BULLDOGS OUTLAST U.S. UNDER-18 TEAM IN EXHIBITION WIN
Saturday, January 26, 2013
The University of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team has a clear outlook on midseason exhibition games.
They’re better than off weeks.
The Bulldogs wanted to use a one-game weekend showdown against the United States Under-18 Team to get ready for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association stretch run, and did just that as they skated away with a 3-1 win on Saturday afternoon in front of 5,920 at AMSOIL Arena.
“It’s another game, and we need to continue to prepare [for the rest of our conference schedule],” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “It’s better than a weekend off, it was a hard-fought game and I liked how we played for 60 minutes. We got the opportunity to play more than usual, and some guys that haven’t played in a while, I like the way they played. It gets tougher from here on out.”
Mike Seidel, Justin Crandall and Caleb Herbert scored for UMD, which was able to run through a lineup of 21 skaters and all three goalies in the contest.
UMD jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just 6 minutes, 24 seconds into the game when Seidel snuck a backhanded shot through USA goalie Thatcher Demko’s legs. The play started after a turnover and was the result of two heads-up passes, as Crandall took a pass at the offensive blue line, slowed and sent a perfect backhand pass to Seidel in the slot.
The US Under-18 Team was able to draw even just 90 seconds into the second period when they took advantage of a turnover and scored a power-play goal, but the Bulldogs didn’t let the momentum swing last long.
Crandall scored off a beautiful slap pass from Wade Bergman just two minutes later to put UMD up for good. Bergman corralled a puck at the point, waited for traffic in front and sent the backdoor pass to Crandall. His initial attempt was stopped, but he was able to convert on the rebound.
Then, during a penalty-filled third period, Herbert scored on a laser from the slot with UMD on a 5-on-3 advantage to finish off the scoring.
Matt McNeely, Alex Fons and Aaron Crandall each played a period, stopping 15, six and three shots, respectively.
“All three of them played, it was good,” Sandelin said. “Crandall is coming back after an injury, and I thought all three of them played well. I felt bad for Alex because we kind of left him out to dry on that goal.”
The Bulldogs (10-11-3, 8-7-3) will hit the ice next Friday and Saturday against the University of Denver in a pair of huge WCHA battles. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. both nights.
“It’s good to get a break from WCHA and regular games, and we treated it just like any other game,” McNeely said. “We just have to keep putting the puck in the net, play good defensively and keep the same intensity [going into next weekend].”
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