Men's Hockey Wins First NCHC Frozen Faceoff Championship after Penalty Filled Game with North Dakota
The University of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team brings home its first National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff championship by defeating the University of North Dakota tonight 4-3 in a matchup that was nothing short electric.
The repeating factor in the game was penalties. The contest featured 27 of them with UMD leading in that category with 15. UND struck first in the game capitalizing on one of its 10 opportunities as sophomore forward Brock Boeser blasted a shot back door to beat a sprawling Hunter Miska to take a 1-0 lead.
A pivotal point in the game came when UMD successfully killed off its first of three 5-on-3 man advantages after sophomore defenseman Neal Pionk earned a five minute charging major after steamrolling UND junior goaltender Cam Johnson.
“I was fired up, I thought our guys did one hell of a job killing it off,” said UMD head Coach Scott Sandelin, “I tried to make sure that they understood that and to take that and move forward with it and build off that and that's why i was real excited about they responded because it was a great job.”
Fired up and ready for action in the second period, the Bulldogs scored three times in the opening 2:28 of the middle frame just 58 seconds apart. Senior forward and captain Dominic Toninato buried a rebound out front following a shot on net by rookie forward Joey Anderson. 17 seconds later, freshman forward Riley Tutfe capitalized on a misplayed puck by a UND defender and fired home a wicked wrister top shelf over Johnson from the high slot. The Bulldogs would be rewarded for their hustle drawing a roughing penalty another 17 seconds after Tufte’s goal. Sophomore Adam Johnson skated in unimpeded to slot and sent home a snap shot for the Bulldogs third goal of the period.
“I'm really excited for our team, we certainly earned that and it wasn't easy for sure,” Sandelin said, “but again this group has shown that all year long, a lot of character and resilience in the first period getting down and having to kill off the 5-on-3, it gave us a huge life and we won the game in the second period with the good start.”
As if the game didn’t need anymore drama, UND capitalized on two third period power plays tying the game at 3 apiece. The equalizer came at the 17:14 mark of the period on the Fighting Hawks third 5-on-3 man advantage after a questionable hooking call on senior forward Alex Iafallo.
However, it would be Joey Anderson playing hero for the Bulldogs and returning the favor to UND scoring up two guys on yet another 5-on-3 man advantage with 51 seconds left in the game to hand the Bulldogs the contest and first conference tournament championship.
UMD awaits tomorrow’s selection show to see where they end for the next weeks National Collegiate Athletic Association regional tournament.