DULUTH, Minn. — Minnesota-Duluth used a seven-goal second period to turn a close, tight-checking affair into an offensive showcase Saturday night, as the Bulldogs beat the University of Regina 9-4 in front of 3,332 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.
Junior Lessard turned out to be UMD’s top dog. The sophomore winger registered a five-point night, scoring one goal and adding four assists.
Bulldog coach Scott Sandelin said his team seemed to gainconfidence as the game went on. The two teams skated to a 1-1 tie after the first period, and the Cougars actually took a 2-1 lead early in the second before UMD started its offensive surge.
“They were moving the puck better [in the second period], they gained confidence, they did good work down low, and the guys got in position to bury pucks,” said Sandelin. “It was fun to see us play with that type of confidence and execution.”
The officials also seemed to play with confidence and execution. Although the game was billed as an exhibition, the two teams forced referee Robin Anderson to work as if it were the real thing. A total of 38 penalties were called throughout the game, and players spent a total of 92 minutes in the box.
Most of the infractions centered on two scuffles that occurred behind the Regina net. One in the first period led to 18 minutes in penalties, while another in the second stanza led to 38. In fact, during the second-period tussle, UMD’s Nick Anderson and Regina’s Ryan Hodgins dropped gloves and helmets for some old-fashioned fisticuffs. However, the two were spared fighting majors and instead each was given a 10-minute misconduct.
A fighting major could have led to Anderson being forced to sit out UMD’s first regular-season game next weekend at Nebraska-Omaha. “He [the referee] made the right call,” a relieved Sandelin said. “I didn’t want to see us lose a guy.”
Regina head coach Bruce Thompson said his team played well in the first and third periods, but believed the penalties helped take his team out of the game in the middle session.
“We didn’t help ourselves in that department,” said Thompson. “Maybe if we could have turned the other cheek at times, we could have gone on the power play.”
However, Thompson says his team didn’t play much differently than Friday night, when it was called for only six penalties in a 2-1 victory at Bemidji State. He believes the referees just interpreted things differently.
Nate Anderson opened the scoring for UMD early in the first period. He connected with Beau Geisler and Tim Hambly for a 5-on-3 power-play goal at the 3:27 mark.
Regina tied it just more than five minutes later when Patrick Schauerte knocked the puck past Bulldog goaltender Rob Anderson.
The Cougars went ahead 2-1 early in the second period, when Graham Hayes scored at the :48 mark. But the lead didn’t even last a minute as UMD tied it back up on Mark Carlson’s goal 34 seconds later.
Minnesota-Duluth took the lead for good when Chad Kolar scored at the 6:03 mark. His tally was followed with goals by Carlson, Nate Anderson, Tyler Brosz, Lessard, and Judd Medak to give the Bulldogs an 8-2 lead going into the final period.
Regina tried to mount a comeback on the back of Lee Schaeffer’s power-play goal at 3:08 of the third period. However, UMD built its lead back to six goals when Luke Stauffacher scored after a Regina giveaway at the 10-minute mark. Regina closed out the scoring with Graham Borne’s goal less than two minutes later.
Anderson and Adam Coole split time in net for UMD. Anderson stopped 10 of 12 Regina shots, while Coole knocked away 16 of 18.
Aaron Schweitzer started the game between the pipes for the Cougars, but was relieved in the third by Rob Muntain.
Overall UMD outshot Regina 42-30. The Bulldogs converted three of their eight power-play chances, while Regina finished one-for-six with the man-advantage.