U hockey splits at UMD without Coach Woog

by Michael Rand

DULUTH — Minnesota-Duluth hockey coach Mike Sertich seemingly has as many theories about the assassination of John F. Kennedy as he does about how to put together a winning hockey team.
Ironically, his ideas on both subjects have similar roots.
Sertich doesn’t subscribe to the theory that Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, acted alone. Instead, the Bulldogs coach thinks there were three gunmen involved in the plot to kill the president.
Similarly, Sertich says a team cannot win with a one-dimensional attack. Success starts with a team’s defensemen, he says, but must extend to the goaltender and the forwards to form a three-pronged arsenal.
In UMD’s 7-4 victory over the Gophers on Friday night — a win that broke Minnesota’s 10-game winning streak over the Bulldogs — Sertich’s team performed in all phases of the game.
The perfect ending to this weekend’s plot for Sertich would have been a win Saturday, which would have given the Bulldogs a sweep over the arch-rival Gophers and a 4-0 record in the WCHA.
But the Gophers, who had mediocre performances from their defensemen and goaltender Steve DeBus on Friday, matched the Bulldogs element for element Saturday.
Then Minnesota introduced a fourth facet to the game — an intangible combination of determination, fortune and venom — to skate away with a 4-3 victory at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center on Saturday night.
The eyes of the Gophers players, which had peered vacantly at the pink walls of the convention center’s visitor’s locker room on Friday night, were suddenly bright one night later.
“This was a huge win,” said Gophers senior Dan Hendrickson. “Things hadn’t been flowing for us like they should this season, but this is the type of win that can get us started.”
Even though the teams were scoreless at the end of the first period Saturday, there was a sense that the Gophers were on the verge of scoring at any moment. Minnesota controlled most of the play in the game’s opening period, and outshot the Bulldogs 13-4.
UMD freshman goalie Brant Nicklin couldn’t keep the dam from bursting forever. Just 1:49 into the second period, Brain LaFleur blasted a slapshot from the point on a power play to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
Mike Anderson scored for the Gophers 32 seconds later, and after Casey Hankinson took a nice feed from Dave Spehar and slid the puck under Nicklin barely a minute later, Minnesota had a 3-0 lead less than four minutes into the period.
The Bulldogs drew to within one after a pair of goals by Brad Federenko midway through the second period. But Hendrickson pushed Minnesota’s lead up to 4-2 with a short-handed goal late in the period.
UMD had one last breath in the third period when Gophers defenseman Mike Lyons drew a five-minute major penalty for checking-from-behind with eight minutes remaining in the game.
The Bulldogs scored on the power play but couldn’t — at least officially — push the game-tying goal across. UMD had two goals disallowed after the referees stopped play thinking DeBus covered the puck. The second occurrence came during the Bulldogs’ five-minute power play.
When asked if he was disappointed that the Bulldogs were not able to tie the game during the extended power play, Sertich replied with a half-smile, “We did tie the game.”
UMD caught its share of breaks, however, as two of its three goals appeared to deflect off skates en route to the net.
In contrast to Saturday night’s game, Friday night’s contest featured neither drama nor controversy. The Bulldogs erased an early 1-0 Gophers lead with four consecutive goals and coasted the rest of the way to victory.
Perhaps the only thing the two games had in common was their physical play, as the teams threw hard checks at each other like they had just watched “Slap Shot” and were trying to outdo the Hanson brothers.
The Gophers were glad that the similarities ended there.
“We were embarrassed out there,” Gophers defenseman Bill Kohn said of Friday night’s game. “We just wanted to come out with some pride.”
In addition to pride, Minnesota picked up steam for next weekend’s series at Wisconsin. The same might not be true if the weekend’s games had been switched around.
“I don’t know how much more important it was to win one on Saturday instead of the other way around,” said sophomore Mike Anderson. “But we definitely gained momentum for next week. We’re going through a tremendous growing process and a win like this means a lot.”

Gophers 1 2 1 — 4
Minn-Duluth 1 5 1 — 7

First period: Min — Rasmussen 3 (Clymer), 11:03. UMD — Haakstad 1 (Peluso, Mrozik), 14:57.
Second period: UMD — Dzikowski 2 (Federenko, Wikman), :47. UMD — Federenko 2 (Dzikowski), 1:09. UMD — Anderson 2 (Scissons), 4:48. Min — Kraft 1 (Rasmussen, Hankinson) PPG, 7:16. UMD — Bois 1 (Peluso, Petrov), 8:05. UMD — Garatti 1 (Dzikowski), 11:03. Min — Kraft 2 (LaFleur, Crowley), 17:14.
Third period: UMD — Scissons 1 (Anderson, Rybar) PPG, 1:34. Min — LaFleur 1 (Crowley, Woog), 12:01.

Gophers 0 4 0 — 4
Minn-Duluth 0 2 1 — 3

First period: No scoring.
Second period: Min — LaFleur 2 (J. Godbout, Checco) PPG, 1:49. Min — Anderson 2 (Crowley), 2:21. Min — Hankinson 1 (Spehar, Smith), 3:28. UMD — Federenko 3 (Lidster, Bois), 9:33. UMD — Federenko 4 (Mrozik, Dzikowski), 9:56. Min — Hendrickson 1 (Woog, Kohn) SHG, 16:52.
Third period: UMD — Peluso 5 (Bois, Rybar) PPG, 15:50.