Sunday, March 6, 2011

Regualr Season Ends with a Bulldog Thud

Omaha Outplays Duluth in 5-2 Win

As good as Friday felt to Bulldog fans, Saturday felt terrible in a 5-2 UMD loss to UNO.

UMD was riding what seemed to be a resurgence, winning a Friday game against a team higher than them in the PWR and conference standings. The Bulldogs were tied for second with an outside chance at claiming second after the Saturday night games.

Enter the pudding where the proof lies.

The Bulldogs coaching staff focused last week’s practices on making the shift after a goal a quality one. It worked to perfection Friday night, but it was lost Saturday.

Duluth and Omaha skated to a scoreless first period where goaltender play dominated. Both Faulkner for UNO and Reiter for UMD were playing well, and arguably Reiter won the goalie dual with his better saves.

It didn’t take long into the second period for the scoring to start. The Mavericks second line was out and scored at 1:04 of the second. UMD elected to keep the same personnel on the ice for the ensuing faceoff as many teams do. It was on that next shift that UNO took a 2-0 lead at 1:26 this time with their third line. It was the start of a bad night for UMD’s second line, the Schmidt-Oleksuk-Brown line.

Joe Basaraba pulled the Bulldogs to 2-1 on a goal with Jack and Mike Connolly assisting at 9:07. The goal was Basaraba’s third of the season and it was Jack Connolly’s 50th point.

It wasn’t the next shift that scored for the Mavericks, but they didn’t waste much time. UNO’s fourth line scored at 11:25 again against UMD’s second line. UNO led at that point 3-1 and the Bulldog second line was a minus 3.

The third period saw both teams score, UNO more than UMD, but it was the hole UMD dug themselves in the second that ultimately did them in. The comebacks of the early season are gone. The Bulldogs cannot have letdowns that turn into multiple goals.

And it wasn’t all bad. Many Bulldogs came out on the plus end of the night, but it was the minuses that left the team with a stinging end of regular season loss.

The second season, the payoffs, start next weekend for Duluth at home against Saint Cloud State. Losses can and eventually will end the Bulldog’s season if they cannot pull together and all play a complete game.

Saturday's Box Score

Bubble-land Again. With the loss, UMD falls to a tie for #10 in the PWR. If UMD wants to push into the NCAA Tournament they have to find a way to get past the Huskies next weekend. Or this season will be very reminiscent of last season’s NCAA near miss.

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