Bulldogs hang on for gritty 3-1 win over Minnesota State

Junior forward Parker Mackay fires a shot at the Mankato net. Photo courtesy of Terry Norton

Junior forward Parker Mackay fires a shot at the Mankato net. Photo courtesy of Terry Norton

In the first game of an extended series with former Western Collegiate Hockey Association rival No. 8 Minnesota State University-Mankato, the Bulldogs battled their way to a 3-1 victory to improve to 7-6-2 on the season.

After being sidelined for the last six games with an injury, freshman forward Nick Swaney got the ball rolling tonight for the Bulldogs in his first game back in action. The Minnesota Wild draft pick fired home a wrist shot from just inside the right faceoff circle to make it 1-0 UMD at 12:22 of the opening period. Junior forward Peter Krieger was rewarded with his fourth goal of the season after instinctively crashing to the net to bury a rebound out front that beat senior Maverick net minder 5-hole with 10.2 tics left in the first period.

Taking a 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes of play, the Bulldogs hunkered down and fought admirably in the third period. Killing off an ill-timed hooking penalty by freshman defenseman Scott Perunovich that featured a Karson Kuhlman breakaway, the Bulldogs momentum shifted dramatically. 

With 1:37 left in regulation the Bulldogs got the insurance goal they needed. Sophomore forward Riley Tufte backhanded a rebound home off a shot from the point by the senior captain Kuhlman.

"They are not an easy team to play against. It was just one of those games where it wasn’t our best game but our guys found a way to win," said UMD Head Coach Scott Sandelin. "I thought Shepard was great and our best player was our goalie, no question. It was a good win for our club against a good team."

UMD's penalty kill was firing on all cylinders as they blanked the Mavericks in the special teams column killing off all three Minnesota State attempts. The Bulldogs also went 0-2 on the man advantage tonight.

"It was timely penalty killing in the third when it was a one goal game. We put a lot of effort into it all week. I was proud of our group tonight we had a good week of practice and it showed," Kuhlman said.

The final game of the series will be featured Tuesday Jan. 23, 2018 in Mankato. UMD plays host to No. 1 Denver University next weekend.