UMD Men's Hockey National Title Hopes Falls Short After 3-2 Loss to Denver
A game that will not soon be forgotten.
The University of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team fell just shy of raising the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship trophy tonight losing to Denver University 3-2.
Denver, one of the best second period teams in the nation outscored opponents 67-26 this season, did all of their damage in the middle frame tonight following a scoreless first period by both teams. Sophomore forward Jarid Lukosevicius came ready to perform tonight on the biggest stage in college hockey netting all three of the Pioneers goals.
Lukosevicius opened the flood gates when he scored his first two goals just 16 seconds apart. Like they have all season, UMD answered the adversity faced being down 2-0. Senior forward Alex Iafallo buried a tip-in goal from freshman winger Joey Anderson on the power play just 2:16 later to bring the Bulldogs within one.
Entering the final 20 minutes down 3-1, the Bulldogs indisputably left everything in their tanks on the ice. Firing a barrage of 17 shots on net to Denver’s three, just one found the back of the net. Freshman forward Riley Tufte put home a rebound off the crossbar into a yawning net to bring the Bulldogs within one with 5:21 left in regulation.
For the final 5:21, the Bulldogs threw everything they had at the net in attempts to equalize the game but the attack fell short. UMD head coach Scott Sandelin was delighted with his team’s efforts in the contest.
“The effort, you saw the third period. I mean, you know, we went after it. And sometimes maybe a little luck, maybe we ran out of puck luck, I don't know, but we did what we had to do and couldn't be more proud of our guys to battle right to the end,” Sandelin said, “It's pretty much been their character all year. They're a great group of kids and they never quit. We just came up a little short.”
The Bulldogs finish the 2016-17 campaign a very impressive 28-7-7.
Photo courtesy of Jim Rosvold