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Denver snaps UMD’s win streak at 8

DENVER — Top-ranked Minnesota Duluth’s eight-game winning streak came to a close Friday, Nov 16, and its losing skid against Denver was extended to seven in a 2-0 loss to the Pioneers in NCHC play at Magness Arena.

The Bulldogs, who wrap up the weekend series at Denver at 8:07 p.m. Saturday, last beat the Pioneers on Dec. 10, 2016. That was at Magness. The current skid began with the defeat in the 2017 NCAA championship game in Chicago.

Five of the seven defeats have been by a single goal and the other two — like Friday’s — were only two-goal margins because of empty-netters.

UMD, the 2018 NCAA champs, had a distinct upper hand Friday against the seventh-ranked Pioneers when both teams were at full strength. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole ton of 5-on-5 action at the start Friday as the sides combined for 12 penalties for 38 minutes, resulting in 10 power plays.

The Pioneers went ahead 1-0 in the second period on their fifth power play of the night when sophomore defenseman Ian Mitchell one-timed a pass from junior wing Emilio Pettersen down the middle, top shelf, past UMD junior goaltender Hunter Shepard.

Shepard finished with 12 saves on 13 shots while Pioneers sophomore goalie Devin Cooley made 38 saves for his second collegiate shutout.

The first period Friday featured just 5 minutes and 32 seconds with both teams at full strength as the Bulldogs and Pioneers combined for nine penalties for 32 minutes, including a major to each side.

Denver freshman center Brett Stapley was given a major and ejected 21 seconds into the game for checking UMD sophomore defenseman Scott Perunovich from behind into the end boards. Perunovich was fine on the play.

UMD picked up its major penalty at the eight-minute mark when sophomore defenseman Louie Roehl was give five minutes for boarding. He was allowed to stay in the game.

Neither team remained at full strength during their five-minute power plays as UMD senior center Peter Krieger was called for holding 35 seconds into the Stapley major. Denver got caught with too many players on the ice 3:50 into its major.

Of the nine first-period penalties called — five on UMD and four on Denver — three were committed by a team on the advantage. The Bulldogs took two penalties while they were already down a man, including in the closing minutes of the first.

After 4:23 straight of 5-on-5 play, the Bulldogs earned a power play with 1:47 to go in the period, but freshman wing Jackson Cates was called for hooking with 1:09 to go and junior wing Riley Tufte was called for tripping with 10 seconds left to put the Pioneers — who were outshot in the first 7-2 — on the advantage to start the second.

UMD killed off the Cates and Tufte penalties to start the second, even outshooting the Pioneers 4-0 while down shorthanded during the first 1:51 of the second.

The game went 7:07 before another penalty was called in the second period. There were only two penalties called the entire second — one on UMD and one on Denver — a period in which the Bulldogs outshot the Pioneers by an 18-6 margin.

A goalie interference call on Pioneers senior wing Jared Lukosevicius was the lone penalty of the third. Lukosevicius put in the empty-netter to clinch the win.

Minnesota Duluth 0-0-0—0

Denver 0-1-1—2