FINAL: No. 15 Duluth holds off Tigers in high-scoring affair

The letter “D” is not in the words National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

On Friday, there wasn’t much D — defense — on the ice either.

On a night that saw the other two league games feature a combined 30 goals, the contest between Colorado College and visiting No. 15 Minnesota-Duluth followed suit with the Bulldogs holding on for a 6-5 victory.

In other NCHC games, No. 17 Omaha downed No. 20 Miami 11-7 with goalie Evan Weninger awarded the final Mavericks’ goal. The 11 goals is a school record.

No. 12 Western Michigan handed No. 2 St. Cloud State its first home loss by a 7-5 margin, That game featured four goals scored in the final 81 seconds.

Duluth and CC combined for five power-play goals in a penalty-filled contest with UMD getting the decisive edge ( 3 for 6) compared to the Tigers’ 2 for 5 mark at The Broadmoor World Arena.

‘Every time we came back on them we took a penalty and they scored,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “When you get momentum, you cannot give it back, which we did a lot, especially early on. We had done a good job on the PK up until tonight.”

CC junior Westin Michaud, who grew up near Duluth in Cloquet, Minn., trimmed the Bulldogs lead to 6-5 with 12:31 left in the game.

Minnesota-Duluth took advantage of two power plays afterward to run down the clock, setting up a frenetic final two minutes after Tigers goalie Alec Calvaruso (seven saves) was pulled. The freshman started the third in place of sophomore starter Alex Leclerc (18 saves, six goals).

UMD goalie Hunter Shepard (26 saves) was up to the task, making eight saves in the third, including two big stops in the final 2:02.

In the second period, Duluth scored twice in less than two minutes to pull away from Colorado College for a 6-4 lead. The two tallies capped a three-goal middle period for the Bulldogs, who trailed 4-3 after CC captain Tanner Ockey scored two minutes into the second.

“We have to be tighter (defensively),” Haviland said. “The game was wide open. I didn’t mind that we kept coming back. But then we get a lead and then we give it up. When we have momentum, we need to learn to keep it. We took some undisciplined penalties.”

The calls set up a wild first period that ended at 3-3 with Duluth converting two of three power-play opportunities while CC went 1 for 2 with the man advantage.

CC’s Nick Halloran scored twice in the first 14 minutes after he used linemate Mason Bergh and a UMD defender as a screen as he skated across the faceoff dots. He fired glove side and beat Shepard to tie the game at 1-1 with an even-strength tally 6:43 into the NCHC game.

The Tigers took their first lead only 16 seconds later when Kristian Blumenschein banged in a rebound following a shot by Christiano Versich for a 2-1 edge. That lead would not last after Kobe Roth had a UMD shot go in off a teammate’s leg for his first NCAA goal about four minutes later.

CC went ahead by one on Halloran’s second goal, which came during a 5-on-3 power play when he snapped off a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that whistled past Shepard’s glove attempt. That made it 3-2 with 6:13 left, but UMD tied it with a power-play tally by Jared Thomas with 2:54 remaining to tie it heading into first intermission.

 

 

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