The University of Minnesota Duluth will engage in its first road series of the young 2017-18 season this Friday and Saturday when the Bulldogs pay a visit to Bangor, Maine for a pair of games with the University of Maine. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (CT) on Friday and 6:30 p.m. the following evening at Alfond Arena (5,125) on the Maine campus.
UMD, which is an even 2-2-2 in 2017-18, went 28-7-7 overall one year ago and finished second in the final National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings at 15-5-4-3. Maine, off to a 2-2-0 start this season, posted an 11-21-4 record in all games last year, including 5-15-2 mark in Hockey East play (11th place).
Both ends of this weekend’s series will be televised locally on My9 (Channel 6.3; Channel 9 on Charter, Mediacom, and Dish Network and Channels 19 and 519 on Paul Bunyan Cable), which has been the Bulldogs’ television home for the last 10 seasons. KBJR-TV sports director Zach Schneider will serve as the on-air talent. The two telecasts are available online at: goblackbears.com/watch.
Saturday’s game will also be aired live on Fox College Sports Atlantic.
UMD and Maine have met on 10 previous occasions, the most recent coming on Dec. 28, 2012 in Estero, Fla, where the Black Bears prevailed 1-0 in the opening round of the Florida College Hockey Classic. The Bulldogs hold a 6-4-0 lead in the all-time series, which began on Nov. 30, 1984.
UMD and Merrimack, a member of Hockey East, met in a first-ever series and the host Bulldogs prevailed 7-2 on Saturday at AMSOIL Arena after the two clubs skated to a 5-5 overtime tie the previous evening. In Friday’s opener, sophomore left winger Riley Tufte scored once and helped set up two more goals (including junior center Peter Kreiger’s game-tying tally with 1:15 to go in regulation) while rookie defenseman Dylan Samberg had three assists. Seven of the 10 goals that night came on the power play (four by Merrimack and three by UMD). In the rematch, rookies Mikey Anderson and Nick Swaney both collected a goal and an assist for the second straight night and senior center Jared Thomas and Parker Mackay and each chipped in three points (all assists). The Bulldogs, who held a 41-22 shot advantage on the night, scored five times in the third period en route to snapping a three-game winless skid.
Maine rebounded from a 7-5 setback to visiting Miami University (of the NCHC) on Friday by throttling the RedHawks 6-3 one day later.
Right winger Nick Swaney was selected the NCHC Rookie of the Week after generated a team-leading four points in last weekend’s non-conference series with Merrimack College. The Lakeville, Minn., native scored once and assisted on another goal in a 5-5 overtime tie Friday and then duplicated those numbers the ensuing night at the Bulldogs rolled to a 7-2 victory. Both of Swaney’s goals — the first two of his young collegiate career — came on the power play. He also had the lone assist on junior center Peter Krieger’s eventual game-winner in the series finale and put six shots on net over the weekend. Swaney is the second Bulldog to be so honored this season, joining defenseman Scott Perunovich, who was the league’s first Rookie of the Week award recipient (Oct. 9)
ROOKIES ON THE RISE
UMD currently possess the nation’s second-highest freshmen scoring class as that group has amassed 22 points on six goals and 16 assists. (Only the University of Massachusett’s rookies, with 28 points, have generated more).
ROOKIES ON THE RISE II
Nick Swaney is tied for second among NCAA newcomers in both points (a team-leading seven) and assists (five). Mikey Anderson has produced the third-most points (sixth) of any rookie defensemen in the country. Swaney, Anderson and defenseman Scott Perunovich each have four power-play points to their 2017-18, which leads all NCAA rookies.
PARDON THE ERUPTION
In last Saturday’s 7-2 takedown of Merrimack UMD scored five times in the final 20 minutes of regulation for its first, five-goal period since Dec. 6, 2008 in a 7-4 triumph at Colorado College.
UMD has outshot its opponents 238-130 this season and that +108 shot differential tops all NCAA I schools at the moment. In addition, the Bulldogs rank third nationally in shots taken (39.67 per game) and are second in shots allowed (21.67).
FIRE AWAY II
UMD sophomore winger and 2016-17 NCHC All-Rookie Team honoree Joey Anderson has put 30 shots on goal thus far, which ties him for the NCAA lead with three other players.
