Bulldogs remain unbeaten in pod play, sit on top of NCHC standings

The No. 3 University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) men’s hockey team remain unbeaten in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Pod as they played to a 2-2 overtime tie against top-ranked North Dakota, but picked up the extra point in the shootout.

Senior forward Nick Swaney lifted the puck for the top shelf goal in the third round of the shootout and sophomore netminder Ryan Fanti made two saves against the Fighting Hawks. The most crucial save coming on a shot from Shane Pinto to give the Bulldogs a five point lead over North Dakota and St. Cloud State in the NCHC standings.

“We kind of came in with this expectation. Compete in every single game and make the most of every opportunity and that’s kind of what we’ve done so far. Obviously, with that being said we still have a lot of work to do,” said Swaney.

“I like shootouts a lot better than overtime, but it wasn’t too too much pressure. You just got to think of those as it’s just another one in practice,” said Fanti about his final shootout save. “You do a million shootouts in practice throughout the year, but it’s just you and another guy and you have to come out on top. It’s a good little challenge each and every shot.”

Thursday marked the ninth shootout UMD has been a part of in the NCHC and was just their third time winning in a shootout. Heading into this number one versus three battle, UMD head coach Scott Sandelin expected a great game.

“We played harder. I thought our compete level was good. I thought the beginning, the first period was certainly our best period. It was nice to get that lead. They made a push at the end. You expect that when you play teams like North Dakota, right? They’re a really good hockey team. They’re dangerous and they’ve got some weapons. They transition well and they’ve got that attack mentality,” said Sandelin.

The Bulldogs play back to back games Saturday and Sunday around noon. UMD will face fifth ranked Denver Saturday and Colorado College on Sunday.

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