DULUTH, MINN. Cole Koepke scored a power-play goal with 18.2 seconds remaining to lift Minnesota Duluth to a 4-3 victory over Colorado College Friday night at Amsoil Arena.
Nick Halloran scored twice for the Tigers (4-4-1, 2-2-1 NCHC), including a goal with 1:41 left in the third period that evened the score at 3-3, while freshman Matt Vernon tied his career high with 43 saves.
Scott Perunovich assisted on all four UMD goals as the two-time defending national champions improved to 6-4-1 overall and 3-1-1 in the NCHC.
Despite outshooting the Tigers 15-5 in the first period, the Bulldogs could not put anything past Vernon, who came up with several spectacular saves to keep the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
Chris Wilkie put the Tigers ahead 1-0 early in the second period. Bailey Conger blocked a shot by Perunovich along the right boards and Wilkie collected the puck at center ice and found himself all alone against UMD goalie Hunter Shepard. Wilkie put a wrist shot from the left circle past UMD goalie Hunter Shepard at the 1:01 mark for his fifth goal of the season.
The Bulldogs evened the score at the 14:15 mark when Jackson Cates took a pass from his brother, Noah, and placed a shot from the slot past Vernon for a power-play goal.
After UMD’s Jesse Jacques was whistled for a five-minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head at the 16:48 mark, Halloran took a pass from Kristian Blumenschein and scored from the right circle for his fourth goal of the season and a 2-1 Tiger advantage heading into the third period.
Kobe Roth evened the game at the 4:06 mark of the final frame with a deflection in front of Vernon. Later in the period, the Tigers had a power-play but couldn’t convert, then Grant Cruikshank was called for a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind with 5:11 left in the final frame
The Bulldogs capitalized just 19 seconds into the power play as Tanner Laderoute redirected a Noah Cates shot past Vernon. After Koby Bender was called for tripping at the 16:47 mark, CC head coach Mike Haviland pulled Vernon with the teams skating 4-on-4. Halloran then scored his second of the game with an extra attacker after taking a pass from Josiah Slavin to make it 3-3 with less than two minutes remaining.
With the Bulldogs back on the power play from Cruikshank’s major, Koepke fired a slapshot from the top of the right circle past Vernon for the game-winning goal.
What Head Coach Mike Haviland Said
“We’ve taken a few too many penalties the last couple of games. We also need a bit more consistency in the offensive zone. We had a little too much one and done tonight.”
“We want to empty the tank tomorrow night with an open weekend coming up. We want to come out and respond and get a split. They are a good team. We need an entire 60 minutes and play with the confidence we know we have.”