University of Minnesota Duluth Hockey Early History 1930-1984
It all began well over a half a century ago on a frozen sheet of outdoor ice near the east side of Duluth. The equipment was, to say the least, crude and talent certainly wasn’t much better. But those hardy souls of yesteryear, as well as those that were to follow later, are the ones who helped shape and mold the University of Minnesota-Duluth hockey program into really what it is today – one of the finest in the nation.
In the winter of 1930, an industrial education instructor by the name of Frank Kovach rounded up a handful of aspiring athletes and formed the first hockey program at what was then known as Duluth State Teachers College (nicknamed the "Pedagogues" Websters definition: a "Teacher, or school teacher") Kovach, who also instigated the first football and basketball teams during that same year, did the most with what he had (DSTC had just begun accepting male
students just two years earlier) the inaugural campaign,
but nevertheless finished the year with a 0-3-0 record losing
twice to Eveleth Junior College and once to Duluth Central
High School. Kovach awarded 15 letters that year and the
following year his charges turned in a 2-5 mark. But, just
as player interest had begun to swing upward, the mighty
hand of the Great Depression hit DSTC hockey with a
stinging blow. In fact, it wasn’t until 1946-47 before hockey
would return to the DSTC campus. Under player-coach
Joe Oven and faculty adviser Ward Wells, DSTC turned in
a commendable 11-6-1 record overall record in 1946-47.
The following season, DSTC officially became a branch of
the University of Minnesota system with the hockey
coaching duties going to Hank Jensen. Jensen headed the
Bulldogs for four years, compiling a 17-9-1 record during
that span, including a perfect 7-0 mark in 1948-49, UMD’s
only unbeaten season to date. UMD joined the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) just prior to the 1949-50 season and began a kind of domination that is rare in sports. Under coach Gord-Eddolls, a former Bulldog hockey standout who succeeded Jensen in 1951, UMD captured its first MIAC title in 1952-53, sharing the honor with St. Thomas. The following season, the Bulldogs won their first outright MIAC championship behind a trio of Duluth Denfeld High School alumni – Alex Sisto, Frank Johnson and Al Peterson. Another Denfeld graduate, Duane (Dubug) Johnson, has a superb year in the nets and his backup goalie that year was former UMD athletic director Ralph Romano.
The 1954-55 Bulldogs slipped to second place behind St. Thomas in the MIAC race, but Don Bourdeau, who ended a long coaching stint with Duluth East High School, finished as the conferences scoring champion. Connie Pleban, who had coached the 1952 U.S. Olympic Team to a Silver Medal in the Winter Games at Helsinki, Finland, took over the coaching duties in 1955-56 and the Bulldogs went 12-0 in MIAC play en route to a league crown for the first-year coach. Harvey Flaman paced the club in scoring that year with 54 points, a school record at the time. UMD’s conference unbeaten string was stretched to 25 games through the 1956-57 season as the Bulldogs assembled one of the best hockey outfits in school history. Canadian imports Flaman, Elmer Schwartz and Jerry Kleisinger each played a big role for UMD during that year. Flaman and Schwartz each set six individual scoring records while Kleisinger had an amazing 1.10 goals against average in the conference as the Bulldogs skated to a 16-4-3 record overall. 1957-1958 had been chronicled as “the turning point” in UMD hockey lore as the Bulldogs began to play a national-caliber schedule. Their unbeaten string in MIAC play not only reached 35, but the scores were becoming so one-sided that officials began to consider dropping out of the MIAC to pursue a higher calling. The Bulldogs’ amazing winning streak in the MIAC climbed to 42 in 1958-59, but a rash of misfortune – from injuries to ineligibilities – somewhat
deflated UMD’s potential power and they struggled to keep
above the .550 plateau. Pleban, the winningest coach in
UMD hockey history, left the UMD program to accept a
position with the 1960 Olympic Team and Ralph Romano
kept the Bulldogs’ MIAC streak alive the next two years,
reaching 56 before UMD elected to abandon the MIAC in
hopes of establishing itself as a legitimate national power.
For the next four years, UMD played an independent
schedule, largely against teams from the prestigious
WCHA, and their record steadily improved against the
best college hockey teams in the land. Finally in 1965-66,
the Bulldogs were awarded the first “expansion franchise”
tag in the WCHA. UMD’s infancy in the WCHA was
highlighted by the fascination of Bulldog fans with pint-size center Keith “Huffer” Christiansen, who set five scoring records in 1966-67, led the league in scoring, and followed by one year the selection of teammate Bob Hill as an All-American. Bruce McLeod, who today is director of the WCHA, and Pat Francisco finished second and third in the WCHA scoring race as UMD enjoyed its best season to that point against national competition. That also was the year that the Bulldogs left the cozy confines of the Duluth Curling Club to move into Duluth’s renowned new Duluth Arena complex (later renamed DECC). Romano resigned as head coach in 1968 to move into administration, and the torch was passed on to Bill
Selman, who coached at UMD for two seasons as the
Bulldogs continued to press hard to move up in the
WCHA standings. Ron Busniuk and Murray Keogan
became UMD’s third and fourth All-Americans in 1970,
and Walt Ledingham won the same honor the next two
seasons. Selman’s assistant, former player Terry
Shercliffe, then began a five-year stint in 1970 as head
coach that included UMD’s first season in the WCHA over
.500 in 1972-73. Pat Boutette joined the All-American
club, and Tom Milani, who still holds the school record
for goals in a career with 100, was the new man in town.
The nets were being manned by a guy named Glenn
Resch, who would later go on to become known as
“Chico” and a true National Hockey League star.
In 1975-76, UMD officials persuaded Gus Hendrickson and Mike Sertich, who had built a hockey dynasty at Grand Rapids High School, to take over the program. Hendrickson’s first couple of years concentrated on rebuilding the program with the likes of Dave Langevin, Rick Heinz and Curt Giles. In 1978-79 the Bulldogs posted a 22-14-1 record, and at one point were ranked the No. 1 team in the country! Mark Pavelich and John “Bah” Harrington of Olympic fame were two of the leading characters in the script that year. Beginning with the 1979-80 season, the ‘Dogs tumbled back into the lower half of the standings, and
it wasn’t until 1982-83 that UMD was able to crack the WCHA’s upper division.
Under first year coach Mike Sertich, a former Bulldog himself, UMD placed
fourth in the final league standings and gained its first ever invitation to the
NCAA championships. The following year, Sertich proved 1982-83 was no fluke
as the Bulldogs posted a school-best 29-11-2 overall record, clinched their first
WCHA title, and placed second in the finals at Lake Placid, NY. A year later
Sertich’s magic continued. Minnesota-Duluth took home its second straight
WCHA regular season and playoff crowns and earned another trip to the NCAA
championships in Detroit, where the Bulldogs finished third. Overall, the
Bulldogs chartered a school-record 36-9-3 mark and three players – right wing
Bill Watson, defenseman Norm Maciver, and goaltender Rick Kosti – were
named to the Titan All-American team. Maciver gained All-American status
again in 1985-86 while defenseman Mike DeAngelis was a second team
All-American team pick in 1987-88. For the season of 1982-83 was notable in
the fact that UMD advanced to its first NCAA playoff series. The celebration in
Duluth was short lived as the Bulldogs bowed out to the host Providence
College Friars by a score of 3-2 to colclude their season with a record of
28-16-1 and placed fourth in the WCHA field. For the season of 1983-84 Duluth witnessed one of their own capture college hockey most coveted individual prize when Bloomington, MN native Tom Kurvers captured the Hobey Baker award during his senior season. The season was also notable in the fact that Duluth made its inaugural appearance in the NCAA Championship Finals. Just as the previous seasons season was ended abruptly by a loss to the Friars, the 83-84 Championship game would conclude the same with a four overtime loss to Bowling Green in Lake Placid, NY. Goaltender Rick Kosti turned back a tourney-record 55 shots in the overtime setback. What Duluth did gain was confidence that they could compete at the National level while advancing to the finals.
The University of Minnesota-Duluth hockey history book contains chapter after chapter of stories about notables who have brought the Bulldog ice hockey program to National prominence - from its early DSTC roots in 1930, to todays WCHA Bulldogs in which UMD continues to gain strides toward the ultimate goal of hanging a National Championship banner in Northern Minnesota.
Duluth State Teachers College-Minnesota Bulldogs Timeline 1930-2009
December 10, 1930 Duluth State Teachers College announces that intercollegiate ice hockey will be added to the institution's varsity. DSTC home ice located at the Duluth Amphitheater from 1930-1932.
January 13, 1931 DSTC bows to Duluth Central High School 3-0 at the Duluth Amphitheater in the club's first varsity hockey game. Subsequently, the fledgling team drops all three of its contests in its inaugural campaign for a 0-3-0 record. Head Coach Frank Kovach, who also helped start both the Bulldog intercollegiate football and men's basketball programs that same year, awards 15 varsity letters.
February 27, 1932 DSTC wins it's first intercollegiate hockey game with a 3-2 decision over Two Harbors High School at the Duluth Amphitheater.
June 10, 1946 Following a 14 year absence, ice hockey is reinstated as a varsity sport by administrative officials at Duluth State Teacher's College with a 11-6-1 record.
February 24, 1949 Goaltender Norm Thompson and the Bulldogs shut out Carleton College 3-4 in Duluth to closeout the year with a 7-0-0 overall record for their only unbeaten, untied season in history.
June 27, 1949 After two seasons playing as an independent, Minnesota-Duluth is accepted into the
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
December 13, 1957 Minnesota-Duluth dumps visiting Michigan Tech University 5-3 for it's first triumph over an NCAA Division I institution.
February 18, 1959 Junior center Orest Wojcichowsky nets 10 points (four goals and six assists) against Concordia College in what would stand as a Minnesota-Duluth (prep Division I) single game record. The Bulldogs win the MIAC confrontation 16-0 at the Duluth Curling Club.
February 15, 1961 In its final game as members of the MIAC, Minnesota-Duluth blanks Augsburg College 19-0 at the Duluth Curling Club. The victory was the Bulldogs' 56th straight in league play and assured UMD of its sixth consecutive MIAC title.
August 10, 1961 Minnesota-Duluth abandons the MIAC in hopes of establishing itself a legitimate big-time college hockey school. The University official elects to compete as a Division I independent and releases a 1961-1962 schedule which features engagements against WCHA powers such as the University of Minnesota, Michigan Tech, Michigan State University, and the University of Denver.
December 19, 1964 In what still stands as a NCAA Division I single-game record, senior goaltender Bill Halbrehder makes 77 saves in the Bulldogs' 6-5 overtime loss to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
March 20, 1965 The 1966 Division I Ice Hockey Tournament and the accompanying American Hockey Coaches Association Convention is awarded to the city of Duluth and it's new $6.1 million Arena-Auditorium Complex. But due to construction delays with the facility (it wouldn't officially open until July 1966), the national event is later switched to Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The Duluth Arena (later renamed DECC), however, would eventually host the NCAA Championships in both 1968 and 1981. April 3, 1965 Minnesota-Duluth Provost Raymond Darland announces that the Bulldogs will officially become the eighth team in the prestigious WCHA beginning with the 1965-66 season. The Bulldogs join Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado College, Denver, Michigan Tech, Michigan State, and Michigan in the newly-expanded circuit.
February 11, 1966 The Bulldogs end their 14-game winless WCHA streak by clipping North Dakota 3-2 in overtime in Grand Forks, ND, for the schools first league victory.
February 18, 1966 The Bulldogs take to the Duluth Curling Club ice sheet for a final time, falling 8-3 to the University of Michigan. A gathering of just over 2,000 spectators witness the finale.
March 13,1966 Senior defenseman Bob Hill is among six players selected to the 1965-1966 AHCA All-American first team, becoming the first Bulldog to ever earn such a distinction.
November 19, 1966 In the inaugural game of the newly constructed
Duluth Arena, All-American senior center Keith "Huffer" Christiansen, who
later that year would be named the WCHA's Most Valuable Player, collects
a school-record six assists to help propel the Bulldogs past Minnesota 8-1
before a sellout crowd of 5,700.
March 12, 1971 Center Pat Boutette rams in a rebound for his second
goal of the game seven minutes into overtime to give the Bulldogs a 4-3
triumph over Michigan State in the opening round of the WCHA playoffs in
Denver, CO. The victory is UMD's first-ever in WCHA post-season play.
December 17, 1971 Over a dozen school-single game record fall by the
wayside as the Bulldogs paste Minnesota 15-3 in Minneapolis. A pair of
All-American centers--Walt Ledingham and Pat Boutette--each record hat
tricks to lead the scoring onslaught for Minnesota-Duluth which struck for
nine goals in the second period (including eight in a six minute span) in
the WCHA contest.
November 17, 1972 Buoyed by the five-goal performance of senior Steve "Pokey" Trachsel, UMD opens play at the Christmas City of the North Tournament in Duluth with a 11-4 rout of Lake Superior State University. Trachsel, who had been deployed at defense during his first three collegiate seasons before moving up to the wing position in 1972-1973, sets a club mark (one that still stands) with the five scores ad equals another team record by adding one assist for a six-point evening. Despite the record-breaking performance, Trachsel was overlooked by the selection committee for a spot on the All-Tournament first team.
January 13, 1973 In what arguably ranks as the greatest Minnesota-Duluth comeback of all time, the Bulldogs rally from a 6-2 deficit with just 5:21 remaining in regulation to edge Michigan Tech 7-6 in overtime at the Duluth Arena. Bulldog junior center Pat Boutette scored three straight goals in a span of 2:37 during the comeback effort before rookie right winger Tom Milani notched the game-winner 3:02 (on an assist from Boutette) in the extra session.
February 23, 1974 Minnesota-Duluth sets a single game
attendance record at the Duluth Arena as 6,158 spectators watch
Michigan Tech shade the Bulldogs 5-3.
March 16, 1974 The host Bulldogs upend the University of
Vermont 7-4 to capture the short-lived (lasting only one year)
National Invitational Hockey Tournament, a four-team event
patterned after college basketball's NIT, for clubs which didn't
qualify for NCAA post-season play.
October 24, 1975 In his first collegiate game with the Bulldogs,
freshman right winger John "Bah" Harrington raps in a centering
pass from Ernie Powell past goaltender Blane Comstock 4:04 into
overtime to give host Minnesota-Duluth a 4-3 win over the United
States Olympic Team.
December 16, 1977 Just 13 days after equaling a UMD record
for points in a game (six), junior All-American defenseman Curt
Giles establishes a club single-game mark for assists when he
sets up six goals to spark the Bulldogs to a 7-6 victory at Colorado
December 29, 1977 Wearing Eveleth High School Golden Bears uniforms because their new home jerseys had yet to arrive, the Bulldogs upend Brown University 4-1. Four different UMD skaters score in the victory, including junior center and Eveleth native Mark Pavelich.
March 7, 1979 Despite losing 4-2 (in overtime) to Denver, the Bulldogs still managed to win their two-game, total-goal WCHA quarterfinal playoff series with the Pioneers 7-6 at the Duluth Arena to advance to the second round of the league's post-season tournament for the first time. Minnesota-Duluth, which sported a pair of All-American's in Curt Giles and Mark Pavelich, placed third in the final WCHA standings-- its inaugural finish in the league's upper division.
March 19, 1983 After bowling to Providence College 7-3 the previous night, Minnesota-Duluth succumbs 3-2 to the host Friars in its first showing in an NCAA playoff series.
February 17, 1984 Sparked by senior left wing Bob Lakso's hat trick, Minnesota-Duluth upends Wisconsin 4-2 at the Duluth Arena to secure its first WCHA title.
March 10, 1984 Forced to host a "home" series at Williams (Mariucci) Arena in Minneapolis due to scheduling conflict with the Duluth Arena, the Bulldogs blitz North Dakota 8-1 before a near-capacity crowd of 7,297 in the first of a two-game WCHA playoff championship series. The Bulldogs go on to defeat the Fighting Sioux, 12-6, in the total-goal set and advance to the NCAA quarterfinals at home against Clarkson College.
March 22, 1984 The Bulldogs beat North Dakota in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships in Lake Placid, NY. The thrilling 2-1 overtime victory is sealed when two-time All-American right wing Bill Watson scores off a Bob Lakso feed in front of the net at the 3:09 mark of the first extra session.
March 23, 1984 Senior defenseman Tom Kurvers, who was chosen the WCHA's Most Valuable Player earlier in the month, becomes the first Bulldog to win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which recognizes the most outstanding player in college hockey.
March 24, 1984 Making its inaugural appearance in the finals of the
NCAA Championships, Minnesota-Duluth falls 5-4 in four overtimes to
Bowling Green in Lake Placid, NY. The 97-minute, 11-second game was,
at the time, the longest in NCAA post-season history. Bulldog freshman
goaltender Rick Kosti turns back a tournament-record 55 shots in the
Soviet Union, thus becoming the first American collegiate ice hockey team
to ever visit that country. The Bulldogs split a two-game exhibition series
with the Junior Red Army in Leningrad and in Moscow during their historic
February 16, 1985 The Bulldogs, behind a pair of goals from Junior
right wing Bill Watson, claim their second straight WCHA regular season
crown by skating past Michigan Tech 4-3 at the Duluth Arena.
March 25, 1985 Third-year Head Coach Mike Sertich is selected the WCHA's Coach of the Year for an unprecedented third season in a row.
March 29, 1985 One day before he was to record his 109th point of the season (which, at the time, was a NCAA Division I record), junior right wing Bill Watson is bestowed with the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Watson, who had earlier been named the WCHA's Most Valuable Player after leading the circuit for scoring for a second straight season, becomes the second Bulldog in as many years to receive the prized National Honor.
March 30, 1985 After losing a heartbreaking 5-4 triple overtime decision the previous evening to eventual NCAA champion RPI., Minnesota-Duluth rebounds with a 6-5 triumph in one overtime against Boston College to capture third place at the NCAA National Championships at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI.
March 1, 1986 Sophomore sensation Brett Hull beats Northern Michigan
netminder Dennis Jiannaris at the 15:38 mark of the third period in the
Bulldogs' WCHA quarterfinal series with the Wildcats at the Duluth Arena
for his 50th goal of the year (and fourth of the night) to eclipse the previous
Bulldog single-season mark of 49 tallies set in 1985-1985 by Bill Watson.
The All-WCHA right wing would go on to finish the year with 52 goals.
January 30, 1988 In a special pre-game ceremony at the DECC, the
Minnesota-Duluth Department of Intercollegiate Athletics officially retires
Keith "Huffer" Christiansen's familiar #9 jersey, marking the first time the
school has bestowed of any of its athletes with that honor.
February, 25 1989 Junior Dale Jago scored one goal and assists on
another in a 6-3 WCHA playoff loss to Northern Michigan in Marquette.
In the process, Jago finishes first among his teammates in scoring and
thus becomes the first Bulldog defenseman to ever do so.
November 4, 1989 The Bulldogs equal their best start ever (8-0-0) by pounding Alaska Anchorage 7-1.
March 3, 1991 Junior goaltender Chad Erickson establishes a then- ironman record when he makes his 64th consecutive start in the Bulldogs' WCHA playoff series at Wisconsin. The outing, a 5-2 Bulldog setback, marked his final appearance as a collegian.
February 27, 1993 The Bulldogs skate off with their third WCHA title by blanking visiting St. Cloud State University 4-0. Junior left wing Chris Marinucci contributes two goals in the triumph while rookie netminder Taras Lendzyk turns aside all 18 Husky shots in recording his first collegiate shutout.
March 13, 1993 With a 4-9 victory and another Taras Lendzyk shutout, Minnesota-Duluth sweeps Alaska Anchorage in the first round of the WCHA playoffs at the DECC and concludes the year with a 17-1-0 home record for a .944 winning percentage--the best single-season mark in school history.
March 19, 1993 The Bulldogs steal the show at the annual WCHA awards banquet as senior center Derek Plante lands the league's Player Of The Year honor and fellow All- WCHA first team pick Brett Hauer, a senior defenseman is named the Student-Athlete of the Year (a Bulldog first). Mike Sertich also becomes only the second individual to ever be chosen the WCHA's Coach of the Year on four occasions.
December 17, 1993 Sophomore Taras Lendzyk turns aside all 31 Harvard University shots in a 3-0 home win en route to posting the first shutout ever by a Bulldog goaltender in December.
April 1, 1994 WCHA Player of the Year Chris Marinucci, who scored more points than any other collegian during the past two seasons, closes his Bulldog ice career by claiming the 1994 Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
February 23, 1996 In what is believed to be a college hockey first, Freshman wing Forrest "Woody" Glines scores his first (and only) collegiate goal on a penalty shot in a 5-1 home victory over Northern Michigan.
March 15, 1998 Basically left for dead and down 4-0 with less than 14 minutes remaining in regulation, the Bulldogs rally to defeat the University of Minnesota 5-4 in the third and deciding game of their best-of-three WCHA playoff series at the DECC. Five different Bulldogs score in the victory, including Mike Peluso whose goal at 10:49 into overtime caps the Minnesota-Duluth comeback.
April 18, 2000 One month after receiving the WCHA Student Athlete of the Year award, senior Jeff Scissons in named a GTE Academic All-American (first team)-- the first UMD athlete to ever be honored. Scissons, who never missed a game ( a school record 153 outings) during his four years at UMD, went on to graduate later that spring with a 3.91 cumulative grade point average while majoring in finance.
March 22, 2003 UMD gets goals from six different players in a 6-4 victory over Minnesota State University-Mankato to capture third place at the WCHA Final Five tournament at St. Paul's X-Cel Energy Center. Although he's held pointless that afternoon, center Tim Stapleton still finishes first among Bulldogs in scoring, becoming only the third freshman (NCAA I Era) ever, and first in 26 years, to do so. Stapleton and the Bulldogs conclude the year as one of college hockey's hottest clubs, going unbeaten in 12 of their last 16 outings.
February 21, 2004 Junior left wing Marco Peluso scores three times (all on the power play which matches a UMD single-game mark) for his first collegiate hat-trick, and, in the process, sparks the Bulldogs to a 5-3 WCHA triumph over host Colorado College. The victory extends UMD's unbeaten streak to a school-record 14 games.
March 18, 2004 UMD's prodigious regulars season does not go unnoticed as two of the WCHA's major honors are bestowed on the Bulldogs at the league's Award Banquet. Senior right wing Junior Lessard is chosen the WCHA's Player of the Year- the seventh Bulldog to be recognized- after topping that circuit in both scoring and goals while Scott Sandelin receives the WCHA Coach of the Year award after he directed UMD to its highest league finish (second place) in 11 years. Sandelin would go on to also lay claim to the Spencer Penrose Award as the NCAA I Coach of the Year, joining Mike Sertich (1983-1984) as the only two Bulldog bosses to win that piece of hardware.
March 28, 2004 in the first NCAA playoff meeting ever between the two arch-rivals, the Bulldogs ambush two-time defending National Champion Minnesota 3-1 to seize the NCAA Midwest Regional title in Grand Rapids MI. Three different Bulldogs collect goals in the victory- UMD's fifth in six tries against the Gophers that winter- and junior goaltender Isaac Reichmuth turns aside 22 of 23 shots en route to being tabbed the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
April 8, 2004 For the first time in over a year, UMD fails to hold on to a lead
heading into the third period and drops a heartbreaking 5-3 decision to the
University of Denver in the semi-final round of the Frozen Four in Boston, MA.
In his collegiate swan song, senior Junior Lessard scores twice for the Bulldogs,
who held a 3-1 advantage at the second intermission before surrendering four
unanswered goals in the final 18 minutes of play. UMD came into the tourney
boasting a 25-0-1 record in games in which it was ahead after two periods that
April 9, 2004 Junior Lessard puts the exclamation point on a marvelous senior season by being presented with the Hobey Baker Memorial Award- the fourth Bulldog to win college hockey's most coveted individual prize. The first Quebec native to ever lace up a pair of skates at UMD, Lessard paced the country in scoring (63 points), goals (32) and power play tallies (14) from his right wing post and was selected to the NCAA-All American first team as well as the National Player of the Year by both insidecollegehockey.com and USCHO.com.
October 25, 2004 UMD finds itself occupying the No. 1 spot in a national men's hockey poll- a place it hadn't been since 1989- as both the folks from USCHO.com/CSTV and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine tab the 5-0-1 Bulldogs as their "Top Dog". Three weeks earlier, UMD was voted as the WCHA favorite by league coaches in the 34th annual Grand Forks Herald pre-season poll- a first for the Bulldog hockey program.
February 3, 2006 Nearly two decades after he dazzled college hockey fans with his goal-scoring wizardry, Brett Hull returns to his old hockey stomping grounds- the DECC- to have his jersey number (29) retired by the Bulldogs' WCHA clash with Wisconsin. Hull, who still owns a number of UMD scoring records, hung up his National Hockey League skates earlier that year as its third all-time leading goal producer behind NHL icons: Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. He joins hockey center iceman Keith "Huffer" Christiansen as the only two Bulldog male athletes to ever have their numbers forever enshrined by UMD.
March 21, 2009 UMD becomes the first play-in game participant to capture the WCHA Final Five title in the 17-year history of that event by blanking the University of Denver 4-0. The WCHA playoff crown is the
Bulldogs’ third ever, but first since 1984-85. Junior goaltender Alex Stalock is named the Final Five’s Most Valuable Player after stopping 90 of 91 shots in the three games and posting back to back shut outs -- a
UMD program first.
March 27, 2009 It what became known as the “Miracle at Mariucci” the Bulldogs score twice in the final 40 second of regulation and go on to nip Princeton University 5-4 in overtime in the NCAA West Region semi-finals. Trailing 4-2, goals by UMD rookie center Jack Connolly and sophomore defenseman Evan Oberg (with just .8 seconds to play) send the game into overtime before freshman left winger Mike Connolly puts an end to the evening by scoring on the power play at 13:39 of the extra session. A partisan UMD crowd of 7,187 at Minnesota’s Mariucci Arena are on hand to witness perhaps the most astonishing comeback in Bulldog history.
March 28, 2009 The longest post-season winning streak in UMD’s 65-year history comes to an end as the Bulldogs fall 2-1 to the Miami University in the NCAA West Region championship. The Bulldogs, who defeated five straight Top 15 clubs during that stretch in Colorado College (twice), the University of Minnesota, the University of North Dakota, the University of Denver and Princeton University, close out the
year ranked eighth in both major national polls. The loss is the collegiate finale for All-American junior goaltender Alex Stalock, who set UMD single-season marks for both goals against average (2.13) and saves percentage (.924) and became just the second Bulldog ever -- and first since Rick Kosti in 1984-85 -- to hold the title as the WCHA’s goals against average leader.
Bulldogs Timeline source in part 2001-2002/2006-2009 Bulldogs Hockey Media Guide's