Gophers and Bulldogs skate to 3-3 tie in Duluth

The sixth-ranked Golden Gophers men’s hockey team earned a 3-3 tie on the road at No. 14 Minnesota Duluth Saturday night from AMSOIL Arena. The Bulldogs won the shootout to finish the weekend series.

Minnesota (4-3-1 overall) scored twice in a 23-second span of the second period for a one-goal lead before the Bulldogs (3-3-3 overall) got the equalizer a minute into the third, forcing overtime, which remained scoreless despite power plays for both sides.

Each team was able to generate sustained pressure in the offensive zone beginning the series finale before the Gophers were whistled for a penalty. The visitors killed off the early man advantage, but the Bulldogs struck for the opening tally at the 12:36 mark, scoring on a rebound. A quick glove save by Justen Close off a faceoff win by UMD kept it a one-shot game at intermission.

Minnesota nearly tied the score less than a minute after the second stanza started as Connor Kurth had a step on the defense and had his shot saved by the goal stick of the netminder. The pace picked up going end-to-end with limited stops in the action and the visitors capitalized at 8:59. Rhett Pitlick used his speed through the neutral zone to push the puck up ice and sent a short pass to Jimmy Snuggerud, who used a quick release to pull the Gophers even, 1-1.

After Minnesota had a brief 5-on-3 power play erased, the Bulldogs scored during a man advantage of their own with 6:50 to play in the second to retake the lead. The visitors answered right back to even the score as Aaron Huglen finished off a patient passing effort by Pitlick on a power play. Momentum stayed with the Gophers, and they took their first lead of the night 23 seconds later when Jaxon Nelson tipped home a Sam Rinzel shot for a 3-2 cushion after two full periods.

A late penalty on the Gophers to end the second allowed UMD to score the tying goal 53 seconds into the third period with its second power-play tally of the night. The rest of the period was a battle between the in-state foes that remained deadlocked, 3-3, and headed into overtime. Minnesota was called for a penalty as time expired and the visitors erased the chance before going to its own power play but could not convert despite peppering the goaltender. The Bulldogs scored twice in the shootout to close the official tie.