DULUTH, Minn. — Minnesota Duluth has provided more than a few memorable moments the past 41 years at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.
UMD reached a milestone Saturday night — its 800th game in the building — and the Bulldogs gave their fans something to cheer about in a 4-0 nonconference win over Northern Michigan before a crowd of 4,312.
UMD’s program is 423-333-44 at the DECC since the rink’s debut Nov. 19, 1966, including a 7-2-2 mark since January.
The Bulldogs (1-0-1) completed an undefeated start to the season in the inaugural Superior Showcase, starting with a 2-2 tie Friday against Lake Superior State . Northern Michigan (1-1) of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association opened with a 3-2 win at Michigan Tech.
Defensemen Jason Garrison and Josh Meyers, and center MacGregor Sharp each had a goal and an assist for the Bulldogs. Sophomore goalie Alex Stalock got the victory and his second career shutout with 21 saves.
“It started with our defensive play, which was great, and Al was great,” said Meyers. “Our communication was good and we felt comfortable making simple chips out of the zone.”
Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle agreed that UMD’s mobile defense was significant in containing the Wildcats. Northern Michigan was also playing with just one senior and was missing two of its top forwards — including freshman center Mark Olver, who received a concussion Friday and had to travel overnight to Duluth from Houghton, Mich., arriving about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
“Duluth checked the heck out of us and we got nothing. You could tell which was the veteran team and was playing from experience,” said Kyle, whose team was 15-24-2 last season and is picked eighth in the CCHA this season.
UMD led 2-0 after one period and 4-0 after two, and led in total shots 27-21.
Northern Michigan hit three goal pipes and never got started, while the Bulldogs picked up where they left off Friday, putting steady pressure on the opposing goalie.
Sharp converted from the right circle on a power play 3:54 into the game and Garrison hit an empty net with an Andrew Carroll pass with 2:55 remaining in the first period.
“We just looked better, more comfortable in all areas,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “We had more poise in making plays.”
In the second period, Kemp got past Northern Michigan goalie Brian Stewart to the near side on a shot from the left circle with 5:50 left in the period. The Bulldogs then scored from a faceoff as Meyers took a Sharp draw with 2:56 remaining. Kyle pulled Stewart at that point to give sophomore Derek Janzen some work.
“Our defensive play was unbelievable,” Stalock said. “We’ve got a list of goals for each game and one is to score first, which we did, and another is to allow 20 shots or fewer [Northern Michigan had 21].”
The Bulldogs open play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association at home this Friday and Saturday against St. Cloud State . Lake Superior State plays at Michigan Tech at 4:30 p.m. today on ESPNU to close the Superior Showcase.
Diminutive center Huffer Christiansen of International Falls helped christen the $6.5 million DECC with six assists in an 8-1 victory over Minnesota before a crowd of 5,700.
That still ranks at the top of the list of notable nights at the DECC, but there have been plenty of others including:
• A sweep of Harvard in the 1985 Division I quarterfinals.
• A total-goals victory over Clarkson in the 1984 Division I quarterfinals.
• A 4-3 win over St. Cloud State secured the 1993 WCHA regular-season title.
• A 5-4 overtime win against Minnesota clinched a 1998 WCHA first-round playoff series.