DULUTH, Minn. — No. 12 Minnesota-Duluth continued its unbeaten start to the WCHA schedule by defeating Alaska-Anchorage, 5-1.
Senior winger Junior Lessard extended his goal scoring streak by following up his Friday night hat trick with two goals in the rematch. He now stands at eight goals in seven games played for the season.
Lessard attributes his early season success to his linemates and “being in the right spot at the right moment. When I shoot the puck, it is finding its way in right now.”
Lessard opened the scoring as he did on Friday night, but instead of waiting three minutes, he connected at the :23 mark on Saturday. Lessard had several jabs at a rebound before finally pushing it into the net to give UMD a 1-0 lead.
Alaska-Anchorage answered a little over halfway through the first period when team scoring leader Chris Fournier scored his fourth goal of the season with assists to linemates John Hopson and Ales Perez.
But just when it seemed the Seawolves would get out of the period with a tie, UMD registered a power play goal by senior captain Beau Geisler, who scored on a blast from the right point. UAA goaltender Kevin Reiter never saw the puck as he was screened by Bulldog winger Nick Anderson. UMD led 2-1 after one period and also held an edge in shots, 12-4.
The Seawolves came out with a renewed effort in the second period, but it was the Bulldogs who found their scoring touch around the net. Junior Tyler Brosz backhanded in a rebound of a Lessard shot and UMD led, 3-1.
UMD continued to pepper Reiter in the third period, and it reaped dividends at the 2:47 mark. Winger Josh Miskovich carried in on the left side and left a drop pass to senior Jesse Unklesbay who finished from the high slot. It was the first goal of the year for the former UAA player who had transferred to UMD after the 2000-01 season.
Lessard closed out the scoring with a power play goal after Perez was whistled for an elbowing penalty. UMD defenseman Steve Czech and center Evan Schwabe played catch with the puck on the right side before Schwabe quickly fed Lessard, who one-timed a shot off the cross bar for the 5-1 final.
UMD outshot the Seawolves, 34-20.
The Bulldogs have started slowly in the league the past several seasons, but Geisler attributes the difference this year to “all the hard work in the off-season. Our team is really together, like we were at the end of last year when we were winning.
“We have gelled, and it is great to start in the league strong instead of starting at the bottom at working our way up.”
Minnesota-Duluth hosts unbeaten St. Cloud State for a pair next weekend, while Alaska-Anchorage visits Minnesota State.