 on Friday after junior Zach Stejskal got the initial four starts. Thiessen, who last started on Dec. 9 against Denver in Duluth, finished with 18 saves on 21 shots.

The Hawks, whose goaltenders came into the series with an NCAA-worst combined save percentage of .867, turned to fifth-year senior Drew DeRidder on Friday. The former Michigan State goalie made 23 saves on 25 shots.

North Dakota’s struggles in goal this year made shots on net a bigger emphasis than normal for a UMD team that came into the series struggling to score goals itself. Sandelin said his team needed to do a better job of funneling pucks to the crease on Friday, especially at the end when UMD had Thiessen pulled for an extra attacker. The Bulldogs got one shot off in the 75 seconds their net was empty, and the shot was blocked.

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“We want to wait for the perfect shot and we didn’t get it,” Sandelin said. “The next thing you know it gets poked off our stick. Everyone is worried about scoring on every shot. The mentality has got to be to funnel pucks there, get guys there (to the net). Stay in there and battle and try and create second chances, especially at the end when you have an extra guy.”

Matt’s Three Stars

3. ND junior wing Riese Gaber — A scoring threat all night, Gaber gave the Hawks the early 1-0 lead on the power play.

2. UMD freshman wing Kyle Bettens — UMD’s five goals from the last three games have all come from freshmen or sophomores. Bettens’ strikes Friday kept UMD in the game.

1. ND junior center Louis Jamernik V — His score 43 seconds into the third was a gut punch to UMD, which didn’t get back into the game until Bettens struck a second time.

Box score

Minnesota Duluth 0-1-1—2
North Dakota 1-1-2—4
First period
1. ND, Riese Gaber (Ethan Frisch, Chris Jandric), 3:36 (pp)
Second period
2. ND, Gavin Hain (Mark Senden, Judd Cauldfield), 12:01
3. UMD, Kyle Bettens (Derek Daschke), 13:26
Third period
4. ND, Louis Jamernik (Jackson Blake, Ryan Sidorski), 0:43
5. UMD, Bettens (Quinn Olson, Carter Loney), 13:42
6. ND, Jackson Blake, 19:55 (en)
Saves — Matthew Thiessen, UMD, 18; Drew DeRidder, ND, 23.
Power play — UMD 0-2; UND 1-4. Penalties — UMD 5-10; UND 3-6.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA DULUTH BULLDOGS
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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