Bulldogs blank Miami, sweep series

Hunter Shepard had 34 saves in Saturday’s 3-0 home victory over Miami University. Dave Harwig / UMD Athletics

Hunter Shepard became a part of University of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey history Saturday night.

The sophomore goaltender became the first Bulldog to ever shut out a visiting club on consecutive nights and backstopped No. 11 UMD to a 3-0 National Collegiate Hockey Conference victory over Miami University at AMSOIL Arena.

Shepard, who made 16 saves in UMD’s 4-0 takedown of the RedHawks on Friday, experienced a much heavily workload in the series opener as the finished with 34 stops — including 29 in the final two periods — while posting his fifth shut out of the season, which equaled a program record. He joined Kasimir Kaskisuo (Nov. 20-21, 2015 at Colorado College) as the only two UMD puckstoppers to hold the opposition scoreless twice in a home series.

“I thought ‘Shep’ was the difference tonight,” said UMD head coach Scott Sandelin. “We needed what we needed to do an it ended up being a big win for us.”

Senior center Jared Thomas gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead midway through the first period by scoring on a breakaway for his career-high seventh goal of the season. That one-goal advantage held up until the 13:47 mark of the the third period when Nick Wolff wristed in a shot from the point. The sophomore defenseman now has collected eight of his 22 career points against the RedHawks. Sophomore right winger Joey Anderson iced the victory with an empty net goal with 24 seconds to go.

UMD, which improved to 16-13-3 overall and 10-10-0-0 in the NCHC, extended its streak of consecutive penalty kills to 36 by holding the RedHawks (10-17-3; 5-13-2-0 NCHC) off the board on both of their power play opportunities.

The Bulldogs, who are unbeaten in their last 11 games against Miami at AMSOIL Arena (10-0-1), will be at NCHC rival Western Michigan University next Friday and Saturday (Feb. 23-24) for their final two road assignments of the 2017-18 regular season.

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