Once Minnesota-Duluth had victory in its sight in the Northeast Regional semifinals Saturday, the Bulldogs really hunkered down. Not only did UMD not allow Maine to respond to any of its five goals, it held the Black Bears to only three shots in the third period.

“They kept on us and it was tough to get in our zone,” Maine forward Spencer Abbott said. “There’s not much you can do when you can’t get into your zone.”

Maine scored two goals on 13 shots in the first period, but then only got 12 shots off in the second and third frames combined.

“They were just playing solid defensively,” Abbott said. “They were all over us tonight and did not give us much space to do what we do.”

The Bulldogs third line, the “checking line,” consisting of Joe Basaraba, Jake Hendrickson and David Grun, took on Maine’s top line and largely shut it down. Abbott, a Hobey Baker Award finalist, Brian Flynn and Joey Diamond have been a dangerous combination, totaling 63 goals this year. But UMD limited them.

“We’ve been playing against a lot of the top lines the last couple of games,” Hendrickson said. “Our role is to be a shutdown line and any offense we get is a bonus. We strive to shut down their offense anyway we can.”

Hendrickson’s offensive production may be a bonus, but he was the one who scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period. He batted in a rebound off Brady Lamb’s shot to give UMD the lead it maintained through the third frame.

“They did a real good job,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said of UMD’s third-period defense. “We tried to do a lot of things, we tried to get a guy out of the zone. They just clamped down defensively and we had trouble sustaining pressure in their end.”

In the third period, Maine attempted nine total shots, only three of which reached UMD goaltender Kenny Reiter. None of the attempts were grade-A chances — they were all behind the dots. Even on the power play, Maine could not create an opportunity in the period.

“We’re not a team that really sits back, but we tried to be a little smarter,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. “They were trying to double up on the weak side with longer passes and trying to outnumber us. We didn’t get caught as much on the wrong side of the puck and we had numbers back.”

Though the Bulldogs kept players back to fend off Maine’s offense, they still sent their own offense. About halfway through the frame, JT Brown beat Maine goaltender Dan Sullivan through the five hole to give UMD a two-goal lead. Hendrickson fired off an empty-netter with 41 seconds left.

Coaches talk about the need to win a period to gain momentum or to seal a game. Now they can point to the example of UMD’s third period over Maine; the Bulldogs won the frame in every way a team can win a period — offensively, defensively and mentally.

  • WCHA Fan

    Way to go Dogs!!!  No mercy against the birds….

  • Connelly4Hobey

    UMD looked horrible for the first 30 minutes of this game.  They were outskated by an impressive looking Maine team, culminating in the entire team watching the Mangene goal the net came off its magnets.  They were bailed out in the second by Connelly’s goal on the power play and two INCREDIBLY lucky goals off of Maine turnovers to take the lead.  They were able to clamp down in the 3rd and look stellar defensively, but that sort of a a start to the game will not fly for the rest of this tournament if they hope to repeat.

  • Norm_0371

    need luck to repeat and that is exactly what the dogs got

    • Scot

      .Was it the 3 shots UMD allowed in the 3rd period that made them lucky Norm or, was it the 5th goal that UMD put in the twine? UMD is the better team.

    • Idaho Bulldog fan

      Luck plays a part of any team repeating as a national champion, but UMD deserves to be where they are, and whether they repeat, or not, they’ve been one of the top teams in the country all season, even after losing some of  their top players after last year’s success.

  • Paulclus

    WOW is Spencer Abbott way over rated. After the first period he was non-existent. Congrats to Jack Connolly on UMD’s 5th Hobey.

    • blackbear19

      Lots would probably look over rated after not doing much for hockey activities over the last week or so with a concussion……Abbott didnt look himself at all even on his goal…..its to bad he got the concussion and could of shown more of his skills during the game.  Good luck to you guys against BC, even though BC didnt look right yesterday either!

      • Idaho Bulldog fan

        Thanks for the good luck wishes against BC!  No doubt, both Connelly and Abbott are top notch players, but hockey is a team sport and UMD made the better team effort Saturday night.  After being dominated by Maine the first 30 minutes, they got their act together and played good team hockey the rest of the way.  My hats off to Maine, too, they had a great season and deserve to be proud of their accomplishments!

    • Nyquist77

       Overrated?? He still leads the nation in points playing in a tough Hockey East. And he has more goals and more assists than Connolly in less games. Connolly is a great player & I think the Hobey winner is one of these two.

      But to say Abbott is over rated is simply wrong. Sounds like this is the first game you have seen Abbott play ( and if this was a “bad” game for Abbott coming back from a nasty hit during the BU game I hope you noticed he did score the first goal of the game )

      UMD was the better team & deserved the win last night but Spencer Abbott deserves to be in the final 3 Hobey list

      • Paulclus

        Yes Abbott scored the first goal and his name wasn’t called the rest of the game. Connolly played the PP, PK and his regular shifts and was dominant. If your a hockey writer and voting this wasn’t even close. Head to head is about performing and it is game over for Abbott. Sorry Nyquist 77 just relaying what I am hearing this morning.

        • Nyquist77

           I hear what you are saying but this was the only game you saw Abbott play this year correct?

          • Paulclus

            I saw Abbott play against ND and BU. He’s a great player but Connolly will be getting my vote. I actually have Smith from Colgate rated higher than Abbott.

          • Nyquist77

            So Abbott is a great player that is “way over rated”???

          • Paulclus

            He is way over rated for the Hobey. Definitely top 10 but not top 3.

          • Nyquist77

             Wow you have seen the guy play 2 whole games ( with 1  of those being a game where he was clearly not 100% ) and you have it all figured out……………..

        • Bartneally

          Delusional. Stats alone Abbott wins. Hockey East is the strongest league from top to bottom. The concussion was not Abbott’s fault.Your thinking is the same as the officials non-call on the hit to Abbott by BU.

  • Colorado Bulldog

    Two things I take away from this game:
    1. Stupid east coast mind tricks never work (e.g. keeping it a secret if Abbott would play up until the drop of the puck)
    2. Relying on stats to compare players is pointless (e.g. when the game was on the line Connolly brought his team back to life; Abbott was quiet)

    • Nyquist77

       Quiet accept for a goal!!!

      Spencer Abbott didn’t seem to be himself on Saturday, but it simply might have been the stout UMD defense.

      See you in the NHL Mr Abbott

      • Colorado Bulldog

        Let me add two more observations: Maine was definitely one of the most talented teams and the Bulldogs were smart to limit the number of power plays they gave them.  That Maine power play was scary.

    • Bartneally

      No choice but to wait until gametime. A physician had to sign off, probably took an unneccessary risk to do so.

  • Mcglckn

    When the net was knocked off the play should have stopped.  Just before that Maine had knocked the net off in the UMD end and the ref blew the whistle even though UMD was in control of the puck.

    • Bartneally

      Learn the rules.

  • Andy Smith

    Some real trash talking from UMD fans on here.  Of the 5 goals 2 were fluke goals and 1 was an empty netter.  Maine really left it on the table last Saturday night and ended their season with the worst 3rd period showing i’ve seen them play in a while.  Would have loved to get a crack at that BC team again – Duluth certainly couldn’t figure the Eagles out.