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UMD men's hockey: Bulldogs power play lights up Colorado College in 5-0 win

Junior goaltender Ryan Fanti follows his first college shutout last Saturday with another on Friday in Duluth

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Minnesota Duluth goaltender Ryan Fanti (39) stops a shot on goal from Colorado College forward Matthew Gleason (15) on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
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After converting on just three of 27 man advantages over the first eight games of the season while also giving up three shorthanded goals, Minnesota Duluth’s power play exploded for three goals on five chances Friday in a 5-0 NCHC victory over Colorado College before 5,985 fans at Amsoil Arena.

Junior goaltender Ryan Fanti made 23 saves for back-to-back shutouts after picking up his first collegiate shutout in 26 career games last Saturday, stopping a collegiate-high 35 pucks at Western Michigan.

The Thunder Bay native, whose friends and family were once again able to make the drive to Duluth thanks to the opening of the American/Canadian border, made a number of critical saves late in the third period Friday to preserve his shutout. He also backstopped a UMD penalty kill that finished a perfect 5-for-5 as the Bulldogs are back home again at 7:07 p.m. Saturday against the Tigers.

“It was definitely nice, just nice that we won too,” Fanti said of getting the shutout on a night where the Bulldogs’ parents were recognized on the ice during the first intermission. “You always want to win at home, and it sucks to lose in general, but losing at home is never fun. We have a history of being good in this building and we have to continue to do that.”

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UMD’s five goals Friday came from five different scorers, including the three power-play goals.

Fifth-year senior wing Koby Bender out of Cloquet got the first goal of the night on the Bulldogs first power play via a feed from senior center and captain Noah Cates 5:45 into the game to put UMD up 1-0.

The Bulldogs then popped in two more power-play goals and two even-strength goals during a penalty-filled second to stretch the lead to 5-0.

“We changed some things up, we had guys more in shooting positions with some one-timers,” Cates said of the adjustments made on the power play, which is run by associate head coach Derek Plante. “I think that makes the power play more dangerous, having those threats. Maybe we didn’t always shoot them, but it’s a threat.

“We had other looks — high tips, seam passes — we were making good plays. We were more confident and we weren’t hesitant making those plays. Luckily enough we got going and got some goals.”

Like Bender’s power-play goal on the feed from Cates in the first, both power-play goals in the second came via a similar fashion — a good pass to an open shooter on the opposite side of the offensive zone.

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Cates gave UMD a 2-0 lead 3:36 into the second period by deflecting a dish from fifth-year senior wing Koby Bender, and freshman defenseman Owen Gallatin one-timed a pass from junior wing Quinn Olson to make it 4-0.

Fifth-year senior center Casey Gilling and sophomore wing Blake Biondi of Hermantown picked up the even-strength goals for UMD in the second. Both scored on the rush by driving to the net with Gilling finishing a centering pass from fifth-year senior defenseman Louie Roehl and Biondi burying a centering pass from Olson.

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Minnesota Duluth players celebrate a second period goal against Colorado College on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said his team had a number of nice goals Friday, but they also got some big saves from their goalie.

Fanti — whose name was still being chanted hours after the final buzzer by fans who stuck around — and the power play were the keys to victory on Friday, Sandelin said.

“Without (the power play) and Ryan’s saves — timely saves too — it might be a different hockey game,” Sandelin said. “We’ve got to be a better hockey team tomorrow, but any win in this league is a good win. I was happy for Ryan because I thought he deserved it, just like I told you last week. I think he deserved that too. Hopefully we can tighten her up a little bit.”

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The Tigers pulled their 6-foot-6 sophomore goaltender Dominic Basse — a Chicago Blackhawks draft pick in 2019 — after Gallatin’s goal nine minutes into the second, which was the fourth goal Basse had given up on 14 shots. Junior Matt Vernon — son of former two-time Stanley Cup champion goaltender and 1997 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Mike Vernon — finished the game, finishing with eight saves on nine shots after giving up a goal to Biondi on the first shot he faced.

The Bulldogs added a third goaltender to their roster on Friday. Brady Anderson out of Eden Prairie and the UMD club program joins the UMD varsity as a senior with sophomore goaltender Zach Stejskal out indefinitely due to an injury.

Colorado College 0-0-0—0

Minnesota Duluth 1-4-0—5

First period

1. UMD, Koby Bender (Noah Cates, Wyatt Kaiser), 5:45 (pp)

Second period

2. UMD, Cates (Kobe Roth, Kaiser), 3:36 (pp)

3. UMD, Casey Gilling (Louie Roehl, Bender), 6:15

4. UMD, Owen Gallatin (Quinn Olson, Blake Biondi), 9:05 (pp)

5. UMD, Biondi (Olson, Dominic James), 15:15

Third period

No scoring

Saves — Dominic Basse, CC, 10; Matt Vernon, CC, 8; Ryan Fanti, UMD, 23.

Power plays — CC 0-5; UMD 3-5. Penalties — CC 5-10; UMD 5-10.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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