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UMD men's hockey: No. 1-ranked Bulldogs swept by Northern Michigan, 'humbled' in 5-2 loss Saturday

Seniors Tanner Laderoute and Koby Bender scored the lone goals for UMD, whose time at No. 1 will come to an end Monday when new polls are released.

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Minnesota Duluth takes on Northern Michigan on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Michigan. The Wildcats beat the Bulldogs 5-2 on Saturday to sweep the weekend series. Contributed / Northern Michigan University Athletics

MARQUETTE, Mich. — Minnesota Duluth’s reign as the No. 1 team in both national polls will last just seven days after unranked Northern Michigan followed Friday’s 5-4 win with a 5-2 victory on Saturday to sweep the nonconference series at the Berry Events Center.

The Bulldogs are the second No. 1 team in three weeks to get swept after taking over the top spot. Michigan lost a pair of overtime games at home to Notre Dame on Nov. 19-20. The top seed in the polls is 9-11 on the season and the last four are now 2-6.

"When you're on top, everyone wants to beat you, everyone is always going to play their best game, their hardest game, most physical game, and that's what we saw from a hard team," said UMD senior captain Noah Cates. "The message was, 'We got to be humble, we can't get humbled by a team and we got humbled.'"

Redshirt senior goaltender Ben Patt made 26 saves on 30 shots in his second start and regular season game at UMD.

Patt and senior Brady Anderson — who started the semester playing on the UMD men’s club hockey team — were the only two UMD goalies available this weekend in Marquette with junior starter Ryan Fanti out due to COVID-19 protocols and sophomore Zach Stejskal out long term battling testicular cancer.

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Fanti is expected to return from COVID-19 protocols next weekend when the Bulldogs host Denver in NCHC play at Amsoil Arena.

Cates said Patt did everything the team asked of him this weekend between the pipes.

"He gave us a chance to win. I just wish like hell we could have gave him one. He deserved it more than anyone," Cates said. "Hopefully he gets another shot in another game where we can give him a win and give him a better effort."

The Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead by scoring in the opening minutes of the first and second periods, getting goals from former Denver Pioneer Bo Hanson, a senior defenseman, and junior AJ Vanderbeck, the team’s leading goalscorer with 14.

Junior center Alex Frye (formerly of Alaska-Anchorage) and senior center David Keefer (formerly of Michigan State) tallied power-play goals for NMU in the second period with Keefer’s coming after UMD junior wing Quinn Olson received a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding.

Senior wing Tanner Laderoute and fifth-year senior Koby Bender scored for the Bulldogs, with Laderoute pulling the Bulldogs within two goals 12:27 into the second and Bender doing the same exactly two minutes into the third period.

Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said he was much happier with Saturday's game than Friday. His team battled and started "on time," he said.

The biggest thing the coach said his team can take out of the weekend is they need to get healthy. UMD had no healthy scratches in its lineup Saturday in Marquette. In addition to Fanti and Stejskal, fifth-year senior defenseman Louie Roehl was out due to injury. Defensemen Wyatt Kaiser and Will Francis also missed this weekend’s series due to illness.

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"Our guys battled," Sandelin said. "We're missing some guys, I don't make excuses. We gave some guys an opportunity to play, asked some guys to step up. I thought some guys played better tonight. They're a good hockey team. They took advantage of some things. We fell asleep on a couple plays. That's the way a game goes. If we don't learn from it, we're not a good hockey team."

Minnesota Duluth 0-1-1—2

Northern Michigan 1-3-1—5

First period

1. NMU, Bo Hansen (David Keefer, Hank Crone), 1:37

Second period

2. NMU, AJ Vanderbeck (Trevor Cosgrove), 1:50

3. NMU, Alex Frye (Crone, Vanderbeck), 11:42 (pp)

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4. UMD, Tanner Laderoute (Noah Cates, Casey Gilling), 12:27

5. NMU, Keefer (Michael Van Unen, Crone), 15:33

Third period

6. UMD, Koby Bender (Hunter Lellig), 2:00

7. NMU, Crone (Hanson and Vincent de May), 17:57 (en)

Saves — Ben Patt, UMD, 26; Rico DiMatteo, NMU, 31.

Power play — UMD 0-4; NMU 1-5. Penalties — UMD 7-25; NMU 5-10.

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