Kenny Reiter is on roll right now -- and so are his University of Minnesota Duluth team mates.
The senior goaltender stopped all 27 shots he faced Friday night in backstopping the defending NCAA champion Bulldogs to a 5-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory over the University of Alaska Anchorage in Duluth. The shut out was Reiter's second in row, and third in his last four appearances while the win extended UMD's unbeaten streak to seven games -- the second longest in the nation at the moment.
"I'm playing with a lot of consistency right now and am seeing the puck really well," said Reiter, who hasn't allowed a goal in his last 161:27 of play (a Bulldog record) and now has nine career shutouts (equalling another club mark). "The guys up front are doing a great job and that helps a lot."
The tenth-ranked Bulldogs came storming out the gates, scoring three times in the first 6:24 of the opening period. Sophomore right winger Joe Basaraba, rookie defenseman Chris Casto and two-time All-American center Jack Connolly each had a goal during that stretch which ended the night for starting Seawolves goaltender Rob Gunderson. Jake Hendrickson snapped a 15-game pointless drought with a goal at the 12:39 mark of the first and Travis Oleksuk made it 5-0 early third period when he bagged his WCHA-leading 10th goal of the season.
"A big first period goes a long way in helping you be successful in this league," said Basaraba. "We knew that if we could get it going early, it would be a huge plus for us."
Connolly also added two assists on the night, hiking his personal scoring streak to nine games and his 2011-12 scoring harvest to 16 points. The 2010-11 Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist now has 153 career points (tops among all active NCAA skaters), which puts him into a tie with Monty Jones (1973-77) for 18th place on the all-time UMD scoring charts.
The Bulldogs and Seawolves (3-5-1; 0-5-0) will close out their two-game series Saturday night.
"We have to be aware of just how much Anchorage pressed in third period tonight," said Reiter, who, during the last seven games, is 5-0-2 with a 1.26 goals against average and a .952 saves percentage. "We're going to look at video and try to patch some things up in our defensive zone tomorrow."