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UMD men's hockey: Bulldogs snap skid, jump on Denver early in 6-2 victory

Jesse Jacques and Kobe Roth score two goals apiece to lead Minnesota Duluth to victory in its final game of 2021 at Amsoil Arena.

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Losers of three straight and facing the prospect of a four-game skid for the first time since 2015, Minnesota Duluth didn’t make the crowd of 5,558 at Amsoil Arena on Saturday wait long to see how the home team would respond.

All it took was 1 minute, 57 seconds, in fact, as senior center Jesse Jacques scored the first of three first-period goals for the Bulldogs, who went on to defeat Denver 6-2 in NCHC play in the final Bulldogs hockey game of 2021 at Amsoil Arena.

UMD lost 5-0 on Friday to the Pioneers , but promptly put that defeat and the “humbling” two losses a week ago to Northern Michigan behind them via a quick goal by Jacques at the DU net, a power-play goal by senior captain Noah Cates five minutes in and a beautiful backhanded finish by fifth-year senior Kobe Roth on a breakaway at 13:04 of the first.

Bulldogs players weren’t available to speak with media after Friday’s game because they were holding a team meeting. Roth said everyone was just honest with each other in the meeting, and they came ready to play Saturday.

Bulldogs defeat Denver 6-2 to split series at Amsoil Arena UMD senior forward and captain Noah Cates scored on a power play in the first period to give UMD a 2-0 lead vs Denver on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021 at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune

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“The last couple games, we got away from our game plan and our style of play,” said Roth, who finished with two goals Saturday thanks to a late empty netter. “We recognized that. We know we’re a good team when we play our style.

“That was a big game tonight. We came together as a team. That’s what we discussed in the locker room. We talked about some of our best games and what was missing now compared to then. I’m really proud of our group. That’s a big one tonight.”

Jacques, the Hermantown native, also finished with two goals on Saturday as he gave UMD a 5-2 lead 3:46 into the third period. Jacques scored his first two goals of the season against Michigan and Providence at the Ice Breaker Tournament in October, and then went 13 games without a goal until Saturday.

Roth called Jacques’ contributions “huge” on Saturday. Sandelin said it was one of Jacques’ best games yet, and not just because the former Hawk scored twice. He was involved in the game and he competed, Sandelin said.

Jacques first goal highlight

“I haven’t been on the stat sheet much this year, but it really helps to get two goals and help the guys out tonight, get the win,” Jacques said.

Denver made it a two-goal game going into the third period via a two-goal swing late in the second. The swing came thanks to a highlight-reel save by Pioneers junior goaltender Magnus Chrona after UMD junior wing Quinn Olson put a perfect puck off the end boards for freshman center Dominic James on the open side of the net.

Chrona was still able to glove the puck, however, and about 30 seconds later, Denver senior wing Cameron Wright found himself alone in front of UMD goaltender Ryan Fanti for the first Pioneers goal of the night.

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UMD and DU then traded goals in the opening 95 seconds of the third with sophomore wing Blake Biondi going top shelf, unassisted, 1:19 into the period. A video review for a major penalty on a previous play, called for by a linesman, immediately preceded Biondi’s goal — there was no major — and Pioneers freshman wing Carter Mazur proceeded to make it a two-goal game 16 seconds later.

Jacques second goal highlight

But then Jacques struck again, doing the opposite of his former high school teammate, sending a shot low — bottom shelf — to beat Chrona.

“A real good response, real proud of our guys,” Sandelin said. “We talked about some stuff this morning. They had they a little meeting (Friday) just to go through what we could do better. We met this morning and showed some video and I thought our guys executed some things.

“Getting that lead and getting that goal loosened everybody up. I thought we played a real good game. It was a great response.”

Roth goal highlight

Tomassoni honored in pregame

Minnesota Sen. David Tomassoni dropped a puck in a pregame ceremony on Saturday at Amsoil Arena. The Chisholm native who represents most of the Iron Range played four seasons at the University of Denver from 1971-75 , playing in two NCAA Frozen Fours with the Pioneers.

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Tomassoni is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a disease that attacks the nervous system, weakening muscles and impacting one’s ability to move and speak.

DU Tomassoni tweet
Denver 0-1-1—2

Minnesota Duluth 3-0-3—6

First period

1. UMD, Jesse Jacques (Owen Gallatin), 1:57

2. UMD, Noah Cates (Casey Gilling, Wyatt Kaiser), 5:04 (pp)

3. UMD, Kobe Roth (Matt Anderson, Connor Kelley), 13:04

Second period

4. DU, Cameron Wright (Carter Mazuer), 12:36

Third period

5. UMD, Blake Biondi, 1:19

6. DU, Carter Mazur (Massimo Rizzo, Kyle Mayhew), 1:35

7. UMD, Jacques (Biondi, Gallatin), 3:46

8. UMD, Kobe Roth (Quinn Olson, Kelley), 16:32 (en)

Saves — Magnus Chrona, DU, 21; Ryan Fanti, UMD, 29.

Power plays — DU 0-4; UMD 1-2. Penalties — DU 2-4; UMD 4-8.

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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Mike Sertich was head coach of the UMD men's hockey team for 18 seasons, leading the program to back-to-back NCAA Frozen Fours, winning three WCHA regular season championships and coaching three Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners.