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Bulldogs open with win at Bemidji

Four different UMD goal-scorers propelled the No. 5 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs to a 4-2 victory over the No. 15 Bemidji State Beavers on Friday evening in Bemidji, Minn. The game was UMD’s first official contest of the 2021-22 campaign, and the win give the Bulldogs a 1-0 record on the season.

Luke Loheit, Noah Cates, Quinn Olson, and Koby Bender all notched goals in Friday’s win. Additionally, Owen Gallatin, Carter Loney, Kobe Roth, Blake Biondi, and Connor Kelley all posted assists in the winning effort. For Loney and Gallatin, their assists are their first career collegiate points. Sophomore goaltender Zach Stejskal got the start in net and picked up the victory after he made 18 saves on the evening. In the game, UMD outshot the Beavers 30-20.

“It was nice to get the real season started,” said Head Coach Scott Sandelin. “It was a good hard-fought hockey game. We’re certainly excited to get back to Duluth and play in front of the home crowd tomorrow evening.”

The Beavers opened the scoring on Friday evening. Just over five minutes into the contest, BSU’s Eric Martin buried a shot to give Bemidji the early lead. Just under five minutes later, Loheit tied the game as he notched his first goal of the season, off assists from Gallatin and Loney. The teams would take a 1-1 tie into the first intermission.

Just one minute into the second period, the Bulldogs would strike. On a power-play, captain Noah Cates took a feed from Kobe Roth and beat the Beavers goaltender to give UMD the lead. However, an even-strength goal from the Beavers just four minutes later would nod the game at 2-2. UMD wouldn’t go away. Just three minutes after the Bemidji goal, Olson beat the Beavers goaltender to give the Bulldogs the 3-2 lead heading into the third period. On the goal, Connor Kelley and Blake Biondi picked up assists and their first points of the season.

Neither team would find the net through the first half of the third. Midway through the period, a holding penalty to Biondi gave the Beavers an opportunity to strike. However, a blocked shot from Cates and a big save from Stejskal preserved the 3-2 UMD advantage. Bemidji would elect to pull their goalie with 1:32 remaining on the clock. After a Tanner Laderoute empty net bid went wide, Bender found himself with a clear look and put the game away. The Bulldogs held on to take game one, 4-2 in Bemidji.

Up Next
The Bulldogs and Beavers will battle in game two, tomorrow evening in Duluth. Puck drop is set for 7:07 PM from AMSOIL Arena. Live Stats can be found here, while live stream can be found here. — Source: UMDBulldogscom

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