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Bulldogs not ready to play in 'embarassing' 5-0 loss at Colorado College

Minnesota Duluth gave up four goals in the first period of its NCHC opener, allowing the Tigers to score twice on the power play and twice off UMD turnovers in the defensive zone.

CC Hockey vs Minnesota Duluth, Nov. 4, 2022
Minnesota Duluth senior goaltender Matthew Thiessen attempts to make a save on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, against Colorado College at Ed Robson Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Contributed / Casey B. Gibson / Colorado College Athletics
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Minnesota Duluth couldn’t have imagined a worse start to NCHC play in 2022-23, giving up four first-period goals en route to a 5-0 loss to Colorado College on Friday at the Tigers’ sold-out Ed Robson Arena.

Playing in the cozy confines of the Tigers' new 3,400-seat on-campus rink for the first time Friday after CC abandoned the spacious Broadmoor World Arena in 2021, UMD surrendered two power play goals in the in the opening 20 minutes while the Tigers scored two more via UMD defensive-zone turnovers.

Asked if his team was ready to play Friday in Colorado Springs, Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin repeatedly said, “No.”

“No, no, right from our goaltender on out. We weren’t. And it’s disappointing,” said Sandelin, whose Bulldogs play the Tigers again at 7 p.m. CT at Robson Arena. “No, we weren’t ready. It was embarrassing and it’s not acceptable.”

CC Hockey vs Minnesota Duluth, Nov. 4, 2022
Minnesota Duluth freshman defenseman Riley Bodnarchuk (19) plays the puck behind the Bulldogs net and UMD senior goaltender Matthew Thiessen while Colorado College senior center Noah Prokop attacks on Friday at Ed Robson Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Contributed / Casey B. Gibson / Colorado College Athletics

UMD starting goaltender Zach Stejskal was replaced by senior Matthew Thiessen after the Tigers took a 4-0 lead 14:31 into the game. Stejskal, a junior from Cohasset, made five saves on nine shots. Thiessen finished with 17 saves on 18 shots.

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Bulldogs junior defenseman Wyatt Kaiser, the reigning NCHC Defenseman of the Week, agreed with his coach that the team wasn’t ready to play Friday, himself included. It was a performance that can’t be blamed on a bad week of practice, the altitude, long travel day Thursday or anything else.

The team can’t come out like it did on Friday, Kaiser said.

“We're done talking? I mean, at least that's my message,” Kaiser said. “No more needs to be said from the staff down. We know what we need to do. Something's got to collect eventually that we need to do it. I don't know how many more losses it takes, or what it's going to take for this team to get going, but we're gonna keep trying. I can tell you that.”

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Junior wing Hunter McKown scored the first Tigers goal 4:31 into the game on the power play. The next two goals were both by sophomore center Stanley Cooley — one via turnover, the other on the power play.

Freshman center Noah Laba, a 2022 fourth-round NHL draft pick of the New York Rangers, scored goals off UMD turnovers late in the first period and late in the second to further extend the Tigers’ lead.

“We came out completely flat. We weren't prepared and yeah, we got embarrassed,” said UMD fifth-year senior wing and captain Tanner Laderoute. “I will shoulder a lot of that blame. One of the big, important parts of my job is to make sure that guys are prepared and that obviously was not the case. I’m definitely going to go back to the drawing table and make sure that I, myself, do better so that I can make sure everyone else is much more prepared.”

It was the Bulldogs who were given an early opportunity to take control of the game when Kaiser drew a tripping penalty in the UMD zone just 55 seconds into the game. The Bulldogs failed to score on that advantage, nor did they convert on their other power play chances in the first period, going 0-for-3.

UMD also came up empty on a 57-second 5-on-3 advantage late in the third period. The Bulldogs also killed off a two-minute 5-on-3 advantage for Colorado College in the closing minutes.

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“Right now our special teams is hurting us,” Sandelin said. “It certainly hurt us tonight.”

The Tigers struck on their first two chances — needing just 16 seconds for McKown to score on the first power play of the night — as they finished the night 2-for-5 on the power play.

Colorado College also moved to 4-0 at Robson Arena this season, outscoring its opponents (Alaska-Anchorage, Air Force and now UMD) 23-3.

“It's really frustrating to see some of the efforts and lack of efforts, the softness,” Sandelin said. “We weren't a hard team at all to play against. When you play like that, you're going to get beat and we got probably what we deserved, because we weren't ready to play.”

Matt’s Three Stars

3. CC freshman center Noah Laba — Used two Bulldogs turnovers to bury the Bulldogs with a pair of late-period goals.

2. CC sophomore center Stanley Cooley — Scored two goals within 2:28 of each other in the first, one off a turnover and another on the power play.

1. CC freshman goaltender Kaidan Mbereko — Finished with a collegiate-high 34 saves to pick up his first collegiate shutout.

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Box score

Minnesota Duluth 0-0-0—0
Colorado College 4-1-0—5
First period
1. CC, Hunter McKown (Bryan Yoon, Ryan Beck), 4:14 (pp)
2. CC, Stanley Cooley (Tyler Coffey), 7:17
3. CC, Cooley (Matthew Gleason, Nicklas Andrews), 9:45 (pp)
4. CC, Noah Laba, 14:47
Second period
5. CC, Laba (Jack Millar, Tyler Coffey), 15:02
Third period
No scoring
Saves — Zach Stejskal, UMD, 5; Matthew Thiessen, UMD, 17; Kaidan Mbereko, CC, 34.
Power play — UMD 0-5; CC 2-4. Penalty kill — UMD 6-12; CC 6-12.

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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