Bulldogs win final home opener at the DECC

Travis Oleksuk didn't get any advice before taking a penalty shot Friday night in Minnesota Duluth's home opening men's hockey game at the DECC. UMD's coaches say they just let their shooters shoot, and Oleksuk said he chose one of his two favori...

UMD hockey
UMD won its home opener Friday against Providence.

Travis Oleksuk didn't get any advice before taking a penalty shot Friday night in Minnesota Duluth's home opening men's hockey game at the DECC.

UMD's coaches say they just let their shooters shoot, and Oleksuk said he chose one of his two favorite plays. He came in on Providence goalie Alex Beaudry and scored with 1:57 left in the period to spark the No. 7-ranked Bulldogs to a 5-3 victory before 4,523 fans.

It was UMD's first successful penalty shot since a Junior Lessard goal against Boston College on Oct. 10, 2003 in Lansing, Mich. This one helped keep the Bulldogs unbeaten at 2-0-1.

"I saw an opening stick-side low and when I see an opening, I shoot," said Oleksuk, a junior center and son of former UMD scoring star Bill Oleksuk of Thunder Bay, Ontario. "We were much more upbeat after getting those two goals at the end of the period, and getting the lead, and that momentum carried over to the third period."

Providence College (1-1) of Hockey East was steady throughout, taking a 1-0 lead and getting within 4-3 on Derek Army's goal with 27 seconds to play after Beaudry was pulled for an extra attacker. Mike Connolly's second goal of the game -- shot into an empty net with three seconds to go -- clinched the victory. UMD's Kenny Reiter finished with 22 saves.


UMD's three games have been a tie, a one-goal win and a two-goal win.

"You can't give UMD that many shots on the power play and that many special-team goals," said Providence coach Tim Army, a former Friar forward, whose school was at the DECC for the first time since 1997. "Duluth is on top of you quickly here and throw the puck around quickly.

"We generated some chances and I liked our compete level, but Duluth is a good team."

UMD had two power-play goals, another just 11 seconds after a power play, the penalty shot and the empty-netter. Oleksuk had a goal and two assists, scoring leader Justin Fontaine had a goal and an assist, defenseman Brady Lamb had two assists, freshman winger J.T. Brown (on Oleksuk's line) added his first collegiate goal and Mike Connolly added an assist to his two goals.

Senior center Kyle Mac-Kinnon had two goals for Providence, picked to finish last in Hockey East. The Friars had plane problems and didn't arrive in Duluth until 7:45 p.m. Thursday and

didn't practice. They and the Bulldogs faced a slushy rink on a warm night Friday.

The teams exchanged the first four goals before Mike Connolly tipped a Justin Faulk shot on a power play with 7:32 left in the second period. And Oleksuk followed with the penalty shot after being pulled down by Providence freshman defenseman Mark Adams. The Bulldogs led 4-2 after two and finished with a 39-25 shots-on-goal advantage.

"It was a good game because we showed some battle and some grit. But we need to push, push, push all the time," Mike Connolly said.


The final home opener in the 45-year-old DECC wasn't easy for the Bulldogs and coach Scott Sandelin says he sees room for improvement.

"We gave Providence too much room for a lot of the game, and we gave the puck away too much," said Sandelin. "Our effort was decent, but we need to take care of the puck better."

Providence College 1-1-1--3

Minnesota Duluth 1-3-1--5

First period -- 1. Providence, Kyle MacKinnon 1, 18:11; 2. UMD, Justin Fontaine 3 (Jack Connolly, Mike Connolly), 19:25 (pp). Penalties -- Mike Connolly, UMD (checking from behind), 4:22; Chris Rooney, Providence (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:09; Mike Seidel, UMD (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:09; Kevin Hart, Providence (hooking), 7:52; Andy Balysky, Providence (slashing), 18:27.

Second period -- 3. UMD, J.T. Brown 1 (Travis Oleksuk, Brady Lamb), 6:00; 4. Providence, MacKinnon 2 (Daniel New, Tim Schaller), 7:32 (pp); 5. UMD, M. Connolly 2 (Justin Faulk, Lamb), 12:28 (pp); 6. UMD, Oleksuk 1, 18:03 (penalty shot). Penalties -- Rooney, Providence (slashing), 3:49; Drew Olson, UMD (tripping), 7:07; Derek Army, Providence (elbowing), 12:05: Olson, UMD (roughing), 15;39; Army, Providence (cross-checking), 15:39; Brown, UMD (boarding), 17:32; Mark Adams, Providence (hooking), 18:03.

Third period -- 7. Providence, Derek Army 1 (O'Connor), 19:33 (ea); 8. UMD, M. Connolly 3 (Fontaine, Oleksuk), 19:57 (en). Penalties -- Kevin Hart, Providence (hooking), 1:02; Rooney, Providence (high sticking), 8:57; Dylan Olsen, UMD (double-minor roughing), 12:20; MacKinnon, Providence (double-minor roughing), 12:20; O'Connor, Providence (goalie interference), 12:20; Lamb, UMD (elbowing), 15:00.

Shots on goal -- Providence 6-13-6--25, UMD 10-15-14--39. Goalies -- Alex Beaudry (1-1), Providence (39 shots-34 saves); Kenny Reiter (2-0-1), UMD (25 shots-22 saves). Power plays -- Providence 1-of-5, UMD 2-of-7. Referees -- Max Battimo, Brian Thul. Linesmen -- Chris Perrault, Jeff Schultz. A -- 4,523.

What To Read Next
Get Local