GRAND FORKS, N.D. — After outshooting North Dakota on Friday, all Minnesota-Duluth had to do Saturday was make sure more pucks went in the net.
The No. 20 Bulldogs (5-4-1, 2-2-0-0 NCHC) rallied for six goals over No. 13 North Dakota (4-5-1, 3-5-0-0 NCHC) to salvage a series split Saturday evening in front of 11,974 at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
“I thought we played a good game last night and we carried that over,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. “It’s nice to get a lead and make that hold up. I thought their guys played well the whole night and it’s nice to see our power play get some goals.”
The Bulldogs’ power-play unit took the lead at 7:28 of the first period as Willie Raskob’s shot deflected off of Joe Basaraba’s skate, leaving the rebound for Alex Iafallo to snipe in past UND goalie Clarke Saunders (10 saves).
But North Dakota capitalized on a power-play advantage of its own minutes later as Dillon Simpson fired a shot form the point at 10:18 to tie the score.
Duluth claimed the lead once again at 17:32 on a 3-on-1 advantage as Adam Krause sniped one in the net on a drop pass from Tony Cameranesi.
“We didn’t play a complete game as we needed to,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “I thought we had to play a really intelligent, compete game. Little bit low on energy and I thought we didn’t manage, obviously, the last two minutes of the first period very well.”
Despite Saunders’ stellar 34 save performance Friday night, the senior goaltender was replaced by Zane Gothberg (16 saves) in between the pipes to begin the second period Saturday.
UND erased its two goal deficit at 7:08 of the second period as Paul PaDue picked up Mitch MacMillian’s deflected shot and fired it past Aaron Crandall to narrow the margin to 3-2.
Duluth secured the lead to close the second period with a goal from Sammy Spurrell at 18:48.
Though much like Friday’s 4-2 result, UND instead found itself on the losing end of a two-goal deficit to begin the third period.
The Bulldogs added to it as Raskob’s pass form the top of the circle found Krause’s stick and went past Gothberg at 6:30 of the third for Krause’s second goal of the game and a 5-2 advantage.
“That was good,” Sandelin said. “It was nice to see some of those guys get some goals. I just like the way our team played – I thought we had a good weekend. A much better weekend than two weekends ago — and that’s what we look at as a coaching staff to keep getting better. And when you play good teams, you get better.”
UND rallied one last goal from Bryn Chyzyk at 14:42 as he skated hard toward the slot and put it in the net five-hole.
An empty-netter from Basaraba with just over a minute left in the final frame secured the 6-3 victory for the Bulldogs.
“I thought we needed to play very intelligent and a full 60 minutes tonight and we would have a chance to win this game,” Hakstol said. “That’s how I still feel. I give Duluth all the credit in the world. They’re a great hockey team and made a lot of good plays, but I don’t think we did everything we needed to do tonight.”
North Dakota matched its eight penalties from Friday, but Duluth spent only 12 minutes in the box — forcing a different end result.
“Especially for a young team to bounce back like that, we didn’t play bad at all last night,” Krause said. “Like I said, they’re a good team. They capitalize on the power play, they have good players. You’ve got to be careful playing 5-on-4 hockey with that team with the D-skill level they have. We kept them more 5-on-5 tonight and that was the difference.”