UMD hockey fans might be having flashbacks to the first weekend of the season. For the second time in two weekends, the Bulldogs won the first game of the series against a Central Collegiate Hockey Association team, but failed to capitalize on the opportunity to complete a sweep.
Taking on the University of Notre Dame in a rare Thursday/Friday series in South Bend, Ind., the Bulldogs earned a 3-1 victory and dropped a 4-1 game before heading home.
After a short week of practice and a Wednesday flight, the Bulldogs captured a 3-1 win in Thursday’s game.
Freshman Cal Decowski started off the scoring, netting his first collegiate goal on a 5-on-3 power play with just three seconds remaining in the first period. UMD took charge of the game at that point.
Senior winger Dan DeLisle scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period and sophomore winger Justin Crandall netted his second goal of the year a few minutes later.
The Fighting Irish did manage to get on the board with a Bryan Rust goal in the final five minutes of the game. The goal broke the potential shutout for UMD freshman goalie Matt McNeely in his first career game.
Still, McNeely was remarkable in his first appearance, earning a win while stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced in the game. Notre Dame netkeeper Steven Summerhays was just 17-20 in save opportunities.
As with Ohio State a week earlier, the Bulldogs had a chance to earn a sweep, but settled for a split as the Irish took a 4-1 victory.
Notre Dame dominated the game almost from the start. The Irish’s T.J. Tynan and Robbie Russo scored goals in the final five minutes of the first, and Jeff Costello quickly added another early in the second to make it 3-0.
UMD’s Tony Cameranesi became the second Bulldog in two nights to score his first career goal, a power play strike midway through the second. But that was all UMD could muster.
Notre Dame’s David Gerths added the game’s final score early in the third and the Irish cruised to a win.
Senior Aaron Crandall started in net for UMD, allowing four goals, but stopping 36 shots. Summerhays had a much better game for the Irish, saving 33 of 34 shots he faced.
Crandall has started three of four games in net this year, but following McNeely’s strong performance Thursday, the competition for the starting spot seems to be far from over.
The Bulldogs will be back at home this weekend for their Western Collegiate Hockey Association opener. UMD faces Wisconsin Friday and Saturday for the final time before the teams relocate to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and the Big Ten Conference, respectively, next season.
BY TOM OLSEN firstname.lastname@example.org