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Miami loses twice in Minnesota, as Duluth caps off season sweep

<p>Miami has now lost four games in a row in the last two weeks to the fifth-ranked Bulldogs</p>

Miami has now lost four games in a row in the last two weeks to the fifth-ranked Bulldogs

One of the best known adages in sports states that it’s tough to beat the same team three times in a season.

Tell that to the Minnesota Duluth hockey team. 

The Miami RedHawks traveled to Minnesota this weekend looking for retribution again against a Duluth team that beat them twice in Oxford last week. 

They didn’t get it. 

The RedHawks lost 8-1 Friday night and 3-1 Saturday to a Duluth team that boasts eight National Hockey League (NHL) draft picks and is currently ranked fifth in the country.

The losses were Miami’s fifth and sixth in six games against the Bulldogs this year. 

Friday, Duluth’s offensive onslaught started 9:10 into the first period, as freshman forward Blake Biondi found the back of the net off an assist from his linemate, junior forward Jackson Cates. 

The Bulldogs struck again less than four minutes later as Cates found a cutting teammate, senior forward Kobe Roth, who put the puck past freshman netminder Ludvig Persson for Duluth’s second goal of the game. 

Duluth scored five more unanswered goals before the end of the second period. Junior forward Cole Koepke scored a hat trick, notching three of the next five goals, and seniors Koby Bender and Nick Swaney chipped in for the remaining two. 

The RedHawks finally got on the board 3:02 into the third period when senior forward Casey Gilling scored on the power play to make it 7-1 Bulldogs. Assists on Gilling’s goal came from junior defenseman Derek Daschke and senior forward Phil Knies.

The Bulldogs scored their final goal about six minutes later, as Roth buried his second of the game with assists from Bender and Cates. Cates finished with an impressive five assists in the contest.

Persson and sophomore backup goaltender Ben Kraws combined for 24 saves in the game. Persson was pulled late in the first period after giving up three goals on seven shots.

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The Bulldogs scored first again on Saturday.

Thirteen minutes into the first period, senior Duluth defenseman Matt Anderson’s shot was tipped by Swaney and kicked away by Persson, but freshman RedHawk defenseman Robby Drazner kicked it in his own net to put the Bulldogs up 1-0.

Miami struck back early in the second period. Senior defenseman Alec Mahalak’s shot from the point was tipped past Duluth goalie Ryan Fanti by freshman forward Matthew Barbolini. Dylan Moulton, a freshman defenseman, also assisted on the goal to notch his first collegiate point. 

The tie game lasted until 11:12 into the third period, when Koepke fired a puck from a bad angle that found the net over Persson’s right shoulder to put Duluth up by one.

The score stayed 2-1 until the last minute of the game, when Roth walked in on the RedHawks’ empty net and easily buried his third goal of the weekend.

It was a valiant effort in net for Persson. The impressive Swedish freshman shone on Saturday, stopping 55 Duluth shots including a team record 27 in the first period. 

The two losses drop Miami to 4-14-2 on the season and their record against Duluth to 0-6-0.

The RedHawks will look to bounce back next weekend against fourth-ranked St. Cloud State at home in Oxford before finishing the season with a home-and-home series against Western Michigan.