For a team that struggled mightily on the power play last winter, this weekend’s season-opening series had to be an encouraging sign for the University of Minnesota Duluth.
The Bulldogs scored four times with the man advantage (on seven opportunities) en route to a convincing 7-3 non-conference victory over the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Saturday night at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.
Sophomore center MacGregor Sharp and sophomore defenseman Josh Meyers each collected a pair of goals, while sophomore defenseman Matt Niskanen had a career-high four assists Nick Kemp also turned in the first three-point night of his career, assisting on each of UMD’s first three goals.
UMass-Lowell did hold a 3-2 lead 36 seconds into the second period before the UMD rallied with five unanswered goals, including two by Meyers.
“We felt like things were clicking tonight,” said sophomore left wing Mason Raymond, who had a goal and an assist to cap off a five-point weekend. “It’s so important to be efficient on the special teams and I thought we did a good job in that department.”
UMD was 7-of-14 on the power play over the weekend while holding UMass-Lowell to just one goal in 11 chances with the man advantage. The Red Hawks, who skated to a 3-3 tie with the Bulldogs Friday, did, however, score three short handed goals in the two-game series.
“It’s definitely nice to get a win before heading into WCHA play,” said freshman goaltender Alex Stalock, who finished with 18 saves in his second straight start. “The defense played well in front of me this weekend so I give them a lot of credit.”
In all, 10 UMD skaters marked in the scoring column, including rookies Drew Akins and Jordan Fulton who both picked up their first goals as Bulldogs. Senior right wing Bryan McGregor, also who snapped a 25-game pointless skid with two third-period assists.
“We focused on the little things better than we did last night and it made a difference,” said McGregor.
The Bulldogs will make their 2006-07 WCHA debut next Friday night when they open a two-game series at defending NCAA champion Wisconsin.