DULUTH, Minn. — Getting off to a fast start was critical for Minnesota-Duluth on opening weekend, considering its schedule the next month.
The No. 13 Bulldogs are on the road three of the next four series, including at No. 14 Notre Dame this week and No. 4 North Dakota on Nov. 16-17.
A four-goal win Friday provided impetus for a nonconference rematch Saturday at Amsoil Arena with Ohio State, but the Bulldogs never held the lead as Ohio State won, 3-2, before a crowd of 6,043.
While Minnesota-Duluth (1-1) appeared to have momentum after a two-goal second period, it was Ohio State’s young team scoring the only goal of the final period.
“Our first period was flat; it was the opposite of Friday,” said Bulldogs assistant captain Drew Olson. “The second period was better, but we didn’t carry that over, we didn’t capitalize.”
Sophomore winger Max McCormick, an offensive leader, scored in a two-on-one rush at 6:56 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie for the Buckeyes (1-1). The Bulldogs thought they had taken the lead three minutes earlier, but an apparent Derik Johnson goal was disallowed when Adam Krause was called for being in the crease. NCAA rules say that attacking players are allowed to be in the goal crease as long as they don’t visually or physically prevent the goalie from defending the goal.
Freshman goalie Collin Olson of Apple Valley, Minn., stood his ground the rest of the way, as Minnesota-Duluth led 28-21 in final shots on goal. It was his first collegiate start and win.
“We came out with a purpose and we moved our feet,” said Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki, who said Friday his team was overwhelmed by UMD’s speed. “Even after the second period, I thought we were still playing well; we had to kill off 10 straight minutes of penalties, and Collin was good.”
The Buckeyes looked considerably better in the rematch and scored twice in the game’s first 10 minutes for a 2-0 lead after one period. Senior winger Alex Carlson, of Farmington, Minn., connected on Ohio State’s second shot on goal at 4:16 and a turnover at neutral ice put center Tanner Fritz in for an unassisted score at 9:59. That came just after a five-minute major penalty on Travis Statchuk expired.
Although the first-period shots on goal were 7-7, the Bulldogs and goalie Aaron Crandall had a bumpy ride.
Coach Scott Sandelin had a talk with his troops between periods, and it made an impact. The Bulldogs outshot Ohio State, 13-3, in the second period and scored the only two goals, both on power plays, to forge a 2-2 tie.
“After a slow start, we showed some flashes of good things; we came out with some fire in the second period,” said UMD winger Joe Basaraba. “But we didn’t have that three or four shifts in a row where we just hounded the puck. We didn’t have our best game.”
Basaraba crushed a shot from the right circle that went high past Olson with 8:09 left in the period. Basaraba, with two goals in two games, missed a wide-open net with 4:25 left in the period, on a power play, when the puck was caught between his stick and his skates and he was handcuffed. The Bulldogs made good with 36.7 seconds remaining when defenseman Chris Casto’s drive from the high slot was tipped by winger Mike Seidel for his third goal of the series.
Five straight penalties by Ohio State to close the second period put the Buckeyes on their heels. They didn’t get their first shot on goal of the second period until 6:21 remained.
A no goal and then a goal spelled the difference at the end.
“We missed some opportunities, there wasn’t much pace to the game for us, and Ohio State was stronger in the puck battles,” said Sandelin. “Some of our guys didn’t show up, and I’m excluding our freshmen. We had some passengers.”
The Bulldogs were seeking a season-opening sweep for the first time in 16 years, since beating Ferris State 3-0 and 5-3 in 1995-96 at the DECC. (UMD did win its first two games of 2001-02, but against two opponents, Nebraska-Omaha, 5-2, and Michigan, 3-2, so not technically a sweep).
The Bulldogs next travel to South Bend, Ind., for a Thursday-Friday series with Notre Dame. The arrangement was made to avoid conflicting with a Notre Dame home football game versus Brigham Young this Saturday.
Notre Dame met Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday night for the Icebreaker Tournament title in Kansas City, Mo.