DENVER — The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs recorded five special teams goals including three power-play tallies and two shorthanded efforts to earn a 6-4 victory over the No. 5 Denver Pioneers in WCHA action before a sellout crowd of 6,094 at Magness Arena.
The Pioneers (20-10-2, 12-8-2) received two goals and an assist from freshman Rhett Rakhshani, while Adrian Veideman and Geoff Paukovich recorded a goal apiece.
“This was a night where we weren’t very good and Duluth was better,” said Denver head coach George Gwozdecky. “Special teams were the difference in the game. Duluth’s power play was outstanding, just as it’s been all year long.”
The Bulldogs (10-17-3, 6-14-2) took a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal late in the first period when Bryan McGregor snuck behind the DU defense and beat a sprawling Glenn Fisher with a backhand at 17:37.
Later on the same DU power play, Rakhshani evened the score on a blast from the low slot. Stationed behind the net, Ryan Dingle made a backhand feed to Rakhshani, who beat UMD netminder Josh Johnson (22 saves) at 18:58.
A pair of power play goals staked the Bulldogs to a 3-1 advantage early in the second period. Raymond gave the Bulldogs a one-goal lead on the rebound of a Matt Niskanen shot at 3:40 before Josh Meyers buried a shot from the slot at 5:05.
The Pioneers closed the gap to one goal on a Veideman wrist shot from just inside the blueline at 8:54 before Rakhshani tied the game, 3-3, on a shorthanded effort at 13:41. Rakhshani intercepted a breakout pass by Johnson at the blueline and walked in alone before shelving a backhand.
Raymond gave UMD a 4-3 advantage after two periods on a shorthanded goal at 15:39.
Paukovich evened the game briefly in the third period off a nifty feed from Mike Handza at 11:54, but McGregor notched what proved to be the game-winner when he beat Fisher (21 saves) at 13:10 off a feed from Niskanen. Meyers added an empty-net goal with two seconds remaining to round out the scoring.
UMD finished 3-for-6 on the power play, while DU went 1-for-9 with the man advantage. The Pioneers outshot the Bulldogs, 28-27.
DU travels to Michigan Tech next weekend while Duluth has a week off before heading up to Grand Forks to play North Dakota.