Friday, November 21, 2014

Saturday Hockey Notes and Thoughts: UMD Rallies, Runs Win Streak to Six

OMAHA, Neb. -- Hell of a win Friday here. Hell of a win.

This will be a quick blog, as I am with family this weekend on this trip and want to spend some time with them. Watch my Twitter (@BruceCiskie) for more thoughts during the day.

UMD rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Omaha 3-2 Friday at CenturyLink Center. It's the second time UMD has come back from a multi-goal deficit to tie a game. It's the first time UMD has won when trailing by multiple goals through two periods since Jan. 11, 2008, versus Minnesota State. It's the first win of any kind when trailing after two since Nov. 12, 2010, against Michigan Tech.

Both those games were at home. You have to go back to Oct. 16, 2004, to find the last time UMD trailed by two in the third and won a road game (Michigan Tech took a 3-1 lead in the third before UMD ripped off five straight to win 6-3).

Not much happened in the first, but you could tell UNO goalie Ryan Massa wasn't going to be beaten low. Just didn't appear the opportunities were going to come there. I even made a comment -- and this is not a self high-five, I promise, because I could very well have ended up wrong and forgotten I ever said it -- that I wanted to see UMD start testing Massa high.

Sure enough, UMD started shooting higher and got some success in the third. Karson Kuhlman pinballed one in to make it 2-1, then Andy Welinski threw an absolute missile by Massa to tie it before Cal Decowski scored the winner with 2:35 left.

The UNO goalie had a good night with 33 saves. He still has a .947 save percentage, which is obscene. I'd be surprised if Dean Blais didn't come back with him Saturday.

I know Scott Sandelin will come back with Kasimir Kaskisuo. The freshman got beat twice in the second (the David Pope two-on-one goal was probably the worst one he's allowed in weeks, if not since the Minnesota game at the Ice Breaker, and that's being kind of picky about our goaltender, who has been awesome). But Kaskisuo made a big save that led to the rush Welinski scored on. That's a two-goal swing in a game we won by one, and it's something that can't be forgotten.

(Of course, I forgot who had the chance for UNO. I believe it was Dominic Zombo or Austin Ortega, which means it was definitely Jake Guentzel.)

The Bulldogs have won six straight to improve to 9-4. UMD is still tied with Miami atop the NCHC, as the RedHawks beat Western Michigan 1-0. In the other league game, St. Cloud State held off North Dakota 3-1. Colorado College and Denver won non-conference, which keeps the NCHC's stellar record in those games very much alive.

Saturday should be another good game here. UNO will push back hard, and UMD has proven it can answer the bell. Playing with good discipline (two penalties for four minutes Friday) will be a key once again. Keep the Omaha power play off the ice, as Guentzel's return makes that unit quite dangerous.

That's it for me. More on Twitter Saturday as things pop into my head.

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