College men's hockey: Bulldogs make strong push for home ice

The Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team scored seven goals twice during exhibition games this season. Friday night's crucial game against Nebraska-Omaha wasn't an exhibition, but rather an important National Collegiate Hockey Conference game with ...

UMD Bulldogs
UMD Bulldogs logo

The Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team scored seven goals twice during exhibition games this season.

Friday night's crucial game against Nebraska-Omaha wasn't an exhibition, but rather an important National Collegiate Hockey Conference game with home-ice playoff implications.

The Bulldogs only treated Omaha like an exhibition opponent, winning 8-2 before 6,501 spectators at Amsoil Arena.

Tony Cameranesi and Justin Crandall each scored two goals -- Crandall netting one with nine minutes to play after the Mavericks pulled their goaltender -- and Dom Toninato scored UMD's first short-handed goal at Amsoil Arena since the $80 million facility opened in December 2010.

Freshman Kyle Osterberg added a goal and two assists as UMD (16-13-4 overall, 11-10-2-2 NCHC) moved within two points of third-place Omaha (15-15-2, 12-8-2-1) in the conference standings and closer to clinching home-ice advantage for next week's playoffs. Another win tonight would clinch third place.


"Once we had a couple go in, we told ourselves, 'Don't let up off the gas pedal, keep going,' " Osterberg said. "And that's what seemed to happen."

Cameranesi started UMD off on the right skate by scoring the first two goals of the game and his first in a 10-game span. The sophomore center plucked a Willie Raskob rebound in front of the net and slipped it in at 6:17 of the first period. He later ripped a shot from the high slot for a 5-on-3 power-play goal at 9:50.

"I haven't been able to put them away like I would have hoped," said Cameranesi, who has six goals on a team-high 101 shots this season. "I felt I've had enough shots and made some plays -- I had a couple assists during that time -- but I have to keep playing hard and I have two great linemates (Osterberg and Crandall) to help me out."

Crandall notched an assist on the first goal and Osterberg had one on the second.

"(Cameranesi) has been in a little bit of a drought so it was nice to see him score," Osterberg said. "I think it's just going to keep on rolling for him because he's such a good player."

UMD coach Scott Sandelin was pleased with the Bulldogs' intensity to start the game.

"It was good to get the first goal and never relinquish the lead," he said. "We've had a good start the last three games."

The Mavericks had their own 5-on-3 later in the period and Dominic Zombo scored his 15th goal of the season at 16:22 to halve the deficit.


UMD, which owned an 18-5 shots-on-goal advantage in the opening 20 minutes, continued the pressure in the first minute of the second as Caleb Herbert backhanded in a rebound of a Cal Decowski shot to make it 3-1. It was Herbert's 12th of the season and increased his team-high point total to 29.

Toninato, a freshman from Duluth East, then recorded an Amsoil first when he took a long pass from Alex Iafallo and beat Ryan Massa with a backhand that was ruled as having crossed the goal line at 10:11.

"There's a first for everything -- it only took three years, but that's OK," Sandelin said of the short-handed history.

The Mavericks responded with Michael Young's power-play goal on a wrist shot from the blue line 11:16 into the second.

The power-play goalfest continued with Osterberg scoring his team-high 14th goal -- 11 have come in victories -- 3:35 into the third when he one-timed a Carson Soucy cross-ice pass from the right faceoff circle, forcing Massa out of the game.

That's when the game crossed over into the bizarre. Josh Archibald, the NCHC's leading scorer, was given a game misconduct for distributing an elbow to the head of a Bulldogs player. Moments after Osterberg was given a slashing penalty, Omaha coach Dean Blais pulled backup goalie Reed Peters. Crandall cashed in with a shot from just inside the red line for a 6-2 lead.

Blais, an International Falls native who coached with Sandelin at North Dakota, wouldn't comment afterward.

Cal Decowski and Crandall closed the scoring with goals 23 seconds apart to give UMD its largest margin of victory since a 6-0 win over Omaha to close the regular season last year.


r Mike Connolly scored UMD's last short-handed goal in the finale at the DECC in December 2010.

r UMD improved to 13-0-3 this season when taking a lead into the third period.

r Eighth-grader Mikey Anderson announced via Twitter on Friday that he has joined his brother, Joey, in committing to UMD. Both Andersons play at Hill-Murray High School. Mikey Anderson is a highly regarded defenseman who is scheduled to graduate in 2018, while his brother is a freshman forward. Joey Anderson committed last May as a 14-year-old. The Andersons' grandfather, Tom, briefly played hockey at UMD before it was a Division I sport, and their father, Gerry, graduated from Duluth Denfeld High School and St. Scholastica.

Nebraska-Omaha 1-1-0--2

Minnesota Duluth 2-2-4--8

First period -- 1. UMD, Tony Cameranesi 5 (Willie Raskob, Justin Crandall), 6:17; 2. UMD, Cameranesi 6 (Kyle Osterberg, Andy Welinski), 9:50 (5-on-3 pp); 3. UNO, Dominic Zombo 15 (Ian Brady, Jake Guentzel), 16:22 (5-on-3 pp). Penalties -- Nick Seeler, UNO (roughing), 4:01; Caleb Herbert, UMD (roughing), 4:01; Brock Montpetit, UNO (hooking), 7:53; Seeler, UNO (hooking), 8:38; Raskob, UMD (hooking), 14:59; Dom Toninato, UMD (cross-checking), 16:07; Guentzel, UNO (holding), 18:22; Raskob, UMD (slashing), 20:00; Zombo, UNO (slashing), 20:00.

Second period -- 4. UMD, Herbert 12 (Cal Decowski), 0:54; 5. UMD, Toninato 7 (Alex Iafallo), 10:11 (sh); 6. UNO, Michael Young 2 (Guentzel, Brady), 11:16 (pp). Penalties -- Adam Krause, UMD (elbowing), 9:18.

Third period -- 7. UMD, Osterberg 14 (Carson Soucy, Andy Welinski), 3:35; 8. UMD, J. Crandall 12, 11:00; 9. UMD, Decowski 4 (Joe Basaraba, Herbert), 16:04 (pp); 10. UMD, J. Crandall 13 (Osterberg), 16:27. Penalties -- Johnnie Searfoss, UNO (roughing), 3:29; Herbert, UMD (roughing), 3:29; Josh Archibald, UNO (5-minute major elbowing, game misconduct), 9:15; Osterberg, UMD (slashing), 10:41; Matt Youso, UNO (hooking), 14:27; Zombo, UNO (slashing), 18:07; Alex Simonson, UNO (elbowing), 18:07; Max Tardy, UMD (roughing), 18:07.


Shots on goal -- Nebraska-Omaha 5-8-11--24; UMD 18-8-11--37. Goalies -- Ryan Massa, UNO (28 shots-23 saves); Reed Peters, UNO (8-6); Aaron Crandall, UMD (24-22). Power plays -- Nebraska-Omaha 2-of-3; UMD 2-of-6. Referees -- Nick Krebsbach, Timm Walsh. Linesmen -- Nick Bradshaw, Sam Shikowsky. Att. -- 6,501.

What To Read Next
Get Local