The second-place Bulldogs pulled within five points of the Fighting Hawks in the league standings. The NCHC’s top-two teams will meet for a second and final time during the regular season at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at Amsoil Arena.
“We capitalized on some opportunities and played a pretty good third period, but you need to, to beat a good team,” said Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin, whose team was held to a single goal last weekend in two losses at St. Cloud State. “It was good to see after not finding the net very much last weekend.”
Senior goaltender Hunter Shepard made 30 saves for the Bulldogs in what was the 104th consecutive start for the Cohasset native, tying the NCAA record for consecutive starts by a goalie set by Cornell’s Ben Scrivens between 2007-10.
UMD surrendered two goals in the opening six minutes of the second — all while co-captain Nick Wolff sat in the penalty box for a 10-minute misconduct — to fall behind by two. But the Bulldogs battled back to take a 4-3 lead into the third period via a shorthanded goal by Cole Koepke, a power play strike by Quinn Olson and a beauty of a blast by Nick Swaney in the final minute.
Sophomore wingers Tanner Laderoute and Noah Cates and junior wing Kobe Roth all added goals for the Bulldogs in the third period to get the team to a season-high seven. The last time UMD put up a touchdown was almost a year ago to the day in a 7-2 home win over Nebraska-Omaha on Jan. 25, 2019.
“We were sticking with the game and battling through adversity,” Wolff said. “Being down 3-1 doesn’t mean we’re down on the bench or anything. We’re still fighting. We’re not out of the game until the buzzer sounds.”
With words he said would remain on the ice, Wolff landed himself in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct when fellow senior defenseman Jarod Hilderman got called for slashing 2:40 into the period. While the captain sat and watched, the Fighting Hawks went up 3-1 via a power play goal by junior wing Jordan Kawaguchi and shot through heavy traffic by junior defenseman Matt Kiersted.
Koepke sparked the rally with his shorty while Wolff — now joined by junior defenseman Louie Roehl for tripping — was still in the penalty box. The sophomore winger out of Hermantown raced into the Hawks zone after a clear by junior defenseman Scott Perunovich, picked up the puck along the boards, cut across the crease and stuffed the puck past Hawks sophomore goalie Adam Scheel with a second effort.
The passing of junior center Justin Richards and junior defenseman Dylan Samberg — who was celebrating his 21st birthday Friday — opened up the net for a power play goal from Olson, a freshman wing, that tied the game at 3-3.
Swaney then put the Bulldogs on top in the final minute of the period, one-timing a pass from Samberg top shelf.
Both the coach and captain called Koepke’s shorty the biggest goal of the game. Instead of falling behind 4-1 on the penalty kill, UMD was back within a goal.
“Anytime we can get a special teams goal — power play or penalty kill — it gives us momentum,” Koepke said. “Us getting one shorthanded can be a little depleting to the team on the power play. It gave us an energy boost and really got us back into the game. From there the goals started to come.”
The Bulldogs and Hawks went into the first intermission tied 1-1 with Roth tying the game just 31 seconds after North Dakota took a 1-0 lead.
The first of two goals and three points for Roth was initially waved off for goalie interference. The call was overturned by video review, which showed Bulldogs senior center Jade Miller was pushed into Scheel.
Cloquet native Westin Michaud fought through a pair of UMD defensemen to score his first college goal — or point, for that matter — in five games at Amsoil Arena 14:46 into Friday’s game to give North Dakota a brief 1-0 advantage.
Friday was Michaud’s first game at Amsoil Arena as a Fighting Hawk after playing the previous four with Colorado College. Michaud, who took a medical redshirt his freshman year with the Tigers, graduated from CC in the spring and in the offseason took advantage of the NCAA graduate transfer rule to enroll penalty-free at North Dakota for his final year of eligibility.
Michaud, who also had an assist Friday, now has 11 goals and 10 assists in 24 games as a Hawk after recording 13 goals and 17 assists in 41 games last year with the Tigers.
UMD wore 1950s-era jerseys in warmups prior to Friday’s game. The jerseys are being auctioned off at the arena during this weekend’s games. The jerseys were wore by the Bulldogs between 1950-55.
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Friday was the 100th career game as a Bulldog for Samberg, the Hermantown native, and fellow junior defenseman Matt Anderson.
Friday’s announced attendance of 7,016 was the Bulldogs largest crowd of the season at Amsoil Arena and just the first sellout of 2019-20. The previous high was 6,655 against Minnesota on Oct. 26.
North Dakota 1-2-1—4
Minnesota Duluth 1-3-3—7
First period — 1. ND, Westin Michaud 11 (Judd Caulfield, Shane Pinto), 14:46; 2. UMD, Kobe Roth 10 (Tanner Laderoute, Jade Miller), 15:17.
Second period — 3. ND, Jordan Kawaguchi 13 (Matt Kierstad, Jasper Weatherby), 4:12 (pp); 4. ND, Kiersted 3 (MIchaud), 5:51; 5. UMD, Cole Koeple 9 (Perunovich), 10:44 (sh); 6. UMD, Quinn Olson 3 (Justin Richards, Dylan Samberg), 14:35 (pp); 7. UMD, Nick Swaney 9 (Samberg), 19:10.
Third period — 8. Laderoute 4 (Roth, Jarod Hilderman), 8:16; 9. Noah Cates 10 (Jackson Cates, Swaney), 11:54; 10. ND, Weatherby 6 (Calufield, Kawaguchi), 15:03 (pp); 11. UMD, Roth 11 (Nick Wolff), 15:38.
Shots on goal — ND 7-10-17—34; UMD 13-11-14—38. Goalies — Adam Scheel, ND (38 shots-31 saves); Hunter Shepard, UMD (34-31). Power plays — ND 2-of-4; UMD 1-of-3. Penalties — ND 5-10; UMD 7-22. Referees — Stephen Reneau, Cameron Voss. Linesmen — Brandon Schmitt, Jeff Schultz. Att. — 7,016.
Read more on the UMD Bulldogs at The Rink Live