by BROOKE DIRKS
The first home game of the season was a sell out with thousands of students and local Duluth residents yelling out cheers as the Bulldogs won 5-3.
It was a rough start when UMD's Mike Connolly, got the first penalty of the game for checking from behind. However, the Bulldogs spread out on the ice well and kept the Friars from scoring.
"I felt that our team did really well defensively and kept great control of the puck," said Brady Lamb, a junior defenseman from Calgary. He had a spectacular game with two assists.
With one minute left in the first period Providence stepped it up and number 15 for the Friars, Kyle MacKinnon, scored the first goal of the game. "That was one of our best shifts. We really capitalized on moving the puck around and a great shot came out of it," MacKinnon said, "It really helped the team spring into action."
The Bulldogs didn't wait long to answer back. A power play goal from senior Justin Fontaine brought the score up to 1-1 with only 35 seconds left in the first period. This was Fontaine's third goal of the year. Fontaine is also from Canada, hailing from Bonnyville.
In the second period both teams were battling for possession of the puck, but Providence was getting a little bit out of control. Providence had almost ten penalties; with one being a double minor for roughing.
"We need to stay out of the penalty box tomorrow. That is what really gave UMD the edge," said Tyler Landman a sophomore for Providence. "Our team is a lot like a rollercoaster, so tonight we will rally and we will be gunning for some goals tomorrow night," he said.
The last five minutes of a game are always the most intense, and with the score being 4-2 with Friars trailing by only two, it was evident everyone was going to get off the ice with nothing left. Friars kicked up their defense and offense and so did UMD. Wade Bergman, a Bulldog, even went as far as to slide across the ice to use his body as a shot blocker.
Friars had good control of the puck, with two minutes left in the third, but were too hasty to try and score. This gave defensemen Justin Faulk of UMD a chance to get it out of the zone. However, with 27 seconds left Providence pulled their goalie and took a one man lead and scored. Making the score 4-3, Providence felt excitement build and decided to leave the goalie out still.
With the goalie pulled, Mike Connolly got the puck out of the zone, and scored an empty net goal while doing so with only 2 seconds left in the third. The final score of the game was 5-3 and shots on net where 39 for the Bulldogs and 26 for Friars.