Minnesota Duluth feels comfortable in Mariucci Arena. The familiar colors and “M” at center ice have the makings of a second home. The Bulldogs’ recent success at Mariucci is also something only the Gophers are used to.
UMD has won its last two games in Dinkytown and ended the Gophers’ 17-game home-unbeaten streak — which was the nation’s longest current such streak — with a 3-0 victory on Friday night in front of an announced 10,124 fans wearing both teams’ maroon and gold colors.
The No. 13 Bulldogs scored in each period on goals from Austin Farley, Dan Molenaar and Dominic Toninato. Bulldogs goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo finished with 17 saves for the shutout.
The No. 1 Gophers hadn’t been shut out since the 2012-2013 season and it was the first time the Bulldogs (7-4) blanked the Gophers (7-2) at Mariucci Arena since the 70s. UMD was also the last team to beat the Gophers at home, by a 6-2 score nearly a year ago.
“Something about the big ice [surface] our team does really well on,” said Molenaar, an Eden Prairie product who scored his first collegiate goal. “We have a lot of patience, we’re able to sustain a lot of pressure down low. We’re not intimated by these guys. Most of the guys know a handful of guys on the team.
“You have to respect them because they have an unbelievable amount of skill and they’re a great team. But you can’t come in intimidated and I think that was the key to our success right away.”
Things got ugly late in the third period as the Bulldogs built a three-goal cushion. Moments after the third goal, Gophers senior forward Seth Ambroz tangled up with UMD’s Tony Cameranesi, a junior from Plymouth, and the two began exchanging punches. Ambroz was tagged with roughing and unsportsmanlike penalties. Cameranesi’s unsportsmanlike conduct was only Duluth’s second penalty.
Penalties piled up with the Gophers’ frustration and Christian Isackson finished the game in the penalty box following a five-minute boarding penalty. The Gophers’ seven penalties totaled 17 penalty minutes.
“I was really disappointed, I had not seen that. I’m embarrassed with some of those penalties at the end,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “That’s not the way we play, that’s not the way we coach. That kind of summed up our guys and the frustration. … We weren’t disciplined and didn’t play the type of hockey we have to play to give ourselves a chance to beat a good team.
“They were the better team tonight from the get-go. We took a penalty the first shift and they scored. We couldn’t get anything going all night long. It wasn’t our night. They played really well and deserved to win the game.”
The Bulldogs were 2-for-6 on the power play. Farley’s follow-up shot put the Bulldogs up 1-0 two minutes into the game after the Gophers’ first penalty. Toninato was responsible for the second power-play goal, finishing a string of sharp passes in front of the net late in the third period.
Gophers goaltender Adam Wilcox had 35 saves.
Offense hadn’t been a problem for the Gophers. They were averaging nearly four goals per game.
However, the Gophers’ quality scoring chances against UMD were limited.
“They come out flying right away,” Gophers forward Justin Kloos said. “For the second time in two years we didn’t match their intensity and we had a similar outcome.”