Hermantown native and former Bulldogs winger Cole Koepke picked up his first professional goal Sunday with the Syracuse Crunch in a 7-1 rout of the Utica Comets in an American Hockey League game in Syracuse, New York.
Koepke became the second player in as many days from the Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey program to make his pro debut on Saturday, finishing with one shot on goal and an even plus/minus rating in the Crunch’s 5-3 home win over the Rochester Americans.
Back in the lineup on Sunday, Koepke put the Crunch ahead 6-1, one a one-timer from the right face-off circle with 5:09 to play in the second period. Koepke, whose goal came seven seconds after Syracuse took a 5-1 lead, finished the afternoon with the goal on two shots, and a plus-2 rating.
Jackson Cates, Koepke’s teammate the last three season at UMD, made his pro debut on Friday in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers in a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Cates and Koepke both turned pro on the same day, April 13. A sixth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018, the 22-year-old Koepke agreed to a two-year, entry-level deal with the defending Stanley Cup champions that will begin with the 2021-22 season.
Koepke is currently with the Crunch — the Lightning’s top minor league affiliate — on a professional tryout for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. The Crunch sit third in the AHL’s North Division at 15-8-1 with eight games to go in the season. Six of those are against Utica.
Koepke totaled 27 goals and 37 assists in 64 games with the Bulldogs from 2018-21, while also helping the program reach the Frozen Four in 2019 and 2021. UMD won the NCHC Frozen Faceoff title and a second consecutive national championship in 2019 with Koepke.
Prior to winning championships at UMD, Koepke helped the Hawks capture the 2016 Minnesota Class A state championship by scoring 41 goals as a senior, including six in the state tournament.
UMD softball splits with Winona State
The Bulldogs rebounded from an 8-3 defeat in Game 1 for a 4-2 victory in Game 2 of an NSIC softball doubleheader on Sunday afternoon in Duluth.
Catcher Kelly Swank drove in the Bulldogs’ first three runs of Game 2 via a two-RBI double to left field in the second inning and a sacrifice fly to right in the fourth for a 3-1 advantage. Second baseman Taylor Koehnen hit a two-run homer to right center in the sixth inning.
Game 2 featured 21 strikeouts between the two starting pitchers, who both went the distance. UMD’s Lauren Dixon struck out 11 batters while giving up two runs off 10 hits and three walks. The Warriors’ Liz Pautz struck out 10 while giving up four runs off eight hits and two walks.
Winona State scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning of Game 1 to get the win, with catcher Rylee Stout tying the game at 2-2 with a solo shot to right center field and center fielder Katie Kold hitting a three-run homer to right to make it 8-2. UMD left fielder Julia Gronholz hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh.
Bulldogs baseball tops Mary
UMD scored nine runs in the first two innings and hung on for a 13-9 victory over University of Mary in NSIC baseball in Bismarck on Sunday.
UMD third baseman Anders Brown drove in four runs in the first two innings via a three-run homer in the first and by drawing a walk in the second. Designated hitter McCale Peterson and first baseman Tosten Mann also drove in two runs and second baseman Brandt Kolpack finished 3-for-6 at the plate for UMD
Marauders catcher Alec Battest drove in three runs via a three-run homer in the third inning.