UMD looks sharp in 3-0 NCHC home debut over Western Michigan

UMD freshman defenseman Dylan Samberg battles in front of the Bulldog net

UMD freshman defenseman Dylan Samberg battles in front of the Bulldog net

The University of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team (5-4-1) opened its National Collegiate Hockey Conference home debut on a high note blanking No. 18 Western Michigan (5-4-2) 3-0 tonight.

Junior forward Peter Krieger got the ball rolling for the Bulldogs in the first period when he fired home a one-time shot from the slot off a pass from below the goal line by freshman forward Kobe Roth.

A scoreless middle frame set up nicely for the Avery Peterson show in the final 20 minutes of play. The senior forward extended the Bulldogs lead to 2-0 after a smooth toe drag around a Western defender freed up enough space to release a blistering snapshot past sophomore goaltender Ben Blacker. 9:38 later the Grand Rapids native put the game on ice tipping in a backdoor pass from sophomore defenseman Nick Wolff on the power play. UMD went 1-for-6 on the man advantage tonight.

“We played better above the puck in the third period, I thought we took care of the puck better, we weren’t running around I thought structurally we played well in our system and certainly the third goal helped, it took some of the pressure off,” said UMD Head Coach Scott Sandelin.

Sophomore netminder Hunter Shepard posted his second shutout of the season tonight stonewalling all 22 shots he faced in the contest. Shepard looked spectacular at times stopping several shots from point blank range including denies on two breakaways.

"I think I just felt kind of calm tonight, pucks weren't missing the net by much and I was just feeling good out there. I wasn't chasing pucks," Shepard said.

The Bulldogs looked sharp on the penalty kill playing smart defensively and attacking when they needed to. Seven of Western’s 22 shots came on the power play which was outperformed by UMD’s 11 man advantage shots. The Bulldogs poured on 38 total shots in matchup.

UMD goes for the series sweep over Western Michigan tomorrow night when they retire Bulldog great Curt Giles number. Puck drop set for 7:07 p.m. from Amsoil Arena.


Photo courtesy of Terry Norton