DULUTH, Minn. — Taking a 27-day break between games, probably the longest in Minnesota Duluth history, didnt seem to be a huge problem Friday night.
The No. 16 Bulldogs scored the most goals of the season in defeating College Hockey America-leading Bemidji State 5-3 before 3,843 spectators in a nonconference game at the DECC.
That broke a four-game losing streak against the Beavers and a four-game winless streak overall. UMD (7-6-4) ended the first half of the season going 0-2-2, closing with a loss to last place Alaska Anchorage on Dec. 8.
Weve had eight practices and two scrimmages since weve been back, so I think we were ready to play, said sophomore center Jordan Fulton, who had two assists in the decisive third period.
We didnt play well the first two periods, then we finally put a third period together and didnt sit back.
Bemidji State (8-9-2), which had 20 days between games, took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before the Bulldogs rallied. Senior goalie Matt Climie, ranked fourth in Division I with a 1.73 goals-against average, allowed his most goals since a 5-2 loss at Wayne State on Nov. 17. The Bulldogs scored the only two goals of the third period.
UMD goalie Alex Stalock stopped winger Blaine Jarvis on a breakaway during a power play with 6:15 left in the second period and turned away center Matt Pope on a breakaway just as a Bemidji State short-handed shift ended at 8:45 of the third period.
If we couldve scored on that [third-period] breakaway that mightve made a difference, but we played very well overall, Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said. When UMD got that [go-ahead] goal early in the third, they took control. They had more gas in the tank than we did.
Fulton inspired the Bulldogs in the final period with a hit in the offensive zone. Bemidji State winger Tyler Scofield, looking for an airborne puck, was smacked by Fulton and the puck stayed in the zone. Winger Nick Kemp took over, saw wide-open linemate Michael Gergen out of the corner of his eye and made a pass for Gergens fifth goal of the season at 6:00 for a 4-3 lead.
Gergen returned the favor with a pass to a patient Kemp, who skated through the crease for his team-leading sixth goal with 97 seconds to play.
UMD outshot Bemidji State 10-6 in the third period and 30-29 for the game.
The whole night we had the mentality that we had to outwork Bemidji because theyre probably the hardest-working team well play all season, Gergen said. Our most consistent line was Rob Bordsons.
UMD won on Friday for only the second time this season and moved to 5-1-3 at home. It was the first win for the Bulldogs since a 4-2 victory at North Dakota on Nov. 24.
UMD had to survive a first period in which it took three straight penalties, including a checking-from-behind major that put defenseman Trent Palm out of the game. Jarvis scored on a power play for a 1-0 lead, and UMDs MacGregor Sharp countered with a power-play goal with 2:44 left in the opening period.
We did a good job of just giving up one goal in that period, UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. That gave us a lift.
The teams each scored twice in the second period for a 3-3 tie.
Bemidji States second power-play goal, on the first career score from defenseman Graham McManamin, made it 2-1. UMD came back with goals 63 seconds apart from freshman wingers Cody Danberg (his first) and Justin Fontaine (his second). Danberg tucked the puck between the right pipe and Climies left skate at the goal line extended.
Matt Francis tied the game at three with 8:28 left in the second. He poked the puck by Stalock on a hustling play from the left corner.
Kevin Pates covers Minnesota-Duluth for the Duluth News-Tribune in Duluth, Minn.