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College men's hockey: Bulldogs, Omaha skate to 2-2 tie

The first 11 times this season No. 1-ranked Minnesota Duluth took a lead into the second intermission, it skated away victorious. On the 12th, the Bulldogs could only muster a tie. UMD battled

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Dominic Toninato (19) of Minnesota Duluth scores a goal against Ian Brady (24), Tyler Vesel (10) and Evan Weninger (35) of Nebraska-Omaha during the second period of Friday's game at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)
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The first 11 times this season No. 1-ranked Minnesota Duluth took a lead into the second intermission, it skated away victorious.

On the 12th, the Bulldogs could only muster a tie.

UMD battled Nebraska-Omaha to a 2-2 overtime draw in NCHC play on Friday in front of 6,243 fans at Amsoil Arena with the Bulldogs picking up the extra point in the league standings via a first-round shootout win.

The Bulldogs (17-5-5 overall, 11-4-2 NCHC) led 2-1 after 40 minutes, only to give up the game-tying goal to the Mavericks (14-10-5, 7-8-2) 92 seconds into the third period.

"I didn't like that start of our third period at all," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. "We gave up a four-on-four goal that was kind of a weird play. After that we certainly had some chances and played a little bit better in the third period.

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"I liked our overtime, I liked our 3-on-3. We had some chances, but we didn't finish those."

Third periods have been good to the Bulldogs this season. Going into the weekend, UMD was outscoring opponents 27-11 in the third with that margin being 17-8 against NCHC foes. The Bulldogs, who are now 2-0-5 this season in overtime, not only failed to score in the third period Friday, they came up empty in OT and during the NCHC's extra 3-on-3 period.

Senior wing Alex Iafallo finally buried a puck in the first round of the sudden-death shootout - after UMD freshman goaltender Hunter Miska stopped the attempt by Mavs junior wing and Duluth native Jake Randolph - allowing UMD take a two-point lead over idle Denver for first in the NCHC standings.

"We were definitely looking for more," Iafallo said of the two points. "We had a lot of chances. We have to keep getting those (tonight). We got to start off a lot better. We didn't start off well the first period. We got to pick it up (tonight) and hopefully that shootout and huge save by Miska will give us some momentum."

Bulldogs senior captain and center Dominic Toninato of Duluth, who had a number of looks at game-winning goals in overtime, scored in the opening and closing minutes of the second period to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead heading into the third.

Toninato scored 12 seconds into the second on a breakaway for the night's first goal, drawing a slashing penalty en route to the net. Senior defenseman Willie Raskob hit Toninato with a home-run pass up the middle, threading the puck through traffic across both blue lines and the red line to his captain.

Toninato's second goal came on a power play with him standing on the end line with his back to the end boards. He backhanded the puck out of the air and in for his eighth goal of the season.

"First one, we had a designed play we wanted to run off the faceoff," Toninato said breaking down his goals. "It worked out perfect. Willie just made a heck of a pass and I finally put a breakaway in.

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"The second one, we were moving the puck around on the power play, things got a little scrambly so guys were out of place. I saw an opening and took it to the net."

Omaha tied the game at 2-2 with both sides down a skater 92 seconds into the third period after UMD senior defenseman Dan Molenaar took out his own goaltender while attempting to block a shot. That allowed Mavs senior defenseman Ian Brady to get the puck through before Miska could fully recover.

The Mavericks pulled even at 1-1 midway through the second period on a bullet by junior defenseman Luc Snuggerud. It was the Mavericks' seventh power-play goal on 15 chances against UMD this season.

"It was definitely a good game, a good battle. We, obviously, had a good week of practice leading up to it, which gave us an opportunity," said Omaha coach Dean Blais, a native of International Falls. "They came out guns-a-blazing. But I thought we competed hard."

The Bulldogs swept the Mavericks on Nov. 18-19 in Omaha despite the Mavs scoring six power-play goals on 13 chances.

Omaha entered the weekend with the best power play in the NCHC, converting at 24.8 percent. Against NCHC foes, the Mavs were converting at 27.6 percent prior to Friday.

Meanwhile, UMD's penalty kill ranked seventh out of eight teams in the league at 79.5 percent to start the series. Against NCHC competition, the Bulldogs' PK was 80.5 percent, good for seventh.

UMD took just four penalties on Friday, resulting in only two power plays for Omaha.

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"When you give up six power-play goals when you play a team, hopefully you learn," Sandelin said. "We had the first two (power plays) and they did capitalize on one. We didn't get the puck out. We didn't clear it.

"It's going to be critical the rest of the way to be disciplined, not give teams too many power-play opportunities."

Nebraska-Omaha..................... 0-1-1-0-2

Minnesota Duluth.................... 0-2-0-0-2

UMD wins shootout in first round (Alex Iafallo)

First period - No scoring. Penalties - Jared Thomas, UMD (hooking), 16:47; Fredrik Olofsson, UNO (goaltender interference), 16:47; Carson Soucy, UMD (elbowing), 17:40.

Second period - 1. UMD, Dominic Toninato 7 (Willie Raskob, Soucy), 0:12; 2. UNO, Luc Snuggerud 9 (Austin Ortega, Tyler Vesel), 10:35 (pp); 3. UMD, Toninato 8 (Joey Anderson, Neal Pionk), 19:05 (pp). Penalties - Snuggerud, UNO (slashing), 0:12; Pionk, UMD (slash), 10:03; Ryan Jones, UNO (interference), 12:12; Jones, UNO (slashing), 18:15; Riley Tufte, UMD (roughing), 19:55; Justin Parizek, UNO (slashing), 19:55.

Third period - 4. UMD, Ian Brady 3 (Olofsson, Vesel), 1:32. Penalties - Ortega, UNO (goaltender interference), 10:10.

Overtime - No scoring. Penalties - None.

Shots on goal - UNO 3-12-10-0-25; UMD 5-15-14-5-39. Goalies - Evan Weninger, UNO (39 shots-37 saves); Hunter Miska, UMD (25-23). Power plays - UNO 1-of-2; UMD 1-of-4. Referees - Todd Anderson, Andy Thackaberry. Linesmen - Nick Biondich, Dana Penkivech. Att. - 6,243.

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Riley Tufte (27) of Minnesota Duluth tackles Justin Parizek (25) of Nebraska Omaha after a play late in the second period at Amsoil Arena in Duluth Friday night. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

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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