Though the statistics don't officially count, it's likely Kyle Osterberg and Dom Toninato won't soon forget their Minnesota Duluth debuts.
Osterberg, a freshman left winger from Lakeville, Minn., scored one goal and assisted on two others and Toninato, a freshman from Duluth East, had a pair of goals in a four-goal third period as UMD rolled to a 7-1 win over Lakehead University in a college men's hockey exhibition game Monday night at Amsoil Arena.
Osterberg, starting on a fourth line, assisted on UMD's two first-period goals and then scored a key second-period goal after the Thunderwolves had halved the deficit on a power-play goal. Toninato, centering a second line that ramped up the speed of the game as it went along, was in the right place at the right time to score twice.
"It's something I'll never forget," said Toninato, whose father, Jim, played for UMD from 1982-86. "Growing up in Duluth and going to all those (UMD) games since I was young, it was really special. It's good to get those first two out of the way. "
Carson Soucy, another freshman from Irma, Alberta, rapped in a rebound at 3:33 of the first period to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead five seconds after a power play ended. Junior Justin Crandall then batted in his own rebound at 17:58 for a 2-0 lead.
"I thought Osterberg and Crandall stood out for us and were good for us the whole night making plays," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. "Dom and his line is a top line, so hopefully they continue their chemistry. Even though it's going to get tougher, it's good to start that way. "
Lakehead, a school based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, which had lost its opening two games to Prince Edward Island by an 11-2 total, stayed close thanks to solid play by goaltender Jeff Bosch and a rusty UMD power-play unit. The Bulldogs went 0-for-6 with the extra attacker.
Lakehead's Jake Carrick slammed home a rebound 6:17 in the second period with Austyn Young serving two minutes for goaltender interference to put the Thunderwolves on the scoreboard.
But Bosch left the ice due to an unspecified injury and the Bulldogs turned it up a notch the rest of the way against backup netminder Justin McDonald. Osterberg capitalized on a rebound after linemate Spurrell started a rush up the left sideboards 16:00 into the second.
"I was trying to go in front of the net to Sammy Spurrell, but it went on net and came back to me and I just put it in the back of the net," Osterberg said. "It's something I won't forget."
The third period was all UMD. Co-captain Joe Basaraba unleashed a shot from just inside the blueline 40 seconds into the final period to make it 4-1 and then Toninato twice added to the lead. The second-line center worked a 2-on-1 with linemate Alex Iafallo for a goal 90 seconds into the period, making it 5-1, and hopped on a rebound of a Caleb Herbert shot for the final goal.
Toninato and Iafallo, who played together with the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League, had obvious chemistry.
"Last year at Fargo helped with our chemistry," Toninato said. "I thought we worked well together."
Sandwiched in between was a nice goal by sophomore Austin Farley, who cut across the slot right to left and deked out McDonald at the 3:16 mark. UMD scored four goals on its first six shots of the period and finished with a 52-23 advantage, including 19-2 in the final period.
"I thought the first period was decent," Sandelin said. "I didn't like our second period at all -- I thought Osterberg's goal was a big goal because we had been careless with the puck. We got some early goals in the third period and it took the life out of them. "
The teams played an unofficial shootout at the end, giving the Bulldogs practice for the upcoming National Collegiate Hockey Conference season, where shootouts will count in the standings. Each team missed on its first three chances and, after a fourth Bulldogs miss, Carrick notched the only shootout goal against Matt McNeely. UMD played all three goalies in preparation for the regular-season opener Friday and Saturday against former Western Collegiate Hockey Association foe Michigan Tech at Amsoil.
Lakehead University 0-1-0--1
Minnesota Duluth 2-1-4--7
First period -- 1. UMD, Carson Soucy (Kyle Osterberg, Justin Crandall), 3:33; 2. UMD, Justin Crandall (Osterberg, Andy Welinski), 17:58. Penalties -- Jake Carrick, LU (hooking), 1:28; Luke McManus (interference), 5:39; Willie Corrin (tripping),14:16; Andrew Tessier, LU (roughing), 19:20; Caleb Herbert (double minor, roughing), 19:20.
Second period -- 3. LU, Jake Carrick (Matt Kaarela, Mitch Fillman), 6:17 (pp); 4. Osterberg (Sammy Spurrell), 16:00. Penalties -- Paul Thompson, LU (too many men on ice), 1:19; Carrick, LW (elbowing), 3:24; Austyn Young (goaltender interference), 5:19; Kaarela, LU (slashing), 9:09.
Third period -- 5. UMD, Joe Basaraba (Max Tardy, Welinski), 0:40; 6. UMD, Dom Toninato (Alex Iafallo, Caleb Herbert), 1:30; 7. UMD, Austin Farley (Basaraba, Dan Molenaar), 3:16; 8. UMD, Toninato (Welinski, Herbert), 4:18. Penalties -- David Quesnele, LU (slashing), 8:15; Cody Alcock, LU (charging), 15:19.
Shots on goal -- Lakehead University 14-7-2--23, UMD 15-19-19--53. Goalies -- Jeff Bosch, LU (25 shots-23 saves); Justin McDonald, LU (28-23) Aaron Crandall, UMD (14-14); Alex Fons, UMD (6-6); Matt McNeely, UMD (2-2). Power plays -- Lakehead University 1-of-4, UMD 0-of-6. Referees -- C. J. Beaurline, Brad Shepherd. Linesmen -- Nick Bradshaw, Tony Czech. A -- 5,273.