There’s been little to choose between Minnesota Duluth and Nebraska-Omaha since the schools renewed a rivalry as Western Collegiate Hockey Association members the last two years.
Entering Saturday’s league series opener, they had split four games and were separated by two goals.
Coaches, and close friends, Scott Sandelin of UMD and Dean Blais of Omaha looked to break that tie in front of a crowd of 6,022 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.
Another close decision favored Omaha 3-2 as Michael Young scored on a power play with 7:48 to play to break a 2-2 tie.
The left No. 20-ranked UMD (2-4-1 and 0-2-1) with a four-game winless streak at 0-3-1. Omaha (5-3-1 and 3-1-1) has won three straight games.
The Bulldogs fell behind 2-0 in the game’s first six minutes and then rallied.
“We hadn’t played in two weeks, and we can’t use that as an excuse, but after we got going we played well,” UMD senior winger Mike Seidel, who had a goal, said by phone. “I thought we outplayed them (after the opening minutes). We put on a lot of offensive pressure.
“We climbed back in it and then, at the end we got hurt by penalties. We have to play 60 minutes.”
The teams traded goals in the first period for a 2-2 tie. The Mavericks scored twice in the first six minutes as team goal-scoring leader Josh Archibald connected at 38 seconds and Ryan Walters followed on a power play at 5:35 against freshman goalie Matt McNeely in his third straight start.
After going without a shot on goal for nearly the first seven minutes, UMD got a spark during a 5-on-3 power play. Seidel’s fourth goal of the season came with 5:59 left in the period as freshman Tony Cameranesi made a pass to the slot. Seidel connected over the glove of goalie John Faulkner for his 34th career goal. With 23 seconds left in the period, on a power play, Cameranesi put a shot over Faulkner’s shoulder to even the score
A scoreless second period favored UMD in shots on goal 18-8. However the Bulldogs lost sophomore defenseman Derik Johnson to a game misconduct for a facemask major penalty with 1:41 left in the period.
The Mavericks started the third period with three straight minutes of a power play because of Johnson’s penalty, yet UMD kept the game tied. However, a checking-from-behind major to UMD’s Adam Krause led to Young’s winning goal.
The Bulldogs lead WCHA teams in penalty minutes.
“You can’t put yourself in that position, losing two players,” Sandelin said by phone. “That came back to bite us, and probably tired us out.
“We spotted them two goals and then after we woke up, we played a good game. Our power play was good and 5-on-5 we played well.”
Omaha led 11-4 in shots on goal in the third period helped by nearly eight power-play minutes. The Bulldogs, who led in final shots 32-25, were playing for the first time in 14 days, since a 2-2 tie at home with Wisconsin on Oct. 27. Faulkner remains unbeaten at 5-0-1.
The teams finish the series at 2:07 p.m. today. Omaha finishes the regular season March 8-9 against UMD at Amsoil Arena.
Minnesota Duluth……………. 2-0-0—2
First period — 1. Nebraska-Omaha, Josh Archibald 6 (Ryan Walters, Dominic Zombo), :38; 2. Nebraska-Omaha, Ryan Walters 2 (Andrej Sustr, Michael Young), 5:35 (pp); 3. UMD, Mike Seidel 4 (Tony Cameranesi, Wade Bergman), 14:01 (5×3 pp); 4. UMD, Tony Cameranesi 3 (Justin Crandall, Bergman), 19:37 (pp). Penalties — Cameranesi, UMD (tripping), 4:56; Caleb Herbert, UMD (slashing), 8:10; Andrew Schmit, Nebraska-Omaha (hooking), 12:08; Aneloski, Nebraska-Omaha (cross-checking), 12:51; Johnnie Searfoss, Nebraska-Omaha (tripping), 17:52; Johnnie Searfoss, Nebraska-Omaha (tripping), 17:52..
Second period — No scoring. Penalties — Aaron Pearce, Nebraska-Omaha (interference), 1:51; Cody Danberg, UMD (hooking), 11:31. Derik Johnson, UMD (5-minute facemasking, game misconduct), 18:19; Matt White, Nebraska-Omaha (roughing), 18:19; Jaycob Megna, Nebraska-Omaha (roughing), 18:19; Drew Olson, UMD (roughing), 18:19.
Third period — 5. Nebraska-Omaha, Young 3 (Zombo, Sustr), 12:12 (pp). Penalties — Adam Krause, UMD (5-minute checking from behind, game misconduct, served by Austin Farley), 9:50; Archibald, Nebraska-Omaha (high-sticking), 13:17.
Shots on goal — UMD 10-18-4—32, Nebraska-Omaha 6-8-11—25. Goalies — Matt McNeely (1-2-1), UMD (25 shots-22 saves); John Faulkner (5-0-1), Nebraska-Omaha (32 shots-30 saves). Power plays — UMD 2-of-5, Nebraska-Omaha 2-of-6. Referees — Derek Shepherd, Marco Hunt. Linesmen — Chad Evers, Scott Fitzpatrick. A — 6,022.