COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The night after a 1-1 tie, one typically expects a similar style game the next night.
However, Saturday night’s game was anything but a tight, low-scoring affair, as the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs beat the Colorado College Tigers, 7-4, at World Arena.
“With the way that game was going, you never felt safe,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin.
The first period was, in many ways, the calm before the stormy latter periods with only one goal. The Tigers took the first lead of the game 6:41 in when Stephen Schultz took a pass from Chad Rau at the right faceoff dot, spun around and shot it past Bulldogs’ netminder Alex Stalock (39 saves).
The second period, however, was a seven-goal affair that started off just 33 seconds in when Rau fired a puck from the low slot past Stalock to put CC up 2-0.
Just 19 seconds later, Jordan Fulton skated down the other end of the ice and snapped a shot from just inside the left faceoff circle past Tigers’ goaltender Richard Bachman (13 saves).
“We got a 2-0 lead, the shots were 18-4 and then we turn the puck over on the offensive blue line and they’re off to the races and it all kind of snowballed from there,” said CC coach Scott Owens.
The Bulldogs tied it up on a power-play goal four minutes into the second when Justin Fontaine knocked in a Mike Montgomery rebound from the slot.
Four minutes after that at 7:51, CC retook the lead on Schultz’s second of the game. The sophomore carried the puck into the Bulldogs’ zone on the far side, cut in front of the crease and roofed it high over Stalock’s glove.
The Bulldogs got a chance to tie the game back up halfway through the second when CC’s Ryan Lowery got five minutes and a game misconduct for checking from behind, putting the Tigers down two men, as Mike Testwuide was already in the box for kneeing.
On the ensuing five-on-three, UMD did indeed knot the game at three apiece at the 10:40 mark of the period when Evan Oberg fired a shot low stick-side on Bachman from the right circle hashmarks.
“The five-minute major, we’re already very, very thin at defense the way it is, basically playing five-and-a-half defensemen and then he gets the boot,” said Owens. “Their power play is sixth in the country and one thing led to another.”
UMD went up 4-3 with 3:32 left in the period when MacGregor Sharp got the puck at center ice thanks to a CC blind pass, skated it down the far side boards and effortlessly wristed a shot from the hashmarks top shelf over Bachman’s shoulder.
A minute-and-a-half later, Duluth went up 5-3 on the final goal of the second period on a short-handed tally. Bachman made the initial save on a Sharp shot, but the puck popped out to his left and Nick Kemp was there to knock in the rebound.
Owens replaced Bachman with senior Drew O’Connell (10 saves) in the third period, hoping to jump-start his team, but the Bulldogs kept rolling. Fulton scored his second of the game 4:17 into the final frame, wristing a shot high glove side on O’Connell.
“It’s not [Bachman's] fault, it’s everyones fault,” said Schultz. “It’s a team; you cant go out and blame one guy. Everyone’s accountable for the game. It’s not just one guy playing out there.”
The Tigers cut the lead to two on a power-play goal at 6:21. Schultz fired a pass across the high slot to Gabe Guentzel, who one-timed it past Stalock to make it 6-4.
However, UMD wasn’t done. Kyle Schmidt became the sixth Bulldog to score when he wristed a shot high glove-side on O’Connell with 8:44 to play in the game.
“I thought we had a real poor first period and we got out of that period 1-0,” said Sandelin. “I think our guys showed a lot of character and obviously we went down 2-0, we got a big goal and lift and kind of lit a spark and [then] a wild second period. We got the tie, then they got the lead and then we get two more and get that fourth goal.”
“Give Duluth some credit,” said Owens. “They’ve got a nice mix of size, and old and young and skill, their power play was good, their penalty killing was good enough and Stalock was strong back there.”