Thumbs up, thumbs down, three stars: Bulldogs lockdown sweep of Miami with strong third period
OXFORD, Ohio -- Fifth-ranked Minnesota Duluth polished off a weekend sweep of Miami with a 3-0 victory in NCHC play Saturday at Goggin Ice Center in Oxford, Ohio.
OXFORD, Ohio - Fifth-ranked Minnesota Duluth polished off a weekend sweep of Miami with a 3-0 victory in NCHC play Saturday at Goggin Ice Center in Oxford, Ohio.
Sophomores Scott Perunovich (power play in the first), Justin Richards (penalty shot during a two-man disadvantage in the second) and Nick Swaney (off a turnover at even strength in the third) picked up the goals while junior goaltender Hunter Shepard made 17 saves to shutout the RedHawks for a fourth consecutive game.
Below are a pair of thumbs up from Saturday's win by News Tribune college hockey writer Matt Wellens, plus his three stars of the night.
Thumbs up to the Bulldogs special teams
What a weekend it was for the Bulldogs power play and penalty kill units. Let's run through the numbers, shall we?
Power play: Scored both nights, finishing the weekend 2-for-9 with 16 shots on goal combined for the weekend. The power play is now 20.7 percent on the season, good for 19th nationally and third among NCHC teams.
Penalty kill: Also scored both nights to finish 2-for-9 offensively (yes, we're measuring UMD's PK now based on its offensive success, why not?) with six shots on goal. Defensively it was perfect going 9-for-9. UMD's PK has now killed off 43 of the last 44 opposing power plays and is 78-of-84 on the season. That 92.9 percent kill rate is tops in the nation.
Is the power play blowing up the world like the penalty kill - which down two men was able to create a penalty shot tonight - is right now? No, but it's proving to be pretty effective at getting a goal a night right now.
Both units are making key plays at key moments, and it's fueling the Bulldogs elsewhere. "Our killers have been really good all year, starting with Shep," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. "It was nice to see them score a couple shorties this weekend. The one was a penalty shot. I thought our power play was better tonight. We had some better looks. The goal we got, we got some traffic there and shot the puck. We had some other opportunities. It was a hard fought game."
Thumbs up to the Bulldogs third period
UMD opened the third period with a 2-0 lead and extended that to 3-0 just 4:13 in, but the way the Bulldogs played over those final 20 minutes, you'd think there were down 1-2 goals trying to climb back into it.
Even on that last power play that came with under 6:00 to play, with the score 3-0, the Bulldogs attacked the Miami net as if they needed a goal right then and there so they could then pull the goalie to maybe get two more.
"We were up 2-0, we had that lesson last weekend," Sandelin said, referencing the 2-0 lead UMD couldn't hold last Saturday in the loss to St. Cloud State. "Going into the third period we've been a pretty good team over the last number of years. I just presented it to them as 0-0. It's a challenge and an opportunity to win a period and win a hockey game and have a great weekend. I thought our guys went out there and executed the third period as well as we could."
Matt's Three Stars
3. Bulldogs junior goaltender Hunter Shepard: Cohasset native finished with 17 saves for his fourth-straight shutout of Miami, fourth shutout of the season and 12th of his college career.
2. Bulldogs sophomore defenseman Scott Perunovich: He picked up his first goal in 10 games by scoring on the power play to make it 1-0 in the first.
1. Bulldogs sophomore center Justin Richards: He had the guts to go after a scoring chance while UMD was down two players. He drew a penalty shot on that gutsy break. He scored on it. It was a good trip for Richards back to his home state of Ohio.