Postgame: Bulldogs Disappear In Second Period, Fall 1-0 At Denver

Minnesota Duluth dropped a 1-0 decision on Friday to Denver at Magness Arena with Pioneers sophomore center Henrik Borgstrom scoring the game’s lone goal 2:35 into the third period.

Below are my thumbs up and thumbs down from Friday’s game, plus my three stars of the night.

Thumbs down to the Bulldogs second period Friday

UMD was held to a single shot on goal and generated just six shot attempts during the second period on Friday. The lone save Denver goaltender Tanner Jaillet had to make was with 8:56 to play in the second.

But, it could have been worse, like when UMD was held without a shot on goal during the first period of a 5-0 loss at St. Cloud State on Jan. 19, 2007 (thanks UMD SID Bob Nygaard for looking that up back in Duluth).

And hey, the game was still tied 0-0 after the second period. So UMD had that going for it …

“It was terrible. It was a bad period. There is no other way to say it,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said of the second. “The good thing for us was as bad as we played, it was still 0-0.

“It’s not good enough. You can’t disappear for a period in this league, not against a team like that.”

Sandelin’s right. It was a dreadful period of hockey for the Bulldogs, whose only relief came when they went on the penalty kill. That seemed to be the only time Denver relinquished possession. Otherwise it was all Pioneers, all the time.

Denver only got eight shots on the UMD net (with none coming on the PP) in the second, but attempted 22 that period. It was as dominating of a period of hockey as I’ve seen in awhile and mystifying because UMD was able to put 17 shots on Jaillet in the third.

So where the heck was the offense in the second?

“We just have to come play on time. If we play every game like we did in the third period there, I think we have a good chance,” UMD junior center Peter Krieger said. “We can’t let them do what they want, possess the puck in our zone and get us on our heels.

“We just have to bear down. We know what kind of style they want to play. They want to take the puck, possess it and drain you down. We know they want to do that, it’s just about taking care of our individual responsibilities and holding ourselves accountable.”

Thumbs up to UMD goalie Hunter Shepard

The reason UMD wasn’t down big at the second intermission was because of the play of the sophomore puck stopper from Cohasset.

Shepard made 25 saves Friday, including all eight he faced in the second, to once again give his team a chance to beat the Pioneers. Friday’s performance follows the 25 saves he made in the 1-0 loss on Dec. 1 in Duluth against Denver and the 13 saves he made the next night in the 2-1 loss to Denver.

We’re seeing this a lot as of late from Shepard. He’s now given up two or fewer goals in five-straight games. When Shepard does that, UMD should win. Unfortunately the ‘Dogs are just 2-3 over the last five games.

The team is wasting some great performances by Shepard, who has shown he can go toe-to-toe with Denver’s Jaillet, the reigning Mike Richter Award winner.

It’s time for the offense to step up and give the guy some more support.

Matt’s Three Stars of the Night

3. UMD sophomore goalie Hunter Shepard: He made 25 saves on 26 shots. The lone goal he gave up was bounced in off his head.

2. DU senior goaltender Tanner Jaillet: He finished with 24 saves, having to make 17 in the third when the Bulldogs finally woke up.

1. DU sophomore center Henrik Borgstrom: It may seem like his goal off the helmet of Shepard was a fluke, but it wasn’t. That was just another example of the creativity the kid possesses. That should teach UMD not to challenge his shot, even when it’s coming off the end line.