UMD men's hockey: Fresh faces step up for Bulldogs in 5-3 win at Minnesota

Owen Gallatin, Wyatt Kaiser and Casey Gilling score their first goal as Bulldogs on Friday at Mariucci.

Minnesota Duluth defenseman Wyatt Kaiser (5) scores a goal against Minnesota on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS — Two regulars on the scoresheet this season for Minnesota Duluth got things going in the first period Friday and then three new names finished things off as the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs scored a 5-3 nonconference victory over No. 4 Minnesota at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis.

Game 2 of the series takes place at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

“We had a solid game, that’s what it takes,” Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said. “We knew it was going to take a good effort by our guys to beat a good hockey team. I liked the fact that we got out and got a lead. I liked how we responded after they got their first goal and even after when they made it 4-2 and 5-3. We didn't let it affect us too much.”

Sophomore wing Blake Biondi and junior wing Quinn Olson added to their point totals by scoring goals in the first period for UMD while defensemen Owen Gallatin and Wyatt Kaiser got their first college goals in the second. Fifth-year senior center Casey Gilling, who transferred to UMD in the offseason, got his first goal as a Bulldog in the third period.


Biondi, of Hermantown, ripped a shot from the slot — his second shot attempt off an offensive-zone faceoff — down the middle 1:53 into the game to put UMD up 1-0. Olson got the next one by whipping a shot from the right faceoff circle that found nothing but net.

It was the second goal of the season for both, who along with freshman center Dominic James, have now combined for 11 points in five games this season.

But it only resulted in a one-goal lead for the Bulldogs at the intermission as — just like last Friday against Michigan at the Ice Breaker Tournament — UMD surrendered a power-play goal late in the first to Gophers sophomore defenseman Mike Koster.

“We know they're a good team, they're going to get their opportunities, but I thought we did a good job limiting their opportunities,” Sandelin said. “I thought we had good sticks. The power plays are a different story. You still got to find a way to kill it, but our guys didn't get down. We regrouped, got the next couple goals and that's the most important thing.”

Minnesota Duluth players celebrate after scoring a goal during the first period on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

It was the Bulldogs blue line who got the next couple goals in the second, starting with Gallatin, a 5-foot-8 freshman from Hugo, Minnesota. He scored his first collegiate goal 2:50 into the period via a feed from senior captain and winger Noah Cates. Playing 4-on-4 at the time after matching cross-checking minors to both teams, Cates found himself a world of time and Gallatin a sea of ice before him to bury the shot.


“Cates made an unbelievable pass out in the slot and I just shot it. He found a hole somewhere,” Gallatin said of his first college goal five games in. “It’s pretty awesome, especially here against the Gophers. It’s a great feeling.”

Midway through the second, Kaiser gave UMD a 4-1 lead by taking a diving shot off his own rebound to score his first collegiate goal in 33 games as a Bulldog. The sophomore from Ham Lake, Minnesota, had 10 assists, but no goals, a year ago in 28 games.

“I struggled in the first period, so I was just trying to be as hard as I could and go to the net hard,” Kaiser said of his first college goal. “I got it, just saw an opportunity to take a shot. I ripped it, kept going to the net and the puck popped back out.

“I saw it go down and I knew if I could get to it quick, the goalie wasn’t getting there. I just got to it and it went in.”

Minnesota freshman wing Matthew Knies cut the Bulldogs' lead in half a second time on Friday by flipping a puck past the glove of UMD junior goaltender Ryan Fanti with 2:06 left in the second period to make it 4-2 going into the third.

Senior wing Grant Cruikshank, who transferred from Colorado College to Minnesota in the offseason, pulled the Gophers within two goals with 8:17 to go in regulation, but that’s as close as Minnesota got.

“That was not a good game by the Gophers tonight. Give all the credit to Duluth,” said Minnesota coach Bob Motzko, a former WCHA and NCHC rival of UMD during his days at St. Cloud State. “Our battle level was at a D-minus tonight and theirs was at an A. We chased the game, we had spurts, but we can’t come like that.”

Fifth-year senior goaltender Jack LaFontaine made 17 saves for the Gophers while Fanti made 18 saves on 20 shots for UMD. Bulldogs sophomore goaltender Zach Stejskal did not dress for the game due to a lower body injury that was suffered in practice this week. Sandelin said there is no timetable for Stejskal's return at this point.


Minnesota Duluth forward Dominic James (17) controls the puck near Minnesota's Tristan Broz (10) during the first period on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Box score

Minnesota Duluth 2-2-1—5

Minnesota 1-1-1—3

First period

1. UMD, Blake Biondi (Dominic James), 1:53

2. UMD, Quinn Olson (Matt Anderson, Biondi), 7:57

3. MN, Mike Koster (Bryce Brodzinski, Blake McLaughling), 18:53

Second period

4. UMD, Owen Gallatin (Noah Cates, Casey Gilling), 2:50

5. UMD, Wyatt Kaiser (Kobe Roth), 9:32

6. MN, Matthew Knies (Brock Faber, Mason Nevers), 18:54

Third period

7. UMD, Gilling (Cates, Koby Bender), 7:33 (pp)

8. Grant Cruikshank (Blake McLaughlin, Ryan Johnson), 11:43 (sh)

Saves — Ryan Fanti, UMD, 18; Jack LaFontaine, MN, 17.

Power play — UMD 1-2; MN 1-2. Penalties — UMD 3-6; MN 3-6.

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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