UMD Takes Down Western Michigan 5-2 to Advance to NCHC Frozen Faceoff Championship
The University of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team skates on to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Face-off championship game after knocking off Western Michigan tonight 5-2.
Things got interesting early as freshman forward Riley Tufte took a tripping penalty just 1:24 into the game followed by senior defenseman Brenden Kotyk getting called for the same infraction just 52 seconds later. UMD would prevail on the 5-on-3 penalty kill and escape unharmed.
“It wasn’t scripted that’s for sure,” joked UMD head Coach Scott Sandelin, “but our killers did a great job. They were aggressive and didn’t give them too many opportunities, it’s not an ideal way to start but that gave us a little bit of a lift killing that off.”
Senior forward and captain, Dominic Toninato, got the scoring started tonight as he buried a rebound out front to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead after senior forward Alex Iafallo walked in untouched and fired a backhand shot on net. Western would tie the game 3:25 later. However, the tie wouldn’t last as senior forward Kyle Osterberg just 24 seconds later giving the Bulldogs the lead yet again at 2-1.
The Bulldogs would go on to score three more times before the final horn with goals coming from senior forward Alex Iafallo, sophomore forward Parker Mackay along with junior forward Jared Thomas.
“It probably wasn’t the prettiest game for either team, but like this group has done all year they stayed with the game,” Sandelin said, “a hard fought game like we expected but this time of year it’s all about moving on.”
The Bulldogs advance behind another stellar performance by freshman goaltender Hunter Miska who stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced. Peppering Western goaltender Ben Blacker with only 23 shots, this is the eleventh game of the season where UMD has been out shot.
The Bulldogs play the late game tomorrow night at 7:38 p.m. against the winner of Denver University and the University of North Dakota game tonight.
Photo courtesy of Jim Rosvold