DULUTH, Minn. -In the first WCHA matchup at the new AMSOIL Arena, Minnesota Duluth (15-4-3, 10-3-2) prevailed over Wisconsin, 2-0. Minnesota Duluth scored two power-play goals in the first period, and held on to that lead for the victory.
Playing its first road series since Dec. 3-4, Wisconsin (14-8-3, 6-7-2) came out of the gate strong, registering an early 5-1 lead in shots. However, a Mark Zengerle interference penalty gave the Bulldogs a power play and a chance to get into the game. Justin Fontaine capitalized, converting a pass inside the left faceoff dot from David Grun to give UMD a 1-0 lead at 13:17 of the first period.
Then, Frankie Simonelli was sent to the box for holding. Again, UMD made it count, scoring a power-play goal at 16:43 of the first period when Mike Connolly picked up a blocked shot and scored to extend the lead to 2-0.
“They had a great start and we didn’t. They won more races and battles in the first period,” said Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves, as the Badgers fall to 2-3-2 away from the Kohl Center. “This was just a tough night."
Despite numerous chances for the Badgers the rest of the way, they were unable to find the net. The Badgers outshout UMD 11-7 in the second period, and recorded five shot on net in the third stanza. Minnesota Duluth held the shot advantage 27-22 for the game. Michael Mersch had a strong game for UW, leading the team with five shots on goal and taking part in most of UW’s best scoring chances.
"Either they did a good job of blocking us out or we weren’t good at getting to the net," said Eaves. "We never got a timely goal.”
Wisconsin was 0-for-3 on the power play on the game, including a brief power play after a game misconduct to UMD’s Justin Fontaine in the third period that was negated by a Wisconsin penalty shortly thereafter. Minnesota Duluth was 2-for-5 on the man advantage.
Wisconsin’s Scott Gudmandson made 25 saves, yet fell to 10-7-1 on the season with the loss. Gudmandson was pulled for an extra attacker with 86 seconds to play, but the Badgers never got a shot.
Kenny Reiter recorded his first shutout of the season for the Bulldogs, stopping 22 shots and improving to 9-2-2.