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College men's hockey: Bulldogs suffer Rocky Mountain low in 3-2 loss at Denver

DENVER -- A 2-0 lead has been a good omen for Minnesota Duluth this season with the Bulldogs picking up four wins and a tie the previous five times it happened.

DENVER - A 2-0 lead has been a good omen for Minnesota Duluth this season with the Bulldogs picking up four wins and a tie the previous five times it happened.

Meanwhile, a second-intermission deficit has been the kiss of death.

On Friday, the kiss of death won out as Denver rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Bulldogs 3-2 in NCHC play at Magness Arena.

The third-place Pioneers (11-7-5 overall, 7-4-2 NCHC), who moved four points ahead of fourth-place UMD (8-9-5, 5-7-3), improved to 4-0-3 in January while the Bulldogs fell to 8-2-2 when scoring first and 0-7-3 when trailing after two periods this year.

Going back to a 4-2 come-from-behind win over St. Cloud State on Feb. 13, 2015, UMD is 0-11-4 when trailing at the second intermission.

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UMD coach Scott Sandelin said he thought his team played a good game Friday, but it’s disappointing to lose after leading 2-0.

“We had a chance to make it 3-0 and we didn’t score. That’s how it’s been going,” Sandelin said. “The only way you’re going to get out of it is if you stick with it, you keep fighting, keep doing the things we’re doing and hopefully it breaks.

“We played pretty well. We didn’t give them a whole lot, but when they had opportunities, they made the most of them.”

The Pioneers, who host UMD again at 8:07 p.m. Saturday, erased an initial 2-0 deficit with two scores in the final four minutes of the first period as UMD struggled to clear the puck out of harm’s way.

Pioneers captain and senior wing Grant Arnold - who earlier participated with UMD junior center Dominic Toninato in a shouting match in the penalty box after receiving matching roughing minors - battled through a pack of Bulldogs to set up junior center Matt Marcinew for the first Denver goal.

Pioneers sophomore wing Danton Heinen notched the next two goals, scoring his first on a shot right in front of the UMD net 1:12 before the first intermission to tie the game at 2-2. He then backhanded in his second goal at even closer range 13:04 into the second period to put the Pioneers ahead 3-2.

“I thought last eight minutes of the period they raised their intensity and that’s why they tied it,” Sandelin said. “Second period I thought we played a good period again but we lost the period and we tried at the end. Again, it’s about some missed opportunities. We knew it was going to be that kind of game. They’re not going to quit. They’re a good hockey team too. We just gotta come back and we have to follow it with an effort that’s equal or better, no question.”

Both of UMD’s goals came from the line of senior center Tony Cameranesi, senior wing Austin Farley and sophomore wing Karson Kuhlman and both were scored on rebounds allowed by sophomore goalie Tanner Jaillet, who was yanked after the second goal.

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Farley sparked UMD’s offense by keeping the puck alive in the Pioneers’ zone. Cameranesi then wheeled around the net to get in position for a shot that was blocked, but right to the stick of Kuhlman.

The Esko native had gone six games without a point and seven games without a goal before ending his drought. Less than three minutes later, Farley ended his own drought.

Again, Cameranesi took the initial shot, one that was too hot for Jaillet to handle, allowing Farley to put the free puck into an open net. He had gone six games without a goal, with just one assist in that span. It was his first even-strength goal since Nov. 21 at Colorado College. He leads the team in scoring with 21 points off 10 assists and a team-high 11 goals.

“I just tried to throw the puck at the net and put it at the goalie’s feet. Both Austin and Kars went to the net hard and were rewarded for it,” Cameranesi said of the goals he set up. “That’s what we have to do (Saturday). We have to get guys to the net. That’s how you’re going to score most the goals in this league is throwing the puck on net and going to the net hard. They did a good job on two plays getting to the net and they were rewarded for it.”

The Bulldogs could have - and in all reality should have - led 3-0 midway through the first via a power-play goal, but junior wing Alex Iafallo failed to finish a backhander on an open net. Toninato set up the chance by driving to the net - which is what started the shouting match with Arnold earlier - but Iafallo’s shot caught the post.

The Iafallo backhander could have - check that, should have - ended the Bulldogs’ power-play skid. UMD came into the weekend 0-for-21 on the power play in its last six games and now sits 0-for-23 through seven after two failed advantages Friday.

Farley is the last Bulldog to score on a man-advantage - he actually has the Bulldogs’ last two power-play goals -  doing so against Western Michigan on Dec. 5 in Duluth. Farley’s seven power-play goals leads the NCHC and is tied for third nationally.

“We got a two-goal lead and then we kind of relaxed and they came out flying,” Farley said of the game. “We need to find a way to handle success like that and go forward instead of backwards.

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“I had a chance at the end to tie it up, (Iafallo) had a chance to go up 3-0 and it’s just little things like that, that aren’t going in which usually go in for us.”

Jaillet, who made a career-high 45 saves in Duluth on Nov. 14, finished the game with just five saves on seven shots while his replacement, junior Evan Cowley, stopped all 39 shots he faced.

UMD sophomore Kasimir Kaskisuo made 26 saves.

  • Sophomore center Jared Thomas was back in the lineup Friday after being a healthy scratch last Saturday at home against St. Cloud State. He centered the fourth line alongside senior wings Charlie Sampair and Austyn Young.

  • Junior defenseman Carson Soucy missed Friday’s game due to an illness, allowing junior defenseman Brenden Kotyk to appear in just his sixth game of the season. He’s cracked the lineup now in two of the last three games after missing nine straight.

Minn. Duluth 2-0-0-2
Denver 2-1-0-3
First period - 1. UMD, Karson Kuhlman 5 (Tony Cameranesi, Austin Farley), 3:44; 2. UMD, Farley 11 (Cameranesi, Willie Corrin), 6:13; 3. DU, Matt Marcinew 8 (Grant Arnold, Blake Hillman), 16:01; 4. DU, Danton Heinen 7 (Dylan Gambrell, Trevor Moore), 18:48. Penalties - Arnold, DU (roughing), 5:26; Dominic Toninato, UMD (roughing), 5:26; Tariq Hammond, DU (hooking), 9:57.
Second period - 5. DU, Heinen 8 (Hammond, Moore), 13:04. Penalties - None.
Third period - 5. No scoring. Penalties - Andy Welinski, UMD (roughing), 11:20; Welinski, UMD (unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:20; Moore, DU (slashing), 11:20.
Shots on goal - UMD 15-17-14-46; DU 9-13-7-29. Goalies - Kasimir Kaskisuo, UMD (29 shots-26 saves); Tanner Jaillet, DU (7-5); Evan Cowley, DU (39-39). Power plays - UMD 0-of-2; DU 0-of-1. Referees - Derek Shepherd, Dan Dreger. Linesmen - Gary Pedigo, Chase McGee. Att. - 4,865.

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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