The Bulldogs are unbeaten in the last 16 games that have gone beyond regulation, going 7-0-9 since falling 2-1 to North Dakota on Feb. 19, 2016 in Grand Forks, N.D. That includes a 1-0-2 in three overtimes this season (Only Quinnipiac University with four has played in more overtime games this season than UMD). Just two current Bulldogs — senior team captain Karson Kuhlman and junior assistant team captain Parker Mackay (one each) — have an overtime goal to his collegiate credit.
Karson Kuhlman, who leads all current Bulldogs in career goals (27), assists (35), points (62) and plus-minus rating (+37), has not missed a game since joining the Bulldog program in 2014-15. His active ironman streak of 128 consecutive appearances is the longest in NCAA I hockey at the moment.
HOW SWEEP IT IS (NOT)
UMD has not been swept in their last 20 regular season series since falling twice at North Dakota on Feb. 19-20, 2016. Last year marked just the third time 56 years of competing at the NCAA I level that UMD went through an entire regular season without being beaten on back-to-back nights by the same opponent UMD also accomplished that feat in 2010-11 (when it won its first, and only, NCAA championship) and in 2014-15.
Last Friday night marked the second time this season siblings Joey and Mikey Anderson each scored in the same game (the other came in the season-opening 4-3 overtime win over Minnesota). Prior to this year, the last time a pair of Bulldog brothers potted a goal on the same night was Monty and Rodney Jones at the University of Notre Dame on Feb. 27, 1976.
FIT TO BE TIED
Friday’s 5-5 draw with Merrimack was the highest goal output in a UMD deadlock since the 2010-11 season opener (6-6 at Lake Superior State University).
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Of the 22 UMD forwards and defensmen who have taken a shift this season, only four (freshmen defensemen Matt Anderson, senior defenseman Matt McCormack rookie left winger Kobe Roth, senior center Sammy Spurrell and) are still without a point.
The Bulldogs have given up just one shorthanded goal since Dec. 12, 2015 (a run of 71 games) and that was to Colorado College’s Sam Rothstein on Jan. 6, 2017.
PLENTY OF SENIORITY
The 18 seasons Scott Sandelin has presided over the UMD puck program is the second longest tenure of any NCHC head coach. (Enrico Blassi is in his 19th year at Miami). It also ties him with Mike Sertich (1982-2000) as the longest serving bench boss in Bulldog history. Sandelin currently ranks 15th among all active NCAA I coaches in career victories (he is 317-286-84 overall). Sertich (Sandelin’s predecessor) closed out his 18-year UMD career in 1999-200 with a 350-328-44 lifetime record.
TAKE TO THE BANK
Since falling to host Miami 4-3 in overtime on Feb. 21, 2015, the Bulldogs are 34-0-2 when taking a lead into the third period. They were 17-0-2 in that situation last season and 1-0-0 thus far in 2017-18.
TAKE IT TO THE BANK II
Going back to a 5-4 loss to visiting Minnesota on Oct. 15, 2011, the Bulldogs are unbeaten in 83 of the 85 games in which they have scored more than three goals. The sole two setbacks during that stretch were inflicted by Minnesota State-Mankato on Oct. 17, 2014 in Duluth (5-4 in overtime) and Western Michigan on March 3, 2017 (7-4).
Senior forward Avery Peterson, who spent a season and half at the University of Nebraska Omaha before transferring to UMD in January 2016, turned in the first two-goal night as a Bulldog and the third of his collegiate career last Saturday night.
. UMD has trailed the opposition 16 times at the second intermission since the 2016-17 opener and has suffered only six losses in those outings (5-6-5).
. The three points (all assists) senior center Jared Thomas accumulated last Saturday were a personal single-game high.
. The 2017-18 UMD roster contains two former Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award recipients in sophomore left winger Riley Tufte (2015-16) and senior center Avery Peterson (2013-14).
. The scoreless deadlock with Bemidji State earier this month was UMD’s fifth in 74 years of hockey and the first since March 3, 2007 (against the University of Wisconsin in Duluth). It also marked the first time the Bulldogs had been held off the scoreboard in 108 games going back to Dec. 12, 2015 (3-0 vs. North Dakota). Sophomore Nick Deery’s first career shut out that night came in just his fourth collegiate start and fifth appearance overall.
UMD will begin its fifth season of NCHC play on Nov. 3-4 with a two-game set at St. Cloud State University. The Bulldogs are perfect 6-0-0 in their last six visits to the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
Source: UMD Athletics