Bulldogs advance to second straight NCAA Frozen Four with 2-1 victory over Air Force

Jade Miller battles in front of the UMD net. Photo courtesy of Jim Rosvold

Jade Miller battles in front of the UMD net. Photo courtesy of Jim Rosvold

Take it to the bank. For the second season in a row the University of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team is headed back to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Frozen Four after its 2-1 triumph over Air Force.

The Bulldogs scored both of their goals just 3:09 apart in the first period. Sophomore forward Joey Anderson was able to get enough on the puck to back hand a rebound home just outside the Air Force net at 9:03 of the period. Sophomore defender Nick Wolff netted his seventh goal of the season after Eagan, Minnesota native received a cross ice pass from sophomore center Jade miller and fired a snapshot right where grandma hides the cookies: top corner.

With UMD unable to deliver the knockout punch on the Falcons, Air Force kept the Bulldogs at bay for the rest of the game making the necessary adjustments to keep UMD at two goals.

The Bulldogs hung on to their 2-0 lead until the 13:44 mark of the third period when Evan Giesler banked a puck off sophomore goaltender Hunter Shepard on the power play from below the goal line.

With 1:42 left in regulation the Falcons pulled their goaltender, Billy Christopoulos, and left everything they had on the ice but were unable to find the back of the net before the final horn.

“We had a great start to the game, obviously our first period was good, things tightened up after that, but we held on and it was kind of the game we expected moving forward. I’m really proud of our guys coming out early and getting that lead.”

For the second night in a row, the Bulldogs kept their opponent shot-less for a period. UMD poured on 14 first period shots while Air Force didn’t register its first shot on net until the 3:56 mark of the second period. The Bulldogs finished the game with 26 shots on net compared to the Falcons 12.

This is the sixth time UMD has qualified for the Frozen Four. They return to the venue and city where they won their one and only national title at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota April 5-7.

The Bulldogs will have to wait until Sunday night to see who they play in the semifinal round. It’ll either be a rematch of last years national championship with Denver or a rematch of last years NCAA West Regional semifinal with Ohio State.