There were a lot of firsts this weekend for the UMD men’s hockey team. It was the first series in the new conference, the first road trip of the year, and freshmen Alex Iafallo and Kyle Osterberg scored their first collegiate goals as the Bulldogs split with Colorado College. Friday night might have been a case of first-road-trip jitters, with the Bulldogs struggling to maintain pressure throughout the matchup.
Tiger forward Charlie Taft drew first blood less than six minutes into the first period and Peter Maric made it 2-0 with a goal in the second.
“We started slow Friday, but as the game went on we got a little bit better, played with some desperation in the third,” said assistant coach Derek Plante. “They scored on their chances and we couldn’t score. That cost us the game.”
That desperation included a quick Bulldog goal as sophomore Austin Farley pulled his team within one 1:57 into the third. But for UMD it was too little too late and the Tigers tacked on a late goal to take the game 3-1. Saturday night was a different story.
Iafallo scored his first of two goals at the end of the first period Saturday to put UMD ahead 1-0. Justin Crandall added a tally midway through the second, but the Tigers scored what would be their only goal of the contest three minutes later. Crandall restored UMD’s two-goal with a power-play score to start the third period.
Senior goaltender Aaron Crandall received his first start of the year Saturday and had a light workload with the Bulldogs outshooting the Tigers 44-14.
UMD’s penalty kill continued to be a bright spot on the weekend. The Bulldogs allowed one goal in 12 Tiger power plays.
“We have guys that are willing to pay the price, that are willing to block shots,” Plante said. “Adam Krause and Justin Crandall were our lead killers last year and have carried it over to this year really well. All our other guys have bought in and are really sticking with the game plan.”
The Bulldogs scored three unanswered goals in the first nine minutes of the final frame to seal their first NCHC division win. Iafallo and Crandall ended the night with two goals apiece, while Osterberg added an insurance goal to make the final score 5-1. UMD’s freshman class combined for six points in Saturday’s matchup.
“I think we’ve been adjusting really well,” Osterberg said. “(We) freshmen have finally gotten our feet wet. It was a good first away series for us, good to get so many of us on the board. Now we’ve just got to keep things rolling and see how it goes.”
UMD (2-1-1, 1-1-0 NCHC) takes on second-ranked Notre Dame this weekend at AMSOIL Arena.
BY NICOLE BRODZIK firstname.lastname@example.org