Bridgeport, CT (Northland's NewsCenter) - The UMD Bulldogs collected a 2-0 shutout victory over Union College in the opening game of the NCAA tournament. Kyle Schmidt and Justin Fontaine scored power-play goals for UMD, while Kenny Reiter earned the shutout, making 32 saves, and held the nation's top power-play unit scoreless in nine attempts.
UMD will face Yale Saturday night at 5:30pm. The winner of that game will advance to the Frozen Four.
"It was a classic, grind-it out game," said Bulldog head coach Scott Sandelin. "Our power play and penalty kill came through tonight. You also have to have good goal-tending at this time of the year and Kenny gave us that. He was good -- and then some."
On UMD's first power play attempt of the night, senior left winger Kyle Schmidt provided the Bulldogs with all of the scoring they would need at 14:38 of the first period when he redirected in a shot near the top of the crease for his ninth goal of the season. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, spent a substantial portion of the opening 20 minutes killing off penalties (and four Dutchmen power play chances) and, at one point in the period, were found themselves being out shot 11-1. Reiter, who was making his seventh consecutive start, perhaps set the tone for what was to come about 25 seconds into the game when he turned back a point-blank, low slot shot from Union scoring leader Kelly Zajac. Reiter went on to finish with 32 saves while posting his sixth career shut out and just the second blanking by a Bulldog ever in 18 lifetime NCAA clashed. He also played a major part in Union going 0-for-9 on the power play.
"We did a great job of blocking shots, I'm not sure who many we had, but it was a lot (20), said Reiter. "You look at guys like (defensemen) Brady Lamb and Wade Bergman and they find away to attack pucks. It makes my job, especially on the penalty kill, much easier."
Senior Justin Fontaine added an insurance goal for UMD at the 6:24 mark of the third, rapping in his own Justin Faulk rebound with the Bulldogs a man up. It gave the three-time All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association second team right winger 21 goals on the season, equaling a career high which he set last winter.
"We always want to win the special teams battle and that's what happened tonight," said Fontaine, who improved his personal-best scoring streak to nine games. "Our power play has been pretty good the past year and it's something we thrive off of."
The Bulldogs, now 23-10-6 overall (their most wins since the 2003-04 season), were making their seventh appearance ever in the NCAA Tournament and have advanced to at least the quarterfinal round in each of those seven.
"This was a great win for our team because sometimes these types of games, where there is not a lot of flow, are the hardest," said Sandelin. "Hopefully we can carry some momentum into tomorrow."
Posted by Joe Dufek
Courtesy: UMD Athletics