OXFORD, Ohio — Sixth-ranked Minnesota Duluth rebounded from Friday’s disappointing 3-1 loss with a 3-2 victory over unranked Miami on Saturday at Goggin Ice Center to salvage three points in the NCHC series.
Junior defenseman Scott Perunovich, the Bulldogs leading scorer, finished the night with three assists as he helped set up goals by junior wing Nick Swaney, sophomore wing Tanner Laderoute and sophomore wing Noah Cates.
“I was lucky to get three points tonight,” said Perunovich, who pointed out two of his assists were second assists. “Our forwards were moving better, creating more space, getting open and getting pucks on net.
“We were definitely attacking the net more and it showed on the scoreboard.”
Four of the five goals scored by the two teams on Saturday came via power plays with the Bulldogs going 2-for-6 on the man advantage and Miami scoring on both of its first two man advantages to tie the game at 1-1 at the end of the first period and pull within a goal late in the second period.
The Hawks were denied on their final power play of the night late in the third, with UMD senior goaltender Hunter Shepard making a big save in traffic to preserve the Bulldogs’ one goal lead.
“Our guys did a good job at the end, big kill,” Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said. “I wasn’t happy with the penalty late, but our guys did a good job killing considering they were 2-for-2. Again on the 5-versus-6 (Miami empty net), I thought our guys did a good job.”
UMD and Miami went into the first intermission tied 1-1 after a buzzer beater by the hosts.
Miami freshman Chase Pletzke tied the game on a late power play, putting the puck across the UMD goal line with just 0.7 seconds left on the Goggin Ice Center clock.
Up until then it was all Bulldogs, starting with Swaney tipping through a blast by senior defenseman Nick Wolff to put UMD ahead 1-0 in the opening four minutes.
Swaney said it was big for the Bulldogs to get on the board first on Saturday, and that helped limit the blow of giving up a buzzer beater at the end of the first.
“Overall we thought we had a good period,” Swaney said of the first. “We knew we had a good opening 20 minutes and that one goal wasn’t going to knock us off. We cleared that one out of our heads right away.”
The Bulldogs had a golden chance to extend their lead after Miami took a pair of penalties less than 36 seconds apart late in the first. UMD failed to score on the 1:24 5-on-3 advantage, however, after Hawks senior goaltender Ryan Larkin — who made 35 saves in Friday’s 3-1 Miami win — stopped four Bulldogs shots during the two-man advantage and three more in the final 30 seconds when Miami was still down a man.
Of the seven shots UMD put on Larkin during the back-to-back Miami penalties, just one was off a rebound.
The one-and-done problem — getting one shot on net but not a second or third chance off rebounds — on shots was rectified in five and a half minutes into the second when Laderoute put away a rebound on the power play to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead. Sophomore wing Cole Koepke was the one who blasted the puck on net from the right side of the zone, and Laderoute was there to blast the puck right back on net from the left side.
The Bulldogs power play struck again less than two minutes later on a wrap around by Cates.
Swaney said the Bulldogs offensively got back into the mindset Saturday of getting possession the puck and getting shots on net. That opened up scoring chances.
“Last night we had a lot of one and done,” Swaney said. “Tonight we possessed the puck, controlled it, put the puck on net when we had the right opportunities. We got bodies to the net.”
Junior defenseman Dylan Samberg of Hermantown missed his second consecutive game with an undisclosed injury. He didn’t make the trip to Oxford this weekend. Sandelin said Saturday Samberg is week-to-week.
Former UMD defenseman Carson Soucy scored his first NHL goal Saturday afternoon in the Minnesota Wild’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The third-year pro had a single assist in his first 23 NHL games. Soucy’s totaled six goals and 31 assists in 147 games with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.
Former Bulldogs goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made his NHL debut Saturday for the Toronto Maple Leafs, getting the start in Pittsburgh. He made 32 saves on 38 shots in a 6-1 loss to the Penguins. Kaskisuo, who also played for the Cloquet-based Minnesota Wild in the North American Hockey League, is in his fourth season with the Leafs organization after signing there after his sophomore season at UMD.
Minnesota Duluth 1-2-0—3
First period — 1. UMD, Nick Swaney 3 (Nick Wolff, Scott Perunovich), 3:42; 2. MU, Chase Pletzke 2 (Derek Daschke, Gordie Green), 19:59 (pp).
Second period — 3. UMD, Tanner Laderoute 2 (Cole Koepke, Perunovich), 5:38 (pp); 4. UMD, Noah Cates 5 (Perunovich, Jackson Cates), 7:15 (pp); 5. MU, Rourke Russell 1 (Bray Crowder, Karch Bachman), 15:34 (pp).
Third period — No scoring.
Shots on goal — UMD 11-19-5—35; MU 6-7-5—18. Goalies — Hunter Shepard, UMD (18 shots-16 saves); Ryan Larkin, MU (35-32). Power plays — UMD 2-of-6; MU 2-of-3. Penalties — UMD 2-4; MU 6-12. Referees — Dan Dreger, Tom Sterns. Linesmen — Dan Cohen, Eric Frank. Att. — 2,879.