Advertisement

Home Ice for the Bulldogs for NCHC Quarterfinals

UMD Men's Hockey UMD Men's Hockey |  Photo: WDIO/Kevin Johnson

Eyewitness Sports
Created: March 07, 2018 07:46 PM

Duluth, Minn. - It is postseason time in men's college hockey and the #8 University of Minnesota Duluth will have home ice for the quarterfinals of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) playoffs.

Advertisement – Content Continues Below

The Bulldogs will host Western Michigan in a best-of-three quarterfinal round series against Western Michigan University. The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and, if necessary, Sunday at AMSOIL Arena.

UMD is unbeaten in five of their last six games (5-0-1) and are 19-14-3 overall. UMD also finished third in the final NCHC standings at 13-11-0-0 while Western Michigan sports a 15-17-2 record in all games and went 10-13-1-0 in league play (tied for fifth place with Colorado College and the University of Nebraska-Omaha).

UMD and Western Michigan have butted heads on 25 occasions previously, including four times during the regular season in which the Bulldogs went 3-1-0 against the Broncos. That includes a series sweep recently (Feb. 23-24) in Kalamazoo, Mich., where UMD won 8-0 and 6-1. Back on Nov. 10-11, 2017 at AMSOIL Arena, the two clubs traded shutout wins. UMD made its 2017-18 NCHC home debut by taking down Western Michigan 3-0 in the opener only to have the Broncos turn the tables with a shutout victory off their own (5-0) one night later.

"It is going be a much tighter series and more intense and they have got healthier and got a couple of guys back in their lineup that they didn't have before and they seem to have settled in maybe on a goaltender," says UMD Head Coach Scott Sandelin.

The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 16-8-1 and are 12-8-1 against Western Michigan since the two clubs joined the NCHC ranks in 2013-14.

The four, quarterfinal playoff series winners will advance to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, which is set for March 16-17 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

To see UMD's schedule, click here.

The NCHC named their all-league honorees today and that list included UMD freshman defenseman Scott Perunovich and sophomore goaltender Hunter Shepard.

Perunovich, a native of Hibbing, Minn., earned a spot on the All-NCHC first team, becoming, in the process, just the second all-conference first teammer the Bulldogs have ever produced (the other was center Murray Keogan -- in 1969-70 when UMD competed in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association) while Shepard received second-team recognition. A member of the NCHC All-Rookie Team for 2017-18, Perunovich currently ranks fifth among all NCAA freshmen in points (31 -- the highest total of any first-year defenseman in the country), first in plus-minus rating (+17) and fourth in assists (22). His team-leading 31 points are just two shy of the UMD single-season record for a rookie blueliner, which was set by Justin Faulk in 2010-11. Perunovich, the NCHC Rookie of the Month for November, was also a key contributor for the Bronze-medal winning Team USA at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship earlier this winter.

Shepard, who played behind All-NCHC second team pick Hunter Miska one year ago, enters the postseason having amassed the most overall shutouts (a school-record six) and wins (he's 19-12-1 on the year) and the third-best goals against average (2.04) and saves percentage (.923) of any NCHC netminder. The Cohasset, Minn., product has been voted the NCHC Goaltender of the Week a league-high five times this season and has started 31 consecutive games going back to Oct. 21.

(Contributions from Bob Nygaard, UMD Associate Athletic Director: Communications.)

Credits

Eyewitness Sports

Copyright 2018 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

Advertisement
Advertisement
Relay Media Amp

Opponents, Supporters of Trump Administration Weigh in on President's Visit

Multiple Agencies in Duluth Preparing for President Trump's Visit

Loan Program Aimed at Revitalizing Cloquet's West End

27 New Foods at the Minnesota State Fair

LS&M Railroad Cleans Up Fall Storm Damage

City of Duluth Holding Drawing for Vacation Unit Permits

Advertisement