BY NICOLE BRODZIK | The Statesman While the game didn’t mean anything in the record books, Saturday's over time win over the United States National Under-18 Team showed both reason for concern and promise for the second half of UMD’s season.
The Bulldogs (7-7-3, 4-5-1-1 NCHC) got off to a slow start and were outscored 2-0 in the first period. Adam Fox started out the scoring for Team USA (23-7-1), putting one past UMD goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo after sprinting from the penalty box where he had just finished serving two minutes for boarding. His teammate Clayton Keller added the second tally exactly two minutes later on the power play as UMD’s Austyn Young sat for an interference call.
A number of Bulldog defensive mistakes meant Team USA was able to show off the skills that earned them a 5-1-1 record against NCAA Division I programs this season. A one-timer from the slot by USA’s Kieffer Bellows added to his team’s lead with 3:36 left in the second, sending UMD to the locker room down by three.
“They’re good hockey players,” UMD head coach Scott Sandelin said of Team USA. “They’re strong for their age, you saw that tonight. Maybe we went into this one thinking it was just an exhibition game.”
But perhaps that late-period goal was a blessing in disguise for the Bulldogs as they came out for the third markedly more aggressive – as in, three goals in just over 10 minutes aggressive. Only 18 seconds into the final stanza, UMD forward Dominic Toninato buried the puck behind Team USA’s goaltender Joseph Woll, bringing the ‘Dogs within two.
Just over three minutes later it would be déjà vu for Woll as Toninato scored his second—and the Bulldogs’ second—of the night to make it 3-2 USA. The tying goal came from the stick of Blake Young who evened the score with 9:47 to go in regulation.
The score would stay tied through regulation, earning the teams five extra minutes of overtime hockey. However, it only took 2:42 for Toninato to end the game with his third goal of the night.
While the exhibition match-up didn’t count for points, the Bulldogs next games in Oxford, Ohio against the Miami RedHawks definitely will. Sandelin said he hoped to see more of the play from Saturday’s third period and much less of what he saw in the first 40 minutes.
“We stuck with it and finally started to score some goals and move our feet and do the things we needed to do and we ended up getting the win,” Sandelin said. “We’ve got some work to do this week getting ready for Miami.”