COLLEGE MEN'S HOCKEY: Bulldogs top Badgers with one-goal shutout

MADISON, Wis. -- Earning a spot in the top half of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will require Minnesota Duluth to do well on the road the last month of the regular season.

UMD beats Wisconsin
Minnesota Duluth goalie Alex Stalock reaches out to make a save as teammate Trent Palm holds off Wisconsin's Sean Dolan during Saturday's game in Madison. Photo courtesy of Larry Radloff, Sport Sound Productions

MADISON, Wis. -- Earning a spot in the top half of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will require Minnesota Duluth to do well on the road the last month of the regular season.

The Bulldog men have two road series and two home series remaining. They've been almost unbeatable at the DECC at 9-1-3 and 5-1-3 in league games, yet on the road were 1-6-2 in the WCHA entering Saturday night's game at Wisconsin. And in six of the nine games UMD was limited to one goal.

UMD got just one Saturday, from Jordan Fulton early in the third period, and it was enough for a critical 1-0 victory before a sellout of 15,237 spectators at the Kohl Center. Junior goalie Alex Stalock, top-ranked in the WCHA, stopped 33 shots for his seventh career shutout (putting him second in school history), third of the season and second in two weeks.

"[Coach Scott Sandelin] got on us pretty hard after Friday in a 3-1 loss," Fulton said. "We knew we had to go to the net and get more pucks on the net. I went to the net and you can see what happened. We knew we had to start winning on the road; a game like this will give us a lot of confidence."

UMD (14-8-6 overall, 8-7-5 WCHA) was outshot 33-19, yet both teams said the Bulldogs controlled the puck for much of the second and third period to split the series. Wisconsin (14-11-3, 11-7-2) will remember the game for a number of missed offensive chances, including one open-net chance.


Stalock went into the right corner of the defensive zone to get a loose puck and fired it up the ice, but instead of going over the head of Wisconsin winger Tom Gorowsky, he has able to knock the puck down. From the slot he faced a wide-open net with Stalock out of the picture 9:43 into the game.

"I had all the time in the world and I just missed the net," said Gorowsky, a former Mr. Minnesota Hockey from Centennial High School. "I don't know if I wasn't focused or what, but it was frustrating and disappointing."

The teams came into the game tied for No. 16 in the PairWise Rankings, and while the win moved UMD into a tie for fourth in the WCHA, Wisconsin remained in third. It also gave UMD one more victory than all of last season.

The Bulldogs, who won 2-1 in overtime at the Kohl Center last season, got the game's only goal on a hustling play. Fulton checked Wisconsin's Podge Turnbull in the offensive zone and he turned the puck over to UMD center Jack Connolly. Fulton then headed to the net, got an on-target pass from Connolly, and scored from the slot for his 10th goal of the season 4:32 into the third period.

"We were playing better from the start of the game," Sandelin said. "We had more emotion, more intensity and the way that game was going, you knew one good play might be the difference.

"I like how we responded [from Friday] and showed some passion, and really had good puck possession."

When Wisconsin had chances, especially in the first period, Stalock was solid. He leads the WCHA with a 2.15 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

After the first period, the Bulldogs looked revived and carried the play at times. While the Bulldogs were 0-for-5 on power plays (and 0-for-8 in the series), they were strong at even strength against a defensive-minded Wisconsin team.


"I made a mistake that nearly cost us a goal and after that it was just a matter of keeping things simple," Stalock said. "After the first period, things were pretty even and we didn't allow them much. I was getting a good look at first shots and was able to control the rebounds. We didn't have much life Friday and we looked at this as a playoff game. We needed a win."

Wisconsin senior goalie Shane Connelly, third in WCHA goals-against average at 2.46, also was solid. In the second period, he stopped Fulton on a power play and Jack Connolly in close. The Badgers were at home for a 12th time out of the past 14 games, and were 7-3-1 at the Kohl Center during that stretch.

UMD returns to the DECC this Friday and Saturday against first-place Denver. UMD's remaining road games are at No. 3 Minnesota and Michigan Tech, before finishing the season at home March 6-7 against Alaska Anchorage.

Minnesota Duluth........0-0-1--1


First period -- No scoring. Penalty -- Craig Johnson, Wisconsin (holding), 5:13.

Second period -- No scoring. Penalties -- Ryan McDonagh, Wisconsin (cross-checking), 10:21; Jorday Murray, Wisconsin (slashing), 18:25; Justin Fontaine, UMD (holding), 17:34.

Third period -- 1. UMD, Jordan Fulton 10 (Jack Connolly), 4:32. Penalties -- Blake Geoffrion, Wisconsin (unsportsmanlike conduct), 0:00; Michael Gergen, UMD (interference), 2:09; Eric Springer, Wisconsin (cross-checking), 6:11; Patrick Johnson, Wisconsin (10-minute misconduct), 20:00.


Shots on goal -- UMD 8-5-6--19; Wisconsin 11-10-12--33. Goalies -- Alex Stalock (13-8-6), UMD (33 shots-33 saves); Shane Connelly (13-9-3), Wisconsin (19 shots-18 saves). Power plays -- UMD 0-of-5, Wisconsin 0-of-2. Referees - Don Adam, Tim Walsh. Linesmen - Brad Roethlisberger, Mike Gulenchyn. A -- 15,237.

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