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Duluth sweeps UND for first time since 1995

DULUTH, Minn. -- Halloween costumes popped up around AmsOil Arena on Saturday night, but none were as spooky as what transpired on the ice. For the first time since January of 1995, the Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team swept North Dakota. For t...

Karson Kuhlman (20) of Minnesota Duluth shoots the puck while scoring the first of two short-handed goals against North Dakota during Saturday's game at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Minnesota Duluth defeated North Dakota 3-0 to complete the first home sweep against North Dakota since 1992. (Clint Austin / Forum News Service)
Karson Kuhlman (20) of Minnesota Duluth shoots the puck while scoring the first of two short-handed goals against North Dakota during Saturday's game at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Minnesota Duluth defeated North Dakota 3-0 to complete the first home sweep against North Dakota since 1992. (Clint Austin / Forum News Service)

DULUTH, Minn. - Halloween costumes popped up around AmsOil Arena on Saturday night, but none were as spooky as what transpired on the ice.

For the first time since January of 1995, the Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team swept North Dakota. For the first time since November 1992, it happened in Duluth.

The Bulldogs ended those decades-long runs with a 3-0 win in front of 6,759 fans, who roared as the final minute ticked off the clock in AmsOil Arena. When the buzzer finally sounded, some Bulldog fans threw brooms on the ice and felt exalted to finally kick years of struggles against their U.S. Highway 2 rivals.

Not only had it been 22 years since the Bulldogs swept UND, it had been nearly a decade since they even won a series against UND, going back to a 2008 matchup in the old Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.

"It's not the result we wanted," said UND forward Johnny Simonson, who, like 25 of his 26 teammates were not born the last time Minnesota Duluth swept UND in the Twin Ports. "We had a really good effort. We were playing hard. But at the end of the day, two losses in a row is not what we want. We're not going to be happy with that. We're going to go back to The Ralph and prepare for a pretty good, tough week of practice and our team is going to get ready for next weekend."

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UND (5-2 overall, 0-2 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) will head to Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis for a showdown with its rival, Minnesota, without the No. 1 ranking. That will surely be taken over by the No. 2 Bulldogs, who are poised to grab college hockey's top spot for the first time since January 2012.

UND also will go to Minneapolis with major special teams questions.

On Saturday, the Fighting Hawks had eight power plays. They went 0-for-8-despite having a pair of minute-long five-on-three advantages-and allowed two shorthanded goals.

Minnesota Duluth's other goal came on the power play.

"Five on five, our team played well tonight for the most part," Simonson said. "We had a couple of special teams hiccups that we'd like to have back."

Sophomore forward Brock Boeser, who was held without a point for an entire weekend for the first time since a November series last season against Wisconsin, said: "They got us with their power play and penalty kill. They beat us special teams-wise and that was the result of the game. I thought we played really hard tonight. I think we outworked them most of the game, but they had some good bounces and we were on the wrong side of it."

Bulldog freshman goalie Hunter Miska posted his second-career shutout by stopping 30 shots. It was the first time that UND has been blanked in the span of 97 games dating back to the 2013-14 season, when Miami earned a 3-0 victory in the Target Center.

"Tonight was a way better effort," UND coach Brad Berry said. "The first period, we had a few opportunities to score. If we get a bounce of the puck, maybe it's a different outcome. But we didn't. We battled hard in the second period, but we shot ourselves in the foot with a couple of outnumbered opportunities and that's what happens when you play a good team.

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"We'll take the positives of a young team that grew on the road this weekend, knowing that we have to be a lot better."

Although UND allowed the first goal for the sixth straight game, the Fighting Hawks had a much better start than Friday.

Minnesota Duluth didn't register a shot on goal until 13 minutes into the game-and the Bulldogs only totaled three shots on UND goalie Cam Johnson (22 saves) 25 minutes into the contest.

But Karson Kuhlman scored on a wrist shot from above the left circle for a shorthanded goal at 11:24 of the game to put UND in another hole.

About four minutes later, Carson Soucy fired a wrist shot from the right circle for a power-play goal and a 2-0 lead.

Then, in the final minute of the decisive second period, UND got caught with three forwards below the goal line in the offensive zone on the power play and the Bulldogs executed a three-on-two the other way. Kyle Osterberg finished it for his fourth goal of the season.

The third period went scoreless as the Bulldogs effectively managed the game until their celebration at the end.

UND, meanwhile, was left looking ahead to the showdown with the Gophers.

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"I'm not too worried about our team getting up for next weekend," Simonson said, "because we know who we're playing."

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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