DULUTH, Minn. — Ten pounds of added muscle put Rob Bordson in a better spot to begin the 2009-10 hockey season.
From May through August, the Minnesota Duluth winger was in the school weight room two to three hours a day, four days a week under the watch of strength coordinator Justin May.
Bordson now weighs 190 pounds and after Fridays season-opening 4-3 win over Lake Superior State already has more goals than all of last season. He scored the game winner midway through the second period.
I didnt have the best season last year [with no points in 15 games] and I knew what the weakest part of my game was. I put on more muscle and I feel more confident holding onto the puck, taking hits and being physical, said Bordson, a 6-foot-2 junior from Duluth. I wanted to add some toughness.
The No. 18-ranked Bulldogs were just tough enough to dispose of a formidable opponent from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in the third Superior Cup weekend event before a crowd of 3,869. Lake Superior State , which hails from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, posted a 11-20-8 last season and had tied Duluth 2-2 in the last two season openers.
Before the game, UMD raised a banner commemorating their 2009 Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff championship, which sparked the Bulldogs at the start. Junior winger Justin Fontaine scored power-play goals 80 seconds apart for a 2-0 lead with the first period barely half over. The Bulldogs, 22-13-8 last season, never trailed and led in shots on goal 33-28, but couldnt shake the Lakers. Senior winger Zac MacVoy of Lake Superior State had two assists.
We played outstanding. It came down to UMD finishing off one more play that we did, said Lake Superior State coach Jim Roque. We want to play a more aggressive style this season and made a good start.
The games first five goals came from special teams and the last two were at even strength. Each team was 2-of-6 on power plays. UMD center Jack Connolly assisted on Fontaines first two goals, and then got a pass from Fontaine in scoring shorthanded with 1:46 left in the first period for a 3-1 lead.
The teams exchanged tallies in the second period with Bordson getting a nice pass from Travis Oleksuk, having a shot blocked by a defenseman and then regaining the puck for a goal. Oleksuk was lost later in the period with what appeared to be a knee injury. The Bulldogs were already without winger Mike Connolly, out for the weekend because of a violation of team rules.
Lake Superior State had the only goal of the third period.
Rob has good hockey sense and skill; he just needed to be stronger. You can see how much more confident he is now, said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. We did some good things early, then became hesitant, but we were able to grind out a win.
Sophomore goalie Brady Hjelle of International Falls, following All-American Alex Stalock, got the win with 25 saves and is 2-0 as a Bulldog.
I had some cobwebs at the start, but any time [Lake Superior State] scored, my team picked me up with a goal, said Hjelle.
After the game, Lake Superior State was busing four hours to Houghton, Mich., to face Michigan Tech on Sunday. UMD has today off, but will practice about an hour, before facing Northern Michigan at 7:07 p.m. Sunday at the DECC. Michigan Tech defeated Northern Michigan 5-3 Friday in Houghton.