College hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune covering the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs men's and women's teams, as well as the NCAA Division III programs at St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior.
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Fourth-ranked Minnesota Duluth was unable to finish off the series sweep of seventh-ranked Denver on Saturday, losing 1-0 to the Pioneers in NCHC play before a crowd of 6,462 at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Denver sophomore goaltender Devin Cooley made 27 saves for the shutout in his return from injury. Freshman defenseman Slava Demin scored the lone goal for Denver in the first period. Junior goaltender Hunter Shepard made 15 saves for the Bulldogs. A full game recap can be found here.
Fourth-ranked Minnesota Duluth was shutout for just the second time this season by the team that blanked them the first time, losing 1-0 to seventh-ranked Denver in NCHC play Saturday night before a crowd of 6,462 at Amsoil Arena.
Fresh off its final bye weekend of the regular season, fourth-ranked Minnesota Duluth beat seventh-ranked Denver 5-2 on Friday at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Sophomore center Justin Richards scored twice with sophomore wing Nick Swaney and freshmen wings Tanner Laderoute and Cole Koepke also getting a goal each. Junior goalie Hunter Shepard made 20 saves. A full game recap can be found here. Below are a pair of thumbs up from Friday's win by News Tribune college hockey writer Matt Wellens, plus his three stars of the night.
COLLEGE MEN'S HOCKEY / MINNESOTA DULUTH 5, DENVER 2 With the pace of a Red Bull Crashed Ice race or a short track speed skating sprint to the finish, fourth-ranked Minnesota Duluth sped ahead in the third period to beat seventh-ranked Denver 5-2 in NCHC play Friday before a crowd of 5,720 at Amsoil Arena. The Bulldogs (18-7-2 overall, 11-5-1 NCHC) used two goals from its leading point-getter, sophomore center Justin Richards, and one each from sophomore wing Nick Swaney (the leader in goals), freshman wing Tanner Laderoute and an empty-netter from freshman wing Cole Koepke.
News first reported by the News Tribune in November became official on Friday. The Ice Breaker Tournament is returning to Amsoil Arena in 2020 just three years after the home of the Bulldogs hosted college hockey's season-opening showcase for the first time. Minnesota Duluth made the announcement prior to it's NCHC contest against Denver. The Bulldogs will host Minnesota, Minnesota State-Mankato and Providence on Oct. 9-10, 2020, preceded by an open skate with the participants a day earlier at Heritage Center.
Minnesota Duluth returned its leading scorer, freshman forward Gabbie Hughes, to the lineup Friday. What the Bulldogs didn't get, however, was an end to its winless streak against Wisconsin. That was extended to 11 games via a 6-1 loss to the second-ranked and league-leading Badgers before a crowd of 894 at Amsoil Arena. UMD will try and snap the skid while going for the series split during the regular-season home finale and annual "Cram the Am" event at 3:07 p.m. Saturday at Amsoil Arena. Tickets are $1 or free with a food donation.
Since returning from the 2019 World Junior Championship in British Columbia, Minnesota Duluth's defensive duo of Dylan Samberg and Mikey Anderson have combined for 11 points in eight games. Eight of those points, including four goals, have come in the Bulldogs' last four outings. As thrilled as fourth-ranked UMD is with the defensemen's point production, that's not how Samberg and Anderson are measured. Their success comes from the points they don't allow and both rank among the league's top 10 defensemen in even-strength and short-handed goals allowed.
With third-place Ohio State having a bye this weekend, fourth-place Minnesota Duluth has a chance to gain ground or even surpass the Buckeyes in the WCHA standings. The Bulldogs are five points back with two weeks remaining in the regular season. Points could be hard for UMD to come by this weekend, however, as they host league-leading and second-ranked Wisconsin in a pair of 3:07 p.m. games Friday and Saturday at Amsoil Arena.
While fourth-ranked Minnesota Duluth returns from a bye week at full strength, the health of this week's opponent remain as messy as the streets of Duluth during the week-plus of snow. Seventh-ranked Denver could again be without two key players for a pair of NCHC contests at 8:07 p.m. Friday and 7:07 p.m. Saturday at Amsoil Arena. Senior forward Jarid Lukosevicius and sophomore goaltender Devin Cooley both remain day-to-day with injuries after missing time prior to the Pioneers' bye last week.
Four players scored goals as Minnesota Duluth, minus its leading scorer, earned a key 4-2 victory over St. Cloud State in WCHA play Friday night before a crowd of 1,270 at Amsoil Arena. Freshman forward Gabbie Hughes — the team leader in goals (15), assists (14) and points (29) — missed Friday's game with an injury that she suffered late this week in practice. She'll also miss Saturday's 4:07 p.m. rematch at Amsoil Arena, and her status for next week's series against second-ranked Wisconsin is also up in the air.