BY JIMMY GILLIGAN | The Statesman The University of Minnesota Duluth fell 2-1 Tuesday night to Bemidji State in their last non-conference game of the season.
In a makeup game from their season opener on October 9 that was delayed because of a power outage, the Bulldogs had no spark after the first period.
It’s become a common theme for the Bulldogs against their northern Minnesota rival, Bemidji State, as they fell to 0-5-1 against the Beavers in their last six meetings with Tuesday’s loss.
Before that Oct. 9 game, the Bulldogs were ranked No. 2 in the USCHO poll. They are now outside of the top 20 in that poll, though they received 14 votes this week.
“It’s going to hurt us big time in terms of rankings. We needed a win here,” Adam Johnson said.
It was UMD’s third game in five days, but Johnson said fatigue didn’t play a factor Tuesday night.
“I just don’t think we came ready to play. We thought it was going to be an easy game,” Johnson said.
He had the lone goal for the Bulldogs Tuesday night, a power play goal midway through the first period.
It was the second power play goal in three games for the Bulldogs, but it still wasn’t a perfect game on the power play, as UMD went 1 for 4 in the game, including coming up empty handed on a five minute power play in the first period.
“It’s getting better,” Johnson said, of the power play. “Obviously you can’t score on all of them but hopefully we can keep improving.
The Bulldogs held a 14 to 3 advantage in shots on goal after the first period, but they would eventually lose that advantage, being outshot 23 to 13 over the final two periods.
“(We’re) not very happy. I thought we turned the puck over a lot, and gave them two soft goals,” head coach Scott Sandelin said.
The loss broke a three-game winning streak that they had built over the past two weekends. They have 10 days off until they begin their final three straight weekends of National Collegiate Hockey Conference play.
“We just gotta keep working on the power play—we’ve got two really tough opponents coming up that we can’t take lightly,” Johnson said.
With the loss UMD snapped a streak of four consecutive games in which they’ve scored at least three goals. Tony Cameranesi also lost his six-game point streak, but Alex Iafallo, assisting on Johnson’s goal, recorded his fifth point in four games.
“Better, but we need a lot more out of him and some other guys to win games,” Sandelin said of Iafallo. “But I’m happy to see him get some production lately, so we’ll see where it goes.” The Bulldogs will be in North Dakota Feb. 19 and 20 to face the Fighting Hawks, who are tied for first place in the NCHC along with St. Cloud State, UMD’s next opponent after UND.