GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Minnesota-Duluth has been looking for a bright spot lately, and they may have found it Friday night in a 5-3 loss to North Dakota.
Sophomore goalie Rob Anderson played an amazingly poised game against a UND offense that can strike fear into the most experienced goaltender. Anderson held UND to five goals after facing 44 shots, and stayed remarkably calm in the face of a number of shot flurries from the Sioux, posting an impressive 39 saves.
“I just wanted to try to keep them under four goals, and keep us in the game,” said Anderson.
Anderson has been sharing goaltending duties with Adam Coole, and Anderson felt that coach Scott Sandelin wanted both to play this season.
“I think coach wants to see us both play, and I think he is waiting for one of us to steal a game,” Anderson said. “I remember playing here last year. [Brant] Nicklin had like six goals put in on him, and then I went in during the third and I just got smoked.”
UND also kept with the recent pattern of goaltender switching. Junior Andy Kollar started for UND and faced a comparatively small number of shots (17). Kollar and Goehring seem to be trading places, as both have managed to put up impressive numbers this year.
The Duluth defense kept the game speed to a slower pace, and that favored the Bulldogs style of play. UND’s offense seemed to have to work to bring the game back to their typical speed.
“We just have to play our own game, no matter what.” said Sioux forward Jason Noterman, who had a goal in the third and narrowly missed another breakaway opportunity just minutes earlier.
UND forward Jeff Panzer, who was first in WCHA scoring coming into this series, also felt that the Bulldogs worked hard to slow down UND’s game.
“They tried to slow it down I think, they didn’t want to get in a run-and-gun game with us,” Panzer said. “When they slow it down, it kind of takes us off of our game.”
Both teams came out shooting early and UND had an opportunity by sophomore Travis Roche, who took a ripping slap shot from the top of the slot, but the puck was gloved by Anderson.
The Bulldogs came back minutes later with another quality opportunity. Ryan Holmstol capitalized on a sloppy line change to turn an odd-man rush on the UND defense. Holmstol got a high shot off from the boards, and it was picked off by Kollar’s glove.
Duluth kept the pressure on the Sioux with good forechecking and solid defense. The Bulldogs had another chance on Kollar with a flurry of shots that had Kollar well out position, and forced him to make a desperate sprawling save to send the puck wide, and clear the zone.
North Dakota scored first however, with a goal from junior Bryan Lundbohm. Lundbohm got his stick on the rebound from linemate Jeff Panzer’s shot from the circle, and popped it over an off-balance UMD goalie. Lundbohm has scored at least one goal in his last five games. Lundbohm was tied for second in scoring for the WCHA coming into this series.
The Sioux struck again just 25 seconds later on a goal from Tim Skarperud, his third of the season. The sophomore fired a wrist shot from the bottom of the circles and beat Anderson for UND’s second goal of the night.
The Bulldogs were not about to let up, and answered 40 seconds later with a Mark Carlson deflection. The puck floated across the crease, and Carlson tipped the puck in just before Kollar could cover the net. It was the first collegiate goal for Carlson, who was moved to forward from defense last week.
The Fighting Sioux were not finished however, and at with just three seconds left in the period, defenseman Trevor Hammer took a shot from the hash marks and beat Anderson through the five-hole.
Duluth opened the second with a goal that capitalized on a two-man advantage situation caused by UND penalties to David Hale and Chad Mazurak. UMD forward Nate Anderson slid the puck past Kollar after catching a pass that slid in front of the crease.
In the third, it was North Dakota that started the action. Jason Notermann had a breakaway opportunity, and had the puck poke-checked away at the last moment, and was denied the goal. He redeemed himself later, scoring a shorthanded goal in the same type of play. After intercepting a pass at the blueline, Notermann got a one-step advantage on the Duluth defensemen, and that would prove to be enough. Notterman charged to the net, and shoved the puck past Anderson for his fifth goal of the season.
“The first time, the puck got poke checked away, so the second time I just decided to shoot, and I got lucky,” Notermann said.
Duluth got the best of Kollar one last time at 15:55 of the third. Jon Francisco scored his second goal of the season on a one-timer from a pass by Ryan Homstol, pulling Duluth within one of the Sioux.
With the score 4-3, and two minutes remaining, Sandelin pulled Anderson in an attempt to tie the game and force the overtime. The Sioux capitalized on the open net however, and at 19:44 of the third, Ryan Bayda netted his ninth goal of the season for a 5-3 lead.