DULUTH, Minn. — After opening the season with five road games, Minnesota-Duluth opened its home schedule impressively by downing Alaska-Anchorage, 8-1. Backed by a hat trick by senior right winger Junior Lessard, the Bulldogs rolled to a 3-0 first period lead and never looked back.
UMD got the Halloween party started at 3:17 of the first period when Lessard knocked in a power-play tally and then followed up with an even-strength goal at 16:43. T.J. Caig, coming off a three-goal weekend against Minnesota, closed out the first period scoring with another power-play tally. UMD finished the evening with four power-play goals on nine chances.
UMD duplicated the first period by again scoring three goals in the second period. The Seawolves were caught on a line change and UMD goalie Isaac Reichmuth found captain Beau Geisler alone at center ice. The senior defenseman carried across the blueline and slipped a pass to Justin Williams who beat Anchorage goaltender Chris King with a backhander at the 4:11 mark.
Senior UMD winger Nick Anderson was on the receiving end of a fortunate bounce later in the period when Caig’s blast from the point on a power play was partially blocked, but the puck found its way to Anderson’s stick in the slot, where he beat a shell-shocked King. Eighteen seconds later, center Evan Schwabe cut down the right wing and scored high on the short side with 1:21 left in the second period to increase the UMD lead to 6-0.
The Lessard-Scwabe-Tyler Brosz line finished the period with a flurry of shots at the Alaska-Anchorage net and accounted for four goals and five assists for the evening.
“Schwabe has a lot of speed and opens up the play, I can finish and Brosz can doing everything — hit, shoot and pass,” said Lessard about his line. “We didn’t bear down last weekend, but we have been playing together since the start of the year and we have good chemistry. It was nice to see the results tonight.”
Alaska-Anchorage opened the third period with several good opportunities, but Reichmuth stopped Curtis Glencross and Justin Bourne in the first minute. And when things are going wrong as they were for the Seawolves, it was UMD who found the back of the net.
Lessard completed the hat trick after beating King high on the short-side while cruising down the right wing at the 1:03 mark. With Caig serving a slashing penalty halfway into the third period, UMD added a shorthanded goal to close out its scoring. Freshman center Jeff McFarland came down the left wing on a 2-on-1 break and drilled a shot that snuck through the five-hole to give UMD an 8-0 lead.
Alaska-Anchorage finally got on the board while UMD was shorthanded by two men. Penalties on Tim Stapleton for boarding and Neil Petruic for kneeing gave the Seawolves 1:15 of two-man advantage. The Seawolves cashed in with 23 seconds left on the two-man advantage. The puck was loose in the slot and trickled to Chris Fournier at the right edge of the crease where he beat Reichmuth from close range.
Giving up that lone goal with five minutes left in the game was a disappointment to UMD.
“It was tough to give up that goal in the third period, but we knew they were going to come out and wanted to win that period,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “You have to give them credit.
“The guys played well, had a lot of jump and we created many chances and had some good results.”