Minnesota Duluth runs winning streak to four games; blanks No. 1 Minnesota


MINNEAPOLIS — Kasimir Kaskisuo joined a unique collection of Minnesota Duluth goaltenders Friday night at Mariucci Arena. The rookie from Vantaa, Finland, stopped all 17 shots Minnesota sent his way in backstopping UMD to a 3-0 non-conference victory and became just the fourth Bulldog to shut out the Gophers — and the first to do so in Minneapolis in nearly 42 years.

No. 13 UMD, which has now won four consecutive overall and five in a row on the road, scored once in each period and held the nation’s second-highest scoring club (the top-ranked Gophers had averaged 3.86 goals per night through their first eight games). The Bulldogs also struck twice on the power play in six opportunities and only took two penalties the entire evening after coming into the series ranking first nationally in both penalties and penalty minutes.

Junior left winger Austin Farley provided the UMD with the only offense it would need at 2:07 of the first period when he slapped in a rebound off a shot from junior defenseman Andy Welinski for his fourth goal of the season and seventh tally in seven career outings against Minnesota. The Bulldogs, who outshot their long-time intrastate rivals 13-1 in the opening 10 minutes of play, went up 2-0 midway through the second period sophomore defenseman Dan Molenaar’s one-timer from the low slot — his first goal as a Bulldog. Sophomore center Dominic Toninato closed out the scoring with 8:18 to go in regulation, taking a feed from Farley down low and firing a shot past Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox for his team-leading eighth goal of 2014-15.

Junior center Cal Decowski had a pair of assists and now has points in five of the past six games for the Bulldogs, who improved to 7-4-0 overall and 5-1-0 away from Duluth. Minnesota (7-2-0) was outshot 38-17 on the night while being blanked by UMD at home for the first time since Feb. 23, 1973 (8-0). It also was the Gophers’ first loss at Mariucci Arena in 18 games — they had gone 17-0-2 since falling 6-2 to the Bulldogs last November.

“It was a really good 60-minute game for our team,” said UMD head coach Scott Sandelin. “You can’t let your guard down against a team like Minnesota and I don’t think we did that the entire night.”

The two clubs will close out their home-and-home series Saturday night at AMSOIL Arena Duluth.