DULUTH, Minn. — History was made Friday night, although not the type most college hockey teams hope to achieve. Minnesota-Duluth and Colgate University skated to a 2-2 overtime tie in the final game of the 2000 Silverado Shootout, marking the first deadlock in the tournament’s three-year history.
UMD took control early in the game, scoring both of its goals less than seven minutes apart in the first period, before Colgate responded with goals in the second and third periods. A crowd of 3,372 watched the game at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.
The tie means both teams ended up winless in the tournament. Western Michigan captured first place, after beating Merrimack, 8-1, Friday afternoon in the de facto championship game, despite the tournament’s preset schedule.
The tie allowed UMD to take third place, thanks to a tie-breaker pre-established by the tournament organizing committee.
Nevertheless, Bulldog head coach Scott Sandelin would have preferred a win. In fact, he believes it was a game Duluth could have won.
“In the first period we played good, but we didn’t even come close to that in the second and third periods,” Sandelin said. “The game is right there to win; it’s just a matter of who wants it the most.”
Along with the 2-0 lead, UMD (4-14-2) dominated play in the first period, outshooting the Red Raiders 14-7. But Colgate (3-11-3) took control after that, outshooting the Bulldogs 21-14 over the next two periods and the five-minute overtime. The teams each ended up with 28 shots on goal.
Colgate head coach Don Vaughan tried to look at the tie as a positive outcome.
“We find ourselves behind in a lot of games, and that takes it’s toll emotionally,” he said. “I’m really proud of our guys to come back, although we would’ve liked to get the win. It’s a starting point.”
Junior center Nate Anderson started the scoring for the host team. Anderson positioned himself directly in front of Colgate goaltender Jason Lefevre as his teammates cycled the puck around the perimeter. Senior winger Derek Derow sent the puck to sophomore defenseman Beau Geisler, who delivered a blistering slapshot that Anderson deflected past Lefevre on the netminder’s stick side. The goal, at 9:02 of the first period, was Anderson’s team-leading 11th of the season.
UMD seemed to gain even more momentum with its second tally. Duluth native Matt Mathias lit the lamp for the first time as a Bulldog, shortly after a faceoff in the Colgate zone at the 15:34 mark. Senior center Mark Gunderson won the draw and the puck deflected toward Mathias, who was positioned in the slot. Mathias responded with a one-timer that beat Lefevre low on the glove side.
The goal was a big relief for Mathias, who had to sit out last season after transferring from Alaska-Anchorage, and has missed time this season due to various injuries.
“It feels really good,” said Mathias. “It was a long time coming.”
Mathias also credited his coach’s advice for helping him end his scoring drought.
“He’s emphasized I should shoot the puck more,” he said. “It paid off, I guess.”
Sandelin believes that’s advice the entire team should heed.
“I’m trying to get everyone to shoot more often,” he said. “For whatever reason, they all have to make the pretty play.”
Another first occurred in the third period, when another Minnesota native, Colgate’s Sam Sturgis, notched his first goal of the season to tie the game at two. Sturgis, who hails from Minnetonka, Minn., whacked a bouncing puck past Bulldog goaltender Rob Anderson at the 7:25 mark. The unassisted goal came in front of about a half-dozen of Sturgis’ family members who attended the game.
For the record, the goal was unassisted, but Sturgis thought otherwise.
“The puck just happened to be there, and I was in the right place at the right time,” he said, “I give a lot of credit to my linemates; they worked hard.”
Sturgis has also worked hard recovering from a left wrist injury. Friday’s game was his second after he missed six games earlier in the season.
Senior right wing Sean Nolan scored the Red Raiders’ opening goal at 10:15 of the second period. Left winger Chad MacDonald sparked the play after firing the puck off of the end boards behind the UMD net. The puck then ricocheted directly toward Nolan, who fired a slapshot over a sprawling Rob Anderson.
The two teams failed to convert on any of their power-play opportunities in a game that saw only one penalty before the third period. Things heated up from there, when a total of 30 minutes worth of penalties were called, most of those after a fracas in front of the UMD bench late in the period.
Despite neither team getting a win in the weekend tournament, they were able to supply the defensemen to the all-tournament team. The media selected Colgate senior captain Cory Murphy and UMD’s Jesse Fibiger to the squad.
Colgate plays another nonconference game Saturday, January 6, at home against Mercyhurst. The Red Raiders return to ECAC action January 12 at Dartmouth. Meanwhile, Minnesota-Duluth resumes its WCHA schedule next Friday and Saturday, when it hosts St. Cloud State in a two-game series.