DULUTH, Minn. — Kenny Reiter’s shutout streak continued, Minnesota-Duluth’s unbeaten streak continued and Alaska-Anchorage’s losing streak continued.
All of that was part of a Friday night WCHA game played before an announced crowd of 6,129 at Amsoil Arena.
No. 10-ranked UMD defeated the Seawolves, 5-0, with the help of 27 saves by Reiter for his second straight shutout and ninth in his career, tying a program record. Senior All-American center Jack Connolly had a goal and two assists to put his career total to 153 points in 136 games, tied for No. 18 in program scoring.
The victory was sparked by three goals in 106 seconds early in the first period, propelling UMD to a 3-0 lead. Sophomore winger Joe Basaraba started it from the slot 4:38 into the game on a Connolly pass.
“You string together a few good shifts, one after another, and then 1-2-3, we have the lead,” said Basaraba, whose goal was his first of the season. “Once that first one went in, we had momentum and pressured them, and you could feel their balloon deflate.”
Freshman defenseman Chris Casto followed 26 seconds after on a drive from the right point on UMD’s first power play of the game, Connolly connected for his 51st career goal. Before the game was seven minutes old, the Bulldogs led by three.
UMD (6-3-2 and 4-2-1 in WCHA) is 5-0-2 the past seven games. Anchorage (3-5-1 and 0-5) has lost five straight games, all in the league, scoring just four goals total in that stretch.
The Seawolves were playing for the first time since Oct. 29
“Our first two or three shifts were good and then we stopped moving our feet,” said Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak. “UMD took advantage that we were rusty and took advantage of our young defensemen (including three freshmen). Boom, boom, boom it was 3-0 and that’s a long hill to climb. We needed to score the next goal, but UMD got it. They’re a very good offensive team.”
After the third goal, Anchorage starting goalie Rob Gunderson was replaced by Chris Kamal. Gunderson had faced seven shots and made four saves.
UMD center Jake Hendrickson’s first goal of the season, from the right circle, beat Kamal with 7:21 left in the opening period.
Shots on goal favored UMD, 15-4, after 20 minutes and 31-27 for the game.
The only other goal came from team goal-scoring leader Travis Oleksuk early in the second period from the top of the right circle with a man advantage. His 11th goal of the season made UMD 2-of-3 on power plays.
“We got good goals at the right time, capitalized on the power play and Kenny stood on his head, again,” said Connolly, who has a point in nine straight games.
Reiter did some rewriting of the UMD record book with a third shutout in four games, including last Saturday’s 4-0 win at Denver. His scoreless streak stands at 161:27, breaking Alex Stalock’s 2009 mark of 147:45. Reiter has followed in the footsteps of older brother, Kevin, a four-year goalie for the Seawolves from 2000-04.
Stalock was the last UMD goalie to have consecutive shutouts, beating North Dakota, 3-0, and Denver, 4-0, in the 2009 WCHA Final Five semifinals and finals.
“Burying our chances early was a blow to Anchorage’s will,” said Reiter. “We dominated for much of the first two periods and then Anchorage had some good pressure in the third. That’s what we’re expecting (Saturday).”
Connolly passed former UMD center Tim Stapleton (152 points from 2002-06) and is tied with Monty Jones (153 points from 1973-77).
UMD has scored 11 straight goals over three games.
“That was a pretty good couple of minutes in the first period; we scored some nice goals on quick shots,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “But we still need to tighten things up. We’re going to need to be better.”