College men's hockey: Northland contingent keys UMD's win over Miami
In less than 48 hours, Northland high school boys hockey teams will take over Amsoil Arena for the Section 7 semifinals. But first, some of those programs' very best had business to take care of while wearing Minnesota Duluth uniforms. Alumni of ...
In less than 48 hours, Northland high school boys hockey teams will take over Amsoil Arena for the Section 7 semifinals.
But first, some of those programs' very best had business to take care of while wearing Minnesota Duluth uniforms.
Alumni of Grand Rapids, Duluth East, Hibbing and Hermantown scored goals while a former Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjack had a key assist Thursday to lead the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs over Miami 4-3 in NCHC play at Amsoil Arena.
The three-point night gives the Bulldogs a one-point lead atop the NCHC standings, with No. 1 Denver set to host St. Cloud State tonight and Saturday. UMD will have a chance to maintain that lead, or even build on it, at 7:07 p.m. tonight at Amsoil Arena when it hosts Miami in the series finale.
"It's a sign of a good team when you find ways to win," said UMD sophomore defenseman Neal Pionk of Hermantown. "No matter what happens in the game, up or down, we found a way to win again. We got to find a way to win again (tonight)."
UMD is playing a Thursday-Friday series this week as opposed to the traditional Friday-Saturday series due to Amsoil being booked Saturday. The Thunderhawks, Greyhounds and Lumberjacks all play in the 7AA semifinals in the afternoon while the defending state champion Hawks and UMD coach Scott Sandelin's alma mater, Hibbing, play in the 7A playoffs later in the evening.
As it happens, alumni from those five schools wound up finishing with four goals and three assists in a rollercoaster of a game Thursday.
Former Thunderhawk and Minnesota Mr. Hockey Avery Peterson, a junior center, scored the game-winning goal for the Bulldogs, taking a drop pass from freshman forward Riley Tufte on a power play to put UMD ahead with 1:21 remaining in regulation.
Pionk gave UMD a 3-2 lead 94 seconds into the third period, also scoring on a power play. His blast was set up by sophomore center Adam Johnson of Hibbing, who juked a Miami penalty killer before making a pass across the zone to the open Pionk.
"It's something we struggled with as a team lately," Peterson said of power plays. "To get those two and get a win out of it, it's big. Coming down to playoff time like this, your special teams wins you games."
The Bulldogs' power play, which came into the night ranked fifth in the NCHC at 19.3 percent, finished 2-for-4 while the penalty kill, ranked seventh in the league at 80.1 percent, snuffed out five of the RedHawks' six advantages. The only power-play goal UMD surrendered came during a 5-on-3 Miami advantage that tied the game at 2-2.
"You need (power-play goals) this time of year, just like we got a big kill again," said Sandelin, whose team had to kill off a Peterson holding penalty with less than seven minutes to play with the game tied 3-3. "Special teams are critical this time of year."
Johnson and senior center Dominic Toninato of Duluth put the Bulldogs up 2-0 with goals in the first two periods.
Johnson banked his shot in off the back of Miami freshman goaltender Ryan Larkin 13 minutes into the first period, while a cross-zone pass from junior wing Karson Kuhlman of Esko gave Toninato an open net to shoot at 1:08 into the second period.
The RedHawks tied the game twice. A well-placed shot by freshman wing Carson Meyer made it 3-3 with 10:45 remaining in the third.
Miami got on the board just over seven minutes into the second period with the second goal of the season by freshman defenseman Jared Brandt. His defensive partner, sophomore Grant Hutton, then tied the game at 2-2 on the two-man advantage less than five minutes later.
Junior wing Blake Young and senior defenseman Brenden Kotyk were in the penalty box at the time, the second game in a row in which UMD saw a 2-0 lead erased in part due to penalties.
UMD finished with just six penalties for 12 minutes against Miami.
"We keep taking penalties and it's ruining our momentum. They're getting chances, they got a goal," Toninato said. "The biggest thing is discipline and staying out of the box."
Minnesota Duluth.............. 1-1-2-4
First period - 1. UMD, Adam Johnson 13 (Nick Wolff, Dan Molenaar), 13:00. Penalties - Johnson, UMD (slashing), 17:35; Carson Meyer, MU (hooking), 18:47.
Second period - 2. UMD, Dominic Toninato 10 (Karson Kuhlman), 1:08; 3. MU, Jared Brandt 2 (Grant Hutton, Josh Melnick), 7:07; 4. MU, Hutton 8 (Kiefer Sherwood, Anthony Louis), 11:45 (pp). Penalties - Blake Young, UMD (holding), 9:58; Brenden Kotyk, UMD (boarding), 11:12; Kyle Osterberg, UMD (interference), 17:24.
Third period - 5. UMD, Neal Pionk 7 (Johnson, Alex Iafallo), 1:34 (pp); 6. MU, Meyer 9 (Melnick, Louis), 9:15; 7. UMD, Avery Peterson 6 (Riley Tufte, Pionk), 18:39 (pp). Penalties - Chaz Switzer, MU (holding), 1:15; Osterberg, UMD (hooking), 5:48; Louis, MU (slashing), 11:44; Peterson, UMD (holding), 13:18; Melnick, MU (hooking), 17:41.
Shots on goal - MU 6-18-7-31; UMD 9-10-11-30. Goalies - Ryan Larkin, MU (30 shots-26 saves); Hunter Miska, UMD (31-28). Power plays - MU 1-of-6; UMD 2-of-4. Referees - Geno Binda, Brad Shepherd. Linesmen - Nick Biondich, Sterling, Egan. Att. - 5,843.