first_imgAJ MACLEAN/Herald photoDULUTH, Minn. — In a series highlighting both the youth of Duluth and the experience of Wisconsin, it was the freshmen from both teams that made big impacts throughout the two-game series, as Wisconsin pummeled Duluth 7-2 Friday night before falling 4-1 Saturday at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. In Saturday’s contest, Duluth jumped on the board first when senior Tim Stapleton beat Connelly on a power-play one-timer for his 12th goal of the year and a 1-0 lead.The Badgers responded with a power-play goal of their own, as Joe Pavelski cashed in a rebound off senior goaltender Isaac Reichmuth to tie the score at 1-1.However, the youth of the Bulldogs would dominate the experience of Wisconsin for the rest of the night. The Bulldogs responded 4:01 into the second period when freshman Mason Raymond fired a puck at the Wisconsin net that deflected off of a UW defender’s stick and over Connelly’s shoulder to put Duluth ahead for good at 2-1.Freshman MacGregor Sharp extended the Bulldog lead to 3-1 when he buried a rebound for a power-play goal halfway through the second period for his second goal of the series, and another freshman, Nick Kemp, closed out the scoring with a tip-in power-play goal in the third period.”Even though we lost a lot of games, I am really proud of their effort,” Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin said. “We did much better as a team tonight, and we scored some power-play goals. They went out tonight, and I was really impressed with what we saw. Hopefully, this can give our team a boost.”Along with the superb play of the Duluth freshmen, the story of the night for Wisconsin was its lack of success on the penalty kill, which led the WCHA at 88 percent.Duluth, which has the second worst power play in the league (14 percent), was an outstanding 3-for-6 on the power play and scored those three goals on only seven shots. On the night as a whole, Wisconsin out shot UMD 32-21, but behind junior goalie Isaac Reichmuth’s 31 saves, UMD broke its seven-game losing streak.”It was a tough night,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said. “I thought we could have been better on the penalty killing and could have executed better on the power play. Their power play beat our power play tonight.”It was a different story on Friday night, as Wisconsin came out the aggressor, pummeling Duluth goalie Josh Johnson early and often with 19 shots in the first period. Coupled with Duluth’s leading-scorer Michael Gergen receiving a game misconduct for checking from behind, Wisconsin was able to break out of an offensive slump that had plagued them over the past two weeks.The seven goals Wisconsin put up equaled its offensive output from the past four games combined, as defenseman Tom Gilbert, center Andrew Joudrey, left wingers Robbie Earl and Ross Carlson, and right winger Adam Burish scored goals in the Badgers victory, as they regained first place in the WCHA over idle Minnesota and Denver.Additionally, freshman Ben Street had his first three-point game as a Badger, adding two goals in the third period and an assist in the Wisconsin victory.The turning point for Wisconsin came in terms of a coaching change midway through the second period with Wisconsin up 3-2. Not pleased with how his lines were performing, Eaves decided to switch Jack Skille to Ben Street’s line in hopes of boosting the offense. Eaves’ gamble paid off, as the ensuing goal proved to be the back-breaker for Duluth. Skille made a touch pass to the Duluth native Carlson, who fired the puck between Johnson’s legs to give Wisconsin a two-goal advantage.”We decided to roll the dice,” Eaves said. “I think [that] we had a good first period with the lines we had [and] it was pretty solid. In the second period, we lost what we had and rather than sit around to see if something happens, let’s be proactive and see if we can set ourselves up here by making some changes.”However, the real topic of conversation Friday was the play of Shane Connelly and his superb goaltending in the net. After four consecutive defeats, Connelly stopped 28 shots and allowed two goals off deflections to earn his first collegiate win.When Wisconsin was struggling in the second period, Connelly proved to be the rock of the Wisconsin defense, stopping 17 of 18 Bulldog shots, allowing the Badgers to find their niche and retake control of the game. “It’s hard for a freshman goalie to come in and play Denver and Minnesota right away,” Street said. “He stayed positive through the whole thing, and he had a lot of support around him. It’s been a little tough going 0-4 but, as coach said, Curtis Joseph didn’t have a good start, and it turned out all right for him, too. I am just so happy and so proud of him.””I’m a little happier and upbeat to experience a win after the last four,” Connelly said. “It’s always more fun when you win. It just felt good as a team. We had lost four in a row and finally got some wind back. We put up seven goals tonight, and it’s a big lift for the whole team. It feels really good.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *