Minneapolis, MN – The #2 Pairwise Bulldogs solidified their hold on a top-seed for the NCAA Tournament with a hard-fought win over Western Michigan University in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Alex Iafallo had a two-point night including the game winning goal in the second period to lead the Bulldogs to the win and a date with North Dakota on Saturday in the Frozen Four championship game.
The Bulldogs took the early lead with a tap-in goal by Dominic Toninato, his 14th goal of the season on the power play at 13:09 with assists to Alex Iafallo and Adam Johnson. Western Michigan responded at 16:34 with a goal by Waconia, MN native Taylor Fleming on a wrist shot from between the circles with assists to Griffin Molino and Lawton Courtnall. But the Bulldogs added another just 24 seconds later on a diving shot by Kyle Osterberg (Hilderman | A Johnson) for his 12th goal of the year. The teams traded eights shot on goal apiece in period one.
The Broncos Colt Conrad ted the game at 2-2 with a goal at 7:10 of the second period with assists to Taylor Fleming and Hugh McGing. Iafallo then scored the winning goal on a wicked wrister from the right circle that beat the Broncos Blacker clean for a 3-2 Bulldog lead. UMD added two more goals to pad their lead in the third period. The first was a nice effort by Adam Johnson who made a patient pass to Parker MacKay in the slot who tapped it past Blacker for his 8th goal of the year. Jared Thomas then guaranteed the victory with an empty net goal, his third of the year at 17:59.
Hunter Miska turned aside 24 of 26 shots on goal in earning the win while the Broncos Ben Blacker stopped 18 of 22 Bulldog shots. UMD’s penalty kill was perfect killing all five WMU man-advantage opportunities. The Bulldogs were successful in 1 of 5 of their power play opportunities. The Broncos outshot the Bulldogs 26 to 23 for the contest. The Bulldogs Adam Johnson had a three-point game with three assists while Iafallo, Osterberg and Parker Mackay all had a goal and an assist on the evening.
The Bulldogs remain #2 in the Pairwise behind Denver and advance to the championship game of the Frozen Faceoff on Saturday at 7:38 PM CT.