College men's hockey: Bulldogs start season with exhibition win
Auditions began Sunday night for the next crop of goal-scorers for the Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team.
The defending NCAA champions faced Lakehead University of Thunder Bay, Ontario, in an exhibition game at Amsoil Arena to open 2011-12. UMD won 5-1 before 5,249 fans, holding Lakehead to just nine shots on goal, while senior Travis Oleksuk collected a pair of goals. The game was just one day after practice officially began.
The Bulldogs averaged 3.4 goals a game last season, led by the line of Jack Connolly centering Justin Fontaine and Mike Connolly. They combined for 68 goals and 171 points as the top-scoring threesome in Division I.
Fontaine and Mike Connolly are in professional hockey this season. In all, UMD lost 70 goals from 143 scored last season.
Among those looking to take larger offensive roles are junior wingers Mike Seidel of Darien, Ill., and Dan DeLisle of Arden Hills, Minn. Each had an assist in the first period against Lakehead as the Bulldogs got all the goals they needed for a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
DeLisle, Chicago's third-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, said he ran a minimum of two miles a day over the summer to improve his cardiovascular fitness. Last season he had a two-goal game in a 6-0 home win over Alaska Anchorage, and has seven points in 56 career games.
"My strength is as a power forward -- pass the puck and go hard to the net -- and be strong in the corners," said DeLisle, who is 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds. "We lost a lot of offense and we're looking for players to step into those skates and take over. That's where I can help."
Seidel has 13 goals in 72 career games at UMD, including eight goals in 41 games last season. He had two two-goal games in wins at Wisconsin and Minnesota State-Mankato. He also had a goal in a 5-3 victory over No. 1 Yale University in the NCAA East Regional title game.
Seidel worked on his skating technique as a summer camp instructor with the Greg Carter European Hockey School based in Concord, Mass.
"I've learned in the first two years (at UMD) that there's never a bad-angle shot. I'm intent on getting a lot more pucks to the net and creating as much offense as possible," Seidel said.
Coach Scott Sandelin said he expects UMD's forward lines to change often through the early weeks of the season before finding the right chemistry.
"We don't have a lot of 20 or 30-goal scorers. We will have to score by committee. Everyone will have to chip in," Sandelin said. "Mike (Seidel) averaged 50 points a season in three years in the USHL, so we know he's capable. Dan is also someone we think can be a force."
UMD's power play generated 50 goals last season and operated at a 22.8 percent efficiency, ranked No. 10 in Division I. UMD was 3-of-8 on power plays against Lakehead.
Lakehead lost 5-3 Saturday night at Michigan Tech and then drove four hours to Duluth. Freshman defenseman Mitch Fillman had the Lakehead goal, tying the game 1-1 late in the first period. Sophomore Joe Basaraba and freshman Adam Krause, along with Jack Connolly, also scored for UMD. Sophomore winger J.T. Brown sat out a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules.
The regular season begins Friday and Saturday at Amsoil Arena against top-ranked Notre Dame. UMD defeated the Fighting Irish 4-3 in the 2011 Frozen Four semifinals.
Lakehead University 1-0-0--1
Minnesota Duluth 2-1-2--5
First period -- 1. UMD, Jack Connolly (Mike Seidel, Brady Lamb), 8:46 (pp); 2. Lakehead, Mitch Fillman (Kalvin Sagert), 16:30; 3. UMD, Joe Basaraba (Dan DeLisle, Travis Oleksuk), 19:03. Penalties -- Fillman, Lakehead (tripping), :47; Andrew Wilkins, Lakehead (hooking), 4:48; Jake Hendrickson, UMD (boarding), 7:49; Mike Quesnele, Lakehead (boarding), 13:33; Keith Grondin, Lakehead (roughing), 13:33; Adam Krause, UMD (charging), 13:33; Jake Carrick, Lakehead (cross-checking), 13:33; Connolly, UMD (hooking), 14:26.
Second period -- 4. UMD, Travis Oleksuk (Scott Kishel, Connolly), 17:30 (5x3 pp). Penalties -- Chris Casto, UMD (high-sticking), 1:39; Drew Olson, UMD (roughing), 6:49; Tim Smith, UMD (high-sticking), 14:04; Matt Caria, Lakehead (cross-checking), 17:03; Carrick, Lakehead (cross-checking to head major, game disqualification), 17:03; Hendrickson, UMD (boarding), 17:59; Caleb Herbert, UMD (roughing), 20:00; Quesnele, Lakehead (roughing), 20:00.
Third period -- 5. UMD, Oleksuk (Connolly, Lamb), 3:42 (pp); 6. UMD, Krause (Herbert, Keegan Flaherty), 5:27. Penalties -- Brennan Mendar, Lakehead (boarding), 3:42; Quesnele, Lakehead (elbowing), 7:23; Seidel, UMD (hooking), 12:29; David Grunn, UMD (double-minor roughing), 18:19; Mendard, Lakehead (double-minor roughing), 18:19.
Shots on goal -- Lakehead 3-3-3--9, UMD 12-5-11--28. Goalies -- Jeff Bosch, Lakehead (28 shots-23 saves); Kenny Reiter, UMD (5 shots-4 saves); Aaron Crandall, UMD (4 shots-4 saves). Power plays -- Lakehead 0-of-6, UMD 3-of-8. Referees -- Marco Hunt, Tom Sterns. Linesmen -- Rick Nelson, David Marcotte. A -- 5,249.