DULUTH, Minn. — First-year Minnesota-Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin, who took heat in the press earlier this year for cutting some defensive scholarship players, looks to need all the defensive help he can get.
Friday night at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, Sandelin’s Bulldogs were downed by Northern Michigan by a score of 7-1 in front of 3,245 spectators, believed to be the smallest attendance for a UMD home game in 19 years.
With the win, Northern Michigan head coach Rick Comley took sole possession of seventh place all-time in coaching wins. The win was his 556th in 28 seasons, breaking a tie with the great John MacInnes, a pioneer in college hockey at Michigan Tech.
NMU opened the scoring for the Wildcats 4:10 seconds into the game when Chris Gobert netted the first goal of the game shorthanded. It would take Gobert a mere six minutes and another Bulldog power-play to repeat the feat with his second shorthanded goal of the night.
And that was just about it for offense in the first, as NMU outshot UMD 2-1 for the entire period.
In the second period UMD found scoring from local freshman Nick Anderson, a native of Proctor, a small suburb of Duluth, and UMD goalie Adam Coole looked sharp as he had against the University of Minnesota last weekend, keeping the game close with great saves on point-blank shots.
But the third period would be all NMU, as the Wildcats showed why the program is unbeaten in four games. The Wildcats scored five goals in the final period, including another tally by Gobert, who netted his first collegiate hat trick.
“The game was kind of misleading because the score was not [indicative] of the game,” said Comley. “The Bulldogs are a good team, and we finally started to click in the last 10 minutes.”
“They were a tough team and in the third period it was like we didn’t exist,” said Coole. “A lot of us didn’t have our best game, and we have some good, quick guys here who can put the puck in the net, although that wasn’t obvious tonight.”
The game was the first meeting of NMU and UMD since the Wildcats left the WCHA in 1997 to rejoin the CCHA. Both teams meet again Saturday at the DECC.