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College men's hockey: Bulldogs earn first NCHC sweep of season by dominating Colorado College

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For the second consecutive night, Minnesota Duluth’s offense lit up Colorado College.

And this time, the defense was there to lend a helping hand as well.

The 15th-ranked Bulldogs outshot the Tigers 45-19 — with a 36-9 advantage in the second and third periods — and outscored their hosts 5-1 on Saturday to complete the sweep at World Arena.

The wild 6-5 win Friday combined with the more tame victory Saturday gave the Bulldogs their first NCHC sweep of the season. It also leaves UMD tied for fifth in the NCHC standings with Nebraska-Omaha going into three straight series against teams in the top half of the league standings.

“Last night (CC’s) transition game was good, we gave them way too much space and time, especially their top line,” Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said while comparing the defensive performance on Friday to Saturday. “Tonight our gaps were better, we closed on people a little bit better and our back pressure and support from our forwards was a little bit better. It’s still an area we got to get better at.”

Freshman forward Kobe Roth scored two of the Bulldogs’ five goals. He gave UMD a 2-1 lead late in the second period, picking up his second collegiate goal 24 hours after he got his first on Friday. The eventual game-winner came on a scramble in front of the net, and right after Colorado College burned its timeout to buy some time before a faceoff in the home zone.

“It was a good shift by us, we just battled them,” Roth said of his game-winner, which was assisted by junior wing Parker Mackay. “Parker made a good play, took it to the net and I was lucky enough to find a rebound there.”

Roth later picked up his third goal of the weekend and his NCAA career late in the third period on a breakaway, finishing with a smooth backhanded shot to put UMD up by four.

Mackay, Roth’s linemate, said the offensive success for the rookie from Warroad was just the hockey gods rewarding a players who works hard and pressures the puck well.

“He’s a smart player, he has been all year. He’s been growing all year,” Mackay said. “It’s good to see that once he gets the first one out of the way, a couple more come after that.”

UMD started running away with things early in the third, scoring twice in the span of 40 seconds to move ahead 4-1. Mackay put a shot in off Tigers junior defenseman Andrew Farny — essentially an own goal — and junior wing Billy Exell followed by backhanding a puck through while parked at the near post.

The Bulldogs emerged from the first period tied with the Tigers at 1-1 despite getting called for four penalties, resulting in four CC power plays.

Cloquet native Westin Michaud, a junior forward, cashed in on the first UMD penalty — too many players on the ice — to give his team a 1-0 lead nearly seven and a half minutes in.

UMD killed off the rest with ease, and sophomore defenseman Nick Wolff was able to tie the game at 1-1 nearly seven minutes later, blasting a shot through from the point on the Bulldogs’ lone power play of the period.

  • Tigers sophomore goaltender Alex Leclerc replaced sophomore Alec Calvaruso at the start of the third period after Calvaruso suffered a lower-body injury late in the second. Calvaruso, who made his first NCAA start Saturday, replaced Leclerc at the start of the third Friday and stopped the six shots he faced.
  • After playing three consecutive series away from home, the Bulldogs return to Amsoil Arena the next two weekends to host North Dakota and St. Cloud State in NCHC play. Then the Bulldogs return to Colorado to play Denver. UMD last played at Amsoil Arena Dec. 1-2, losing twice to Denver. The Bulldogs will play a nonconference game at Minnesota State-Mankato on a Tuesday in between the series against the Fighting Hawks and Huskies.
Minn. Duluth 1-1-3—5

Colorado College 1-0-0—1

First period — 1. CC, Westin Michaud 8 (Mason Bergh, Nick Halloran), 7:27 (pp); 2, UMD, Nick Wolff 4 (Jared Thomas, Avery Peterson), 14:23. Penalties — Bench minor, UMD (too many players on the ice), 7:20; Peter Krieger, UMD (hooking), 10:16; Tanner Ockey, CC (cross checking), 12:25; Scott Perunovich, UMD (roughing), 15:05; Joey Anderson, UMD (holding), 18:59.

Second period — 3. UMD, Kobe Roth 2 (Parker Mackay), 18:28. Penalties — Zach Berzolla, CC (holding), 2:46; Blake Young, UMD (roughing), 11:24.

Third period — 4. UMD, Parker Mackay 5, 4:53; 5. UMD, Billy Exell 2 (Jade Miller, Young), 5:33; 6. UMD, Kobe Roth 3 (Justin Richards, Dylan Samberg), 18:08. Penalties — Ben Israel, CC (hooking), 11:49.

Shots on goal — UMD 9-15-21—45; CC 10-4-5—19. Goalies — Hunter Shepard, UMD (19 shots-18 saves); Alec Calvaruso, CC (24-22); Alex Leclerc, CC (21-18). Power plays — UMD 1-of-3; CC 1-of-5. Referees — Geno Binda, Nick Krebsbach. Linesmen — Jon Shaw, Scott Staudte. Att. — 4,651.