Duluth Attack Not Enough
by Timothy Boger/CHN Reporter
Minnesota-Duluth hadn’t given up a third-period lead this season.
That is, until it was tasked with trying to send Bemidji State home.
UMD, playing in its 14th overtime game of the season, could not add to its impressive 6-1-6 record in the extra frame. Instead, Beavers center Shea Walters’ relatively soft point shot — coming on a power play after Brady Lamb was whistled for a high stick — was the difference, allowing Bemidji State (15-17-5) to defeat the Bulldogs 3-2.
Their comfort and experience was no match for Tom Serratore’s squad, which was in full “survival mode.”
“The frame of mind was definitely different between the two teams,” Serratore said.
Indeed, Minnesota-Duluth knows it is still going on to the NCAA Tournament, albeit with a No. 3 seed now and no chance to move up. And Duluth, despite its mercurial second-half nature, will still be formidable in the national tournament.
“Our overall effort level wasn’t where it needed to be,” forward Mike Connolly said. “Part of it was them keeping us out of any type of rhythm. We were a little carelees with the puck at times.
“The good thing is we get another weekend and another chance.”
Duluth got the production it has come to expect from the top line of Jack Connolly, Mike Connolly and Justin Fontaine — on a night when Jack Connolly was named a Hobey Baker Award finalist. Jack opened up the scoring at 6:05 of the first, and Mike later added another goal on a shorthanded rush at 16:30.
Bemidji’s Brad Hunt answered Jack Connolly’s goal with one of his own, a hard shot from the point that beat goaltender Kenny Reiter.
It seemed like after that point, however, the opportunities for the Connollys were few, and the relentless attack by Matt Read – the center of the line assigned to match up with the Connolly line – kept Hobey Baker finalist Jack Connolly and his linemates off the board.
“We worked on it all week to just make sure we were sticking with our guys. We took a lot of their time and space away,” Read said.