College men's hockey: Bulldogs unveil championship banner, skate to 1-1 tie with Minnesota in opener
Minnesota Duluth unveiled its 2018 NCAA championship banner on Saturday at Amsoil Arena, with some of the program's most prominent alumni offering their congratulations in the pregame ceremony.
Minnesota Duluth unveiled its 2018 NCAA championship banner on Saturday at Amsoil Arena, with some of the program’s most prominent alumni offering their congratulations in the pregame ceremony.
Unfortunately for the sell-out crowd of 7,362 fans, the top-ranked Bulldogs were unable to follow the celebration with a victory or extend their lengthy eight-game win streak over No. 13 Minnesota, battling their rivals to a 1-1 overtime tie in the regular-season opener.
The teams meet again at 7 p.m. Sunday at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, with the Gophers trying to notch their first victory over UMD since Feb. 10, 2014, when they opened the regular season against each other at the IceBreaker Invitational in South Bend, Ind.
UMD junior goaltender Hunter Shepard of Cohasset said the pregame banner ceremony gave him goosebumps, especially seeing the likes of Alex Stalock and Justin Faulk offer their congrats.
“It got me going a little bit, it got the emotions going a little bit and I played better that way,” Shepard said of celebrating a championship to open the season. “You try to enjoy it because you never know if you’re going to be able to do that again. It was a fun thing for sure.”
Postgame: News Tribune hockey writer Matt Wellens shares his thumbs up, thumbs down and three stars of the night
Shepard made 27 saves for the Bulldogs, with 16 coming in the second period.
Freshman wing Sampo Ranta scored for Minnesota in the first period and senior center Peter Krieger tied the game early in the third.
The Bulldogs’ first goal since now graduated senior wing Jared Thomas scored in the 2018 NCAA championship in St. Paul came on a power play. UMD was on the advantage after killing off a pair of penalties that came late in the second, with the second Gophers power play bleeding into the third.
Junior wing Riley Tufte threaded a pass through the Minnesota penalty kill to a waiting Kobe Roth, a sophomore wing, who quickly one-timed the puck on net. The shot was stopped, but Krieger was there to finish the play, tying the game at 1-1.
“The power play, we worked on some stuff on the net, being hard nosed around the net,” Krieger said of his goal. “A lot of pucks are going to rebound. You just have to be ready with heavy sticks in the slot. We got a great shot on net and I just turned around. It was right on my stick so I tried to put it on net.”
Ranta, an 18-year-old out of Finland, ricocheted in the first goal of the night via a laser off the far post, calming a raucous UMD crowd that was still jacked up from the unveiling of the 2018 national championship banner.
Shepard came up big in the second period for UMD, foiling a trio of odd-man Gophers rushes that included a late-developing solo break and then perfectly executed two-on-one and three-on-two rushes.
“He’s a good goalie,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said of the always consistent Shepard. “Last year gave him even more confidence. That’s good for us. Hopefully we can give him some more offensive support but tonight was a good hard, fought game.”
Minnesota Duluth 0-0-1-0-1
First period - 1. MN, Sampo Ranta 1 (Tommy Novak, Clayton Phillips), 12:07. Penalties - Phillips, MN (cross checking), 8:39; Jack Sadek, MN (interference), 16:09.
Second period - No scoring. Penalties - Sadek, MN (holding), 11:21; Dylan Samberg, UMD (unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:21; Nick Wolff, UMD (boarding), 16:08; Riley Tufte, UMD (hooking), 18:53.
Third period - 5. 2. UMD, Peter Krieger 1 (Kobe Roth, Riley Tufte), 3:38 (pp). Penalties - Ben Brinkman, MN (interference), 2:49; Ryan Norman, MN (boarding), 10:14; Tyler Nanne, MN (clipping), 12:04.
Overtime - No scoring. Penalties - None.
Shots on goal - MN 7-16-3-2-28; UMD 10-10-9-3-32. Goalies - Mat Robson, MN (32 shots-31 saves); Hunter Shepard, UMD (28-27). Power plays - MN 0-of-2; UMD 1-of-5. Referees - Todd Anderson, Cameron Voss. Linesmen - Nick Biondich, Dana Penkivech. Att. - 7,362.