ORONO, Maine -The No. 10/11 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs scored a first period power-play goal then held off a comeback bid from the University of Maine men’s hockey team for a 2-0 victory on Saturday night at Alfond Arena.
The Bulldogs (4-2-0) and Black Bears (2-4-0) battled evenly through the first five minutes of play, but when UMaine went to the box on a tripping call, the visitors capitalized on the man-advantage. UMD passed defense-to-defense on the blue-line and then slid a pass to Parker Mackay for a finish past Jeremy Swayman.
The Black Bears buckled down for the remainder of the period, though, with Swayman coming up with 12 saves, and took the momentum into the first break.
Minutes into the second period, Eduards Tralmaks and Nolan Vesey broke into the zone on a two-on-one, and Tralmaks was able to slide a slick pass to Vesey but the shot trickled wide. UMD fought back to even out the play and in the second half of the period, forced Swayman to make some tricky saves but make them he did. Twice the freshman stoned the Bulldogs on odd-man rushes, flashing the blocker and pad. With under four minutes to go in the period, Swayman stoned Jared Thomas on a short breakaway attempt, kicking out the left pad after the forward picked the puck at the bottom of the circle and tried to cut and tuck it far post.
The Bulldogs were finally able to poke a second goal past Swayman with 1:13 to play in the middle frame, as Riley Tufte finished off a pass near the bottom of the right circle on a one-timer.
Just 16 seconds into the third period, the Black Bears earned a power-play opportunity but Dylan Samberg blocked three shots on the chance to prevent UMaine from capitalizing. The hustle of the Black Bears would go on to earn the squad four power-play chances in the third period. Hunter Shepard and the UMD defense, though, caught the breaks and blocks. The Bulldogs blocked nine shots in the third period while Shepard made 11 saves, including two back-to-back on a brief five-on-three opportunity for UMaine. The Black Bears kept pressuring, but couldn’t find the equalizer, giving the game its final 2-0 score.
UMD held the final edge in shots, 37-26. Swayman (1-2-0) finished with 35 saves while Shepard (4-1-0) made 26 stops for his first career shutout.
The Black Bears are back in action next weekend when they travel UMass Lowell for a two-game Hockey East series on Friday and Saturday.