Postgame: Denver Defeats Minnesota Duluth 3-1 To Open NCHC Play

On the night Minnesota Duluth retired the No. 14 of 1985 Hobey Baker Award winner Bill Watson, the Bulldogs lost 3-1 to Denver at Amsoil Arena.

Here are my thumbs up and thumbs down for the Bulldogs tonight, followed by my three stars.

Thumbs up to the Bulldogs’ power play

I know UMD got shut out on the five-minute major at the end of the game, even though it had a two-man advantage for the final minute-plus after pulling the goalie. But it generated a lot of chances, many of which didn’t get on the score sheet because of Denver’s ability to block shots (17 total blocks Friday).

The Bulldogs finished with nine shots on goal on five advantages, and if junior wing Austin Farley doesn’t hit iron during a third-period advantage, UMD finishes 2-for-5 on the power play with both goals coming from Farley.

It’d be interesting to see how the five minute major would have went if UMD still had a timeout in its back pocket. Of course if it did, then maybe the Bulldogs are trying to erase a three-goal deficit and not two.

Thumbs down to giving up goals 30-33 seconds into the game

There is no excuse for giving up a shot, let alone a goal, that quickly in a game. It’s easy to point the finger at freshman goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo for giving up goals 30 and 33 seconds into two out of his three collegiate starts, but those in front of him are just as much, if not more, at fault for giving up those Grade-A chances. Neither were easy saves for Kaskisuo.

Giving up the first goal, which UMD has now done in four out of five games is bad, but giving up the first goal that early in a game is excusable.

Scoring first may not seem like a big deal, but consider these numbers courtesy of UMD Sports Information: UMD is 2-15-2 in the last 19 games in which it has given up the first goal. In the last 18 games UMD has scored first, it’s won 16 times.

Also, the last time UMD overcame a second intermission deficit to win was Nov. 10, 2010 vs. Michigan Tech at the DECC. Since then, UMD is 0-43-3.

Matt’s Three Stars
3. UMD junior forward Austin Farley: Farley scored the Bulldogs lone goal of the night in the second period on the power play to briefly tie the game at 1-1. He nearly pulled UMD within one late in the game when he hit the post, also on the power play.
2. DU senior defenseman Joey LaLeggia: 70 seconds after Farley tied the game at 1-1, LeLeggia sniped a puck top shelf past Kaskisuo. That goal proved to be the game winner, and killed any momentum UMD could have taken from a dominating first period in which the Pioneers were out shot 16-9.
1. DU sophomore goaltender Evan Cowley: Word is Denver has a goaltending battle going on, but it’s about to be over before it ever started. Cowley has allowed just two goals in three games with his competition, freshman Tanner Jaillet, playing only 2 minutes and 20 seconds thus far because of an injury. Jaillet, who is now healthy according to head coach Jim Montgomery, probably deserves another shot, but how do you not start a goalie tomorrow who stopped 30 of 31 shots tonight?