FINAL: No. 15 Minnesota Duluth blows past Tigers for NCHC series sweep

UMD Roth action

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Minnesota-Duluth dominated the final two periods by repeatedly punching holes in the Colorado  College defense during a 5-1 road victory that clinched a National Collegiate Hockey Conference series sweep.

The Tigers were out shot by a 45-19 margin after leading 10-9 after the first period with the game tied at 1-1.

The game at The Broadmoor World Arena turned against the hosts after CC’s players opted for individual rushes toward the Duluth net instead of dumping the puck deep to set up in the Bulldogs zone. UMD usually disrupted those forays and led to a number of UMD scoring chances in transition.

That tilted the ice in the Bulldogs’ favor with the visitors outshooting the hosts 36-9 over the final 40 minutes.

“We tried to make too many one-on-one moves and it doesn’t work against that team,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “We turned it over instead of putting the pucks behind them and playing to our identity. We played OK in the first. In the second we did not play a smart hockey game and it cost us late in the period there when they get a huge goal late. We cannot do that. We cannot give up that goal that late with juniors on the ice. It’s unacceptable.”

UMD out shot the Tigers by a 15-4 margin in the second to go ahead for good on a tally by Kobe Roth with 1:32 left in the frame. It was Roth’s second goal this weekend and his second as a Bulldog. It came after a CC timeout that allowed Haviland to rest his players and put his better juniors — Mason Bergh, Trey Bradley, Andrew Farny, Nick Halloran and Ben Israel —  out on the ice.

“It was a crucial part of the period there and it kind of backfired,” Haviland said. “We put our top guys on the ice and we turn it over and they score. Big part of the game.”

The barrage continued in the third against CC sophomore goalie Alex Leclerc (18 saves), who stepped in for freshman Alec Calvaruso (22 saves), who suffered a lower-body injury late in the second period but stayed in until intermission with CC trailing 2-1.

In the third period, Duluth pumped in two goals in 40 seconds against Leclerc. Duluth went ahead 3-1 after a shot by Parker Mackay was inadvertently deflected in by a CC defenseman with 15:07 left. UMD pressed forward and Billy Exell scored off a scramble in front with 14:27 left for a 4-1 edge. The BUlldogs enjoyed a 38-15 edge in shots with that score.

Roth scored his third NCAA goal and third this weekend late in the third for the final margin in a rare blowout between the schools. The previous six games were one-goal games or ties.

“I was not happy with our last 40 (minutes),” Haviland said. “We did not play to our identity. That is not who we need to be to win a hockey game. We need to play a smart, simple game.”

In the first period, CC jumped out to the early lead when Westin Michaud scored on a one-timer off a pass by mason Bergh to convert the Tigers’ first power-play opportunity 7:27 into the game,

Duluth tied the game up when defenseman Nick Wolff fired a shot from the point past Calvaruso, who was screened by 6-foot-6 UMD forward Riley Tufte. The tally came with about three seconds left on the Bulldogs’ first power play and with only 5:37 left in the frame.

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About paisleyhockey
I am a freelance writer specializing in sports with 25-plus years of experience.

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