Northland Sports Online

UMD Falls to U-MASS




The University of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team’s quest for a 3-peat came to an end tonight. The Bulldogs took on the University of Massachusetts Minutemen. UMD fell in overtime, 3-2, their first overtime loss in the NCAA Tournament since 1984. The Bulldogs finish the year 15-11-2. This is also the first UMD loss in the NCAA Tournament since 2017, where it fell to the University of Denver in the NCAA Championship game.

“They were looking forward to hopefully advancing to Saturday’s game, but I just told them to be proud of the accomplishment,” said UMD Head Coach Scott Sandelin of his team. “It’s such a difficult thing to do. A lot of those guys, they don’t know this feeling. Sometimes the highs are unbelievable, and the lows are really low, but you can learn from everything so hopefully we learn from this and use it as motivation to get back here next year.”

Freshman netminder Zach Stejskal got the nod in net today, making 25 stops on 28 shots. He finishes the year with a 4-4-0 record, 1.83 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. Goaltender Matt Murray was in net for UMass this evening, making 36 stops on 38 shots tonight. UMD took 38 shots and blocked 29 while the Minutemen took 28 and blocked nine.

The first period consisted of the two teams feeling each other out, finding how to counter the other. The Minutemen found their way onto the board first while on the man advantage. Defenseman Zac Jones took a shot from the point that zipped passed Stejskal’s glove with 4:27 to go in the period. Junior forward Tanner Laderoute got things knotted even with 2:10 to go in the period. Sophomore forward Quinn Olson fired a shot on net and Laderoute was able to corral the rebound behind Murray and put it home. UMD and UMass headed into the second period locked at one a side.

The Bulldogs kept Murray on his toes throughout the second period firing eight shots to the Minutemen’s one in the first 10 minutes. Junior forward Cole Koepke gave UMD the lead just past the halfway off of his own rebound. After getting the puck deep, junior forward Noah Cates made a nice stick lift behind the net and dropped the puck to Koepke, who wrapped around the net and took a shot. He grabbed the rebound and rocketed a shot by Murray’s blocker side for a 2-1 lead. UMD had a 26-11 shot advantage heading into the third period.

The Bulldogs got to work early in the third with a chance coming from senior forward Nick Swaney, who made a nifty puck to skate move and took a back handed shot on Murray, who promptly turned it aside. UMass tied things back at two apiece when a scrum in front of Stejskal caused a rebound to pop out to forward Anthony Del Gaizo 8:25 into the third. The Bulldogs and the Minutemen were headed to overtime.

UMass scored with 5:30 to go in the overtime frame. A puck popped out to the back door where forward Garret Wait was ready to pop in the game winner.

Laderoute and Koepke scored the Bulldogs’ goals tonight, with Olson, Swaney, Cates and freshman defenseman Connor Kelley grabbing an assist each. Swaney took nine shots, senior forward Kobe Roth took five and Koepke took four.

“It’s hard to describe everything we’ve been through these four years,” said senior forward Nick Swaney. “Getting back here every single year, that’s just something that you don’t see a lot and attests to the culture we have here at Duluth. I’m just super fortunate to be a part of so many great teams and so many great groups of guys.”


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