ESTERO, Fla. — Minnesota-Duluth scored three times in a seven-minute span of the second period, topping Maine 4-1 in the opening round of the Florida College Classic. Michael Gergen tallied the Bulldogs’ first and last goals of the evening to lead UMD to the victory.
With the win, the Bulldogs advanced to Wednesday’s championship game against Cornell, which shut out Northeastern, 3-0, in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
The No. 8 Black Bears scored just 13 seconds after the opening faceoff on a goal from Mike Lundin, but were outshot 18-4 in the first period and then watched UMD rally in the middle frame.
The Bulldogs evened the game at 1:15 into the second period on Gergen’s goal off a feed from senior center Tim Stapleton, then took the lead for good at the 7:02 mark when senior right wing Justin Williams capped off an end-to-end rush with his seventh tally of the year.
“It is a game of momentum and bounces here and there and we did not have either tonight,” said Maine head coach Tim Whitehead. “We were able to score the early goal, but then we took some penalties and Minnesota-Duluth was able to chip away and gain momentum.”
Bulldog freshman left wing Andrew Carroll’s seventh collegiate goal — but first in six games — 71 seconds later made it 3-1. Gergen iced the victory with an empty-netter, his team-leading 11th goal of the season, with 19 seconds left in regulation.
“It was just a great team effort,” said Minnesota-Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin. “Tonight, that first goal woke us up and thought we settled down nicely after that.”
UMD (8-10-3) goaltender Isaac Reichmuth finished the night with 22 saves for his 55th career win. Matt Lundin, the NCAA leader in both goals against average (0.96) and save percentage (.957) coming into the night, made 38 stops for the 11-6-0 Black Bears, who allowed more than three goals for just the third time all season.
On power plays, Maine was 0-5 and Minnesota-Duluth was 0-3 as the Bulldogs outshot the Black Bears 42-23 overall. Tuesday marked the third straight year Maine has lost in the first day of the Florida College Classic.
The meeting was the first between the two clubs in nearly 17 years.
UMD and No. 9 Cornell, which blanked Northeastern University 3-0 in the other Florida College Classic semifinal, will square off for only the second time ever Wednesday night when the puck drops at 7:35 p.m. EST. Their only previous confrontation came on Nov. 28, 1968 at the Syracuse Invitational.
The Black Bears, meanwhile, will face Northeastern at 4:05 p.m. in the tournament’s consolation game.