COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Though the lower seed in this series, the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs proved why they have the fourth best power play in the country, getting two power-play goals to beat the Colorado College Tigers, 4-1, in the first game of the best-of-three series Friday night at World Arena.
The Tigers controlled play early, but they couldnt get anything past Bulldog netminder Alex Stalock (36 saves).
I thought Al made some big saves early, said Duluth coach Scott Sandelin. Theres no question he was good early.
As a result, the Bulldogs got on the board first at the tail end of a five minute power play thanks to a Cody Lampl checking from behind call. About halfway through the period and with 32 seconds remaining in the power play, Josh Meyers unleashed a slapshot from the right face-off circle that beat Tiger goaltender Richard Bachman (35 saves) under his right shoulder.
It happened early and it set the tone and we did a pretty good job killing it for about four and a half minutes until they score but it gave them life; it gave them momentum and life, said CC coach Scott Owens.
Duluth took a 2-0 lead with 1:58 left in the first period when MacGregor Sharps power play shot from the slot beat Bachman five-hole.
The Bulldogs went up 3-0 on another five-hole goal from the slot 7:21 into the second period with Jordan Fulton doing the honors.
CC got on the board with about four minutes left in the middle period in the waning seconds of a 5-on-3 penalty. The Bulldogs cleared the puck out of their zone, but Bachman controlled the clear and quickly dished it to Eric Walsky for the breakaway. Walsky came down the center of the ice, cut to Stalocks right and slid it under the sprawling goaltender to make it a 3-1 game.
Though the Tigers tried to get back into the game, the Bulldogs only furthered their lead with a goal four minutes into the third period when Justin Fontaine beat Bachman high glove side right off a face-off.
The Tigers almost had a goal with 16.8 seconds remaining, but Stalock made a goal-line glove save on Scott McCulloch.
It was huge for us to get the lead and build on that lead, said Sandelin. I thought our [penalty-] killers did a great job, I thought Al came up big on certainly that last save [which] kind of epitomized his night, but you need your best players to play like your best players.
It was there for us to get back into it, said Owens, and it didnt happen. They got better with confidence as they went along and I think their top guys outplayed our top guys tonight.
In the end, you tell them, hey, its one game. You live to fight as a desperate team tomorrow and whatever happens, happens on Sunday. Its not over.
The two teams meet again on Saturday, March 14 at World Arena. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. Mountain.