DULUTH, Minn. — Talk about a crazy night at the rink.
Minnesota Duluth’s most one-sided victory of the season came despite missing five players.
The Bulldogs allowed the first goal of the game, then scored the next nine for a single-game season high.
The 9-1 win over Yale before a DECC crowd of 4,871 followed a 2-0 shutout loss at Anchorage last Saturday.
It was the most goals for the Bulldogs in 122 games, since winning 12-0 at Bemidji State on Dec. 7, 2002. It was the most goals in a home game in nearly 12 years.
“When some key guys are out of the lineup, you think you have to step up and contribute. Well, we had the whole team contribute tonight,” said UMD center Matt McKnight, who had two goals and two assists. “The thing we’ve been told to do all season is shoot the puck and go hard to the net. That’s what we did — we threw pucks at the net.”
UMD (4-7-2), tied for fourth in the WCHA, outshot Yale 56-23 and led in total attempts 94-46 while using just three lines because of a depleted roster. The Bulldogs scored on their first three power plays and had a shorthanded goal to gain their first nonconference win of the season.
Yale (1-7), last in the 12-team ECACHL, had a 1-0 lead 8:33 into the game and played UMD on even terms for half the first period.
Then not much went right. Yale had won its first game of the season on Tuesday, at home against Hockey Atlantic leader Mercyhurst, then flew to Minneapolis on Wednesday. It bused to Duluth on Thursday.
“This is a game to forget,” said Yale coach Tim Taylor. “We were beat in every facet of the game, including the skating part of the game. We made a lot of mistakes — inexcusable, basic hockey mistakes. We’re a better-skating team than we showed tonight.”
UMD entered the game shorthanded as coach Scott Sandelin benched five players for a violation of team rules. Out of the lineup was scoring leader Tim Stapleton, No. 3 scorer Justin Williams, and starting goalie Isaac Reichmuth, all seniors, and winger Mike Curry and defenseman Jim Jensen, both sophomores. All were told on Monday that they’d be out at least one game.
Freshman defenseman Josh Meyers was already out after breaking his left arm in practice last week in Anchorage.
That left the Bulldogs with 16 skaters.
“We knew we had just three lines, so we took short shifts and played with more heart than we did (Saturday) at Anchorage,” said UMD winger Andrew Carroll.
“We were ready to play.”
Leading the Bulldogs was McKnight, Carroll with a goal and three assists, and Mason Raymond and Michael Gergen, each with two goals, and Nick Kemp and Jason Garrison, each with two assists. McKnight is a sophomore, the other five are freshmen.
UMD junior Josh Johnson was in goal for the first time since a 5-1 home loss to Bemidji State on Oct. 8. While he faced just six shots in the first period, he made some decent saves before Yale got the game’s first goal. Senior winger Jeff Hristovski connected from the right circle following a face off at 8:33.
The Bulldogs outshot Yale 18-6 for the opening 20 minutes. They tied the game with 5:27 left in the period on a Carroll goal from the crease.
A power play spanning the first and second period led to UMD’s first lead. McKnight drove a shot from the left circle after a faceoff and beat Yale freshman goalie Alec Richards.
The next 15 minutes were a nightmare for Richards. The Bulldogs scored three goals in 2:39 midway through the period, then added another in the last six minutes for a 6-1 lead.
Richards left with 5:54 left in the second period and was replaced by junior Matt Modelski.
Gergen started UMD’s three-goal burst with a rebound goal at 7:30. McKnight followed on a power-play rebound at 9:01, followed by a Raymond shorthanded score from a face off at 10:09.
Raymond later showed excellent speed on a dash to the net for a power-play goal with 5:54 to go. It was his fifth goal of the season.
“We didn’t get selfish or point-hungry. We just got after them,” said Sandelin of his team’s offensive effort. “All we’ve been talking about is bearing down around the net.”
UMD finished with third-period goals from Gergen (his fifth), Bryan McGregor and freshman Adam Davis (his first collegiate goal).
Just 5:45 into the game, referee Derek Shepherd was sidelined with a broken nose when hit by a puck. Assistants Joe Romano and Sean Jacques carried on for a few minutes before Brad Shepherd, Derek’s brother, came in to substitute. Brad Shepherd had refereed an afternoon women’s game at the DECC between UMD and Harvard.