DULUTH, Minn. — North Dakota junior right wing Bryan Lundbohm has certainly had his ups and downs this season. He started the year up, scoring 19 goals in his first 15 games. Then came the down: two goals in the next 12 games.
On Friday night, things came back up again.
The Roseau, Minn., native scored three goals to lead the Fighting Sioux (19-5-5, 14-4-2 WCHA) to a 6-2 victory over Minnesota-Duluth (5-20-2, 2-16-2 WCHA).
Lundbohm said he was happy to get back on the scoresheet.
“You go through streaks like that; it’s kind of nice to get a few goals,” he said.
However, he was even happier to get a victory against a feisty Bulldog squad. “We knew we couldn’t have let up here tonight; we knew Sandy [current UMD coach, and former North Dakota associate head coach Scott Sandelin] would have ‘em ready tonight.”
North Dakota has now won four consecutive games and remains in first place in the WCHA, while the 10th-place Bulldogs lost for the fourth straight time. It was also the third straight loss for Sandelin against his former team.
Sandelin said turnovers and a poor line change were the difference, although he wasn’t disappointed with his team’s effort.
“We had a great forecheck, we created some chances, but we can’t create turnovers [against North Dakota],” said Sandelin. “It’s the way they play, they’re a great puck pursuit team, they hound the puck, they have great speed, and a great transition game, that’s why they win.”
Lundbohm started his scoring with the game-winning goal at 3:31 of the second period. With Duluth’s Mark Gunderson in the penalty box for high sticking, the nation’s top-scoring line connected. Senior center Jeff Panzer first worked the puck to Ryan Bayda, who was postioned to the right of UMD goaltender Rob Anderson.
Bayda then quickly moved the puck to the opposite side of the crease to Lundbohm, who was able to send it into the net before Anderson could get back into position.
That made the score 3-1, but Lundbohm wasn’t done.
His second tally came at the 9:07 mark of the middle session, and was aided by a line change that left very few Bulldogs on the ice. With a lot of open ice between them, senior defenseman Trevor Hammer sent a perfect pass from his own blue line to Lundbohm, who was positioned at the Duluth blue line. Lundbohm then skated in unmolested and lifted the puck over Anderson to make it 4-1.
Lundbohm completed his scoring early in the third period on another power play. Lundbohm fired the puck in from the slot after receiving a pass from Panzer. The Sioux ended up 2-for-5 with the man advantage, while the Bulldogs converted one of six opportunities.
The hat trick gives Lundbohm an NCAA-leading 24 goals on the season, three better than Panzer. Panzer still leads the nation with 59 points.
Yet the puck wasn’t the first thing Lundbohm sent into the Duluth net, Friday.
With his team ahead 2-0 in the first minute of the second period, Lundbohm broke in on the Duluth net with a full-head of steam, and slammed into Anderson, pushing the Bulldogs’ goaltender back against the net and flat on his back.
Anderson eventually got back up, but not before lying on the ice with little movement for several minutes. Lundbohm ended up being charged with a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Duluth scored a power-play goal less than a minute later to cut the Sioux lead to 2-1, but that was the closest the Bulldogs would get.
Quinn Fylling, Bayda, and Pat O’Leary also scored for UND. Senior goaltender Karl Goerhing earned his ninth win of the season, stopping 33 of 35 Duluth shots. North Dakota ended up firing 40 shots on the Minnesota-Duluth net. Anderson was pulled after the Sioux scored their sixth goal; backup Adam Coole played the final 15:19 of the third period.
Judd Medak and Jon Francisco scored the UMD goals. However, Medak’s goal could be his last of the season. The junior right wing left the game with a separated right shoulder suffered after receiving a check in the final minute of the third period.
UMD officials weren’t sure how long Medak would be out. He was taken to a local hospital following the game.
The teams face off again at 7:05 Saturday night.