Bulldogs tie Gophers in men's hockey

MINNEAPOLIS -- The first half of the season, ending with a rare Sunday afternoon game, could mean only one thing for No. 2-ranked Minnesota Duluth -- overtime.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The first half of the season, ending with a rare Sunday afternoon game, could mean only one thing for No. 2-ranked Minnesota Duluth -- overtime.

The Bulldogs settled for a 2-2 tie with Minnesota in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association men's game at Mariucci Arena. The game was delayed by one day because of a Saturday snowstorm in the Twin Cities, and although the crowd was officially listed at 9,837 (just short of capacity), there were no more than 6,000 in the building.

Exactly half of UMD's games, nine, have gone to OT resulting in a 5-1-3 mark. The Bulldogs (12-3-3 overall, 9-3-2 WCHA) held a 2-1 lead after two periods before Gopher winger Jacob Cepis scored early in the third period to create the tie. UMD led in shots on goal 43-36.

"There's no excuses about having a delay between games because it was the same for both teams. But we know we can play better and that's what we're going to focus on as we go into the break," said UMD right winger Mike Seidel, who had a goal. "It's exciting to be halfway through and be high in the (WCHA) standings, and we're going to work on things we need to improve the next couple of weeks. We had our chances, but their goalie (Kent Patterson) was unbelievable for two straight games, and Minnesota played well."

No one was really sure if there would be an effect on the teams after sitting for an extra day. To the best of anyone's recollection, it hadn't happened in recent history to either program. It was about 41 hours between games.


By that time, the largest Twin Cities snowstorm of the past 20 years had dropped about 18 inches in the Minneapolis downtown area. North Dakota played at the same time Sunday at Minnesota State-Mankato in an identical situation.

UMD's players and staff were pretty much confined to their hotel Saturday; getting around by foot just wasn't practical. The snow had been pushed aside under sunny skies and calmer conditions Sunday morning, and the temperature was about 7 degrees outside when the puck was dropped indoors,

"I didn't like our first period. It looked like we had sat around at a hotel," said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. "The way the game went was decided by good goaltending on both sides, good penalty killing and not so good power plays."

UMD junior Kenny Reiter was to start in goal but sprained an ankle in pregame warm-ups. Freshman Aaron Crandall took over and had 34 stops, including a bunch on a Minnesota 5-on-3 third-period power play. Patterson made 41 saves, including some on a UMD five-minute major third-period power play.

Fifth-place Minnesota (9-7-2, 6-6-2) controlled much of the first period with a shots-on-goal advantage of 15-6 and scored first with one second left on a power play. Winger Jake Hansen tipped a Justin Holl drive at the crease with 2:35 to go in the period. UMD countered with 37 seconds remaining as team scoring leader Jack Connolly connected from the left circle, beating Patterson high to the near side for his eighth goal of the season and 36th of his career.

UMD had its own dominant period in the second, outshooting Minnesota 22-5 and scoring the only goal. Seidel came in on the right side 2-on-2 and looked to pass, but instead shot, also to the near side at 8:56. That gave the Bulldogs their only lead of the weekend.

"We wanted to play patient and not get in a run-and-gun with them. At times, we played better tonight than Friday," said Minnesota coach Don Lucia. "We each had our (offensive) looks, so I don't know if either team should feel too bad about a tie."

Cepis got a touch pass at the crease at 5:24 of the third period for his sixth goal of the season. Then Minnesota had 1:43 of a two-man power play, and UMD had five-minutes with an extra man after Minnesota winger Max Gardiner was called for a checking from behind major against Connolly. Neither team scored. Connolly had the best chance in the closing seconds, just missing at the right edge.


Minnesota was on a power play the last 1:32 of overtime but only had four shots on goal during sudden death.

"We were disappointed in our first period, we were lackadaisical. We'll have to improve on that," said UMD captain Mike Montgomery. "Minnesota played well and will surprise some teams the rest of the season."

North Dakota defeated Minnesota State-Mankato 4-2 to take the WCHA lead by two points over UMD and Denver.

UMD's next game is in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game against North Dakota on Dec. 30, which will open Amsoil Arena.

The Bulldogs open 2011 on Jan. 3-4, at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.

Minnesota Duluth 1-1-0-0--2

Minnesota 1-0-1-0--2

First period - 1. Minnesota, Jake Hansen 4 (Justin Holl, Kevin Wehrs), 17:26 (pp); 2. UMD, Jack Connolly 8 (Justin Faulk, Justin Fontaine), 19:23. Penalties - Seth Helgeson, Minnesota (cross-checking), 6:25; J.T. Brown, UMD (tripping), 7:52; Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota (interference), 11:56; Trent Palm, UMD (interference), 15:27.


Second period - 3. UMD, Mike Seidel 4 (Keegan Flaherty), 8:57. Penalties - Mike Hoeffel, Minnesota (high-sticking), :39; Palm, UMD (hooking), 13:36; Hansen, Minnesota (too many men on ice), 14;51; David Grun, UMD (roughing), 15:03; Jay Barriball, Minnesota (cross-checking), 15:03; Nico Sacchetti, Minnesota (hooking), 18:48.

Third period - 4. Minnesota, Jacob Cepis 6 (Nate Condon, Seth Helgeson), 5:24. Penalties - Scott Kishel, UMD (tripping), 8:51; Kyle Schmidt, UMD (hooking), 9:07; Max Gardiner, Minnesota (5-minute checking-from-behind major, 10-minute game misconduct, served by Hansen), 12:56.

Overtime - No scoring. Penalty - Justin Faulk, UMD (high sticking), 3:28.

Shots on goal - UMD 6-22-15-0--43; Minnesota 15-5-12-4--36. Goalies - Aaron Crandall (6-1-1), UMD (36 shots-34 saves); Kent Patterson (7-2-2), Minnesota (43 shots-41 saves). Power plays - UMD 0-of-6, Minnesota 1-of-6. Referees - Derek Shepherd, Marco Hunt. Linesmen - Tony Czech, Dan Dineen. A - 9,847.

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