DULUTH, Minn. — While goals and comebacks have been in short supply, Minnesota-Duluth did its best to make up for both Friday night to open its final regular-season series.
The Bulldogs rallied twice, sparked by a four-goal second period, to dispose of No. 16-ranked Nebraska-Omaha 5-4 before 5,871 fans at Amsoil Arena.
UMD trailed 2-0 and 3-1 before recording four straight goals, led by Mike Seidel’s consecutive power-play scores on consecutive shots with less than seven minutes remaining in the second period.
The Bulldogs (13-17-5, 9-13-5 WCHA) are 3-1-2 the last six games and have a three-game win streak, matching a season high. And they broke a three-game losing streak to the Mavericks (18-15-2, 14-11-2).
“Winning like this filled our locker room with life and gives us confidence to make a run here the rest of our season,” said UMD sophomore winger Caleb Herbert, who had two assists.
Less than eight minutes into the game, Omaha led 2-0 and it was 3-1 after one period. Just 32 seconds into the third period, the Bulldogs lost Justin Crandall to a five-minute checking-from-behind major penalty – not a good spot for the home team.
Yet the Omaha power play was shut down and 19 seconds after it expired, senior winger Dan DeLisle stuffed home a Herbert rebound. Ninety seconds after that, Joe Basaraba tucked in a Tony Cameranesi pass and the game was tied 3-3.
“We have been playing better the last three weeks and this was another step,” said DeLisle, with eight career goals, and his first at Amsoil Arena in his 100th career game. “Give credit to our special teams, they made the difference.”
Seidel tipped a Herbert power-play drive at the crease with 6:07 to go in the second period for a 4-3 lead and Omaha coach Dean Blais replaced starting goalie Ryan Massa with John Faulkner.
The first shot Faulkner faced went in as Seidel redirected an Austin Farley pass with a backhand attempt in the crease 37 seconds later. A barrage by any standard, but certainly significant in a season with UMD averaging 2.88 goals a game.
The Bulldogs were outscoring the second highest-scoring team in Division I.
“We got behind, but kept positive,” said Seidel, who leads UMD with 16 goals. “When we started getting goals we said, ‘Now we’re going.’ We stressed getting shots to the net on the power play [which is 9-of-24 the last five games].”
Omaha, still battling for home ice for next week’s opening playoff round, scored twice in 40 seconds for a 2-0 lead. Winger Josh Archibald scored from the slot at 6:32 and 6-foot-8 defenseman Andrej Sustr of the Czech Republic followed at 7:12.
Farley scored his 15th goal of the season with 5:10 left in the opening period and later added three assists and has 11 points in a five-game scoring streak. Zahn Raubenheimer’s power-play goal made it 3-1 for Omaha.
“We took some undisciplined [second-period] penalties and [UMD] found a way to get the puck in the net,” said Blais. “I don’t know if the goalies were a big factor on either side, there were just a lot of nice going-to-the-net goals. We worked hard, but we didn’t play disciplined in some areas and missed a couple of backchecks.”
The Mavericks scored 61 seconds into the third period on a Johnnie Searfoss goal, but were shut down in the closing minutes.
Omaha is 2-6 the last eight games and has lost three straight. The win put UMD 8-8-1 at home with one game remaining Saturday night.
“We battled back, took a lead and we closed it out,” said Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin. “That hasn’t happened to us a lot and it was good to see a good effort throughout our team.”