Weekend Sweep over Miami Catipults UMD into NCHC Frozen Faceoff
For the second year in a row, the University of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team is back in Minneapolis for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff with a weekend sweep over the Miami Redhawks.
Coincidentally, the Bulldogs went through the Redhawks last year to get back to the Target Center in the same fashion.
The NCHC first round contest on Friday night featured nine goals between the two clubs and an overtime winner by senior captain Dominic Toninato.
“Larson called a faceoff play and those guys executed it,” said UMD head Coach Scott Sandelin following the OT winner, “Alex did a great job of using his speed and getting to the net and Dom finished it off, obviously huge.”
Saturday night the Bulldogs came out firing on all cylinders. Playing with an intensity that could not be matched by Miami, UMD went into the locker room after the first 20 up 1-0 and leading in shots 16-4. Senior defenseman got things started for the Bulldogs firing home a wrist shot from the slot just 2:49 into the game.
UMD went on to take a 2-0 lead at 8:59 into the middle frame before giving up three straight goals to Miami. Having to rally down a goal with under eight minutes to play in regulation, junior forward Jared Thomas snuck one under the pads of Redhawk goaltender Chase Munroe at 13:25 of the period. Following the equalizer by Thomas, it was all UMD the rest of the way. Senior forward Alex Iafallo broke into the Redhawk zone with speed, cut up ice into the slot and fired a wrist shot just over the glove of Munroe. Toninato put the game on ice with his empty net goal with 1:05 left in the game.
"I really liked out first period tonight," said UMD head coach Scott Sandelin, "We got that 2-0 lead, but we knew Miami wasn't going to go away. They got some momentum after their first goal and they built off that, but there never was any panic on our bench."
The Bulldogs play No. 8 Western Michigan on Friday in the first round of the NCHC playoffs in Minneapolis at the Target Center. Puck drop is 4:08 pm.
Photo of courtesy of Brett Groehler