Caleb Herbert's time with the University of Minnesota Duluth has been brief, but he's already made quite an impression with a number of Western Collegiate Hockey Association schools. Count Minnesota State University-Mankato as one of them.
The rookie right winger scored twice and assisted on one other goal Friday night in helping lead the the No. 8 Bulldogs to a 5-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory over the visiting Mavericks. Herbert had two of UMD's first three goals, including the eventual game-winner with 2:37 to go int he second period while his linemate, senior center Travis Oleksuk ,added a goal and an assist as UMD ran its unbeaten streak to nine game (7-0-2) -- its longest in eight years and the best at the moment in college hockey.
UMD took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission despite being outshot 21-9, but struck two times in each of the final two periods to keep the Mavericks winless in their last seven visits to Duluth (0-6-1).
"I'm happy to get the two points, I'll tell you that," said Bulldog head coach Scott Sandelin, who collected his 200th career win. "They are a tough team and we were expecting that. We had a couple of good shifts early and Kenny (Reiter) made some great saves in that first period. That's two nights in a row he's had to bail us out."
Two-time All-American center Jack Connolly and sophomore right winger J.T. Brown also had one goal each for the Bulldogs and Kenny Reiter turned in a 34-save performance. The senior from Pittsburg, Pa., has now allowed just three goals in his last 281:27 of action. UMD failed to score a power play for only the second time all season, going 0-for-6, but killed off all but one of the Mavericks eight opportunities with the man advantage. With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 8-3-1 overall and moved to within one point of league-leading Minnesota in the WCHA standings at 6-2-1.
The two clubs will close out their WCHA series Saturday night in UMD's final home appearance until Jan. 20.
" Coach told us to just keep playing hard, get after pucks and stick with it," said Herbert, who is now the WCHA's second-leading freshman scorer with 13 points. "As long as we get pucks out of our zone and cut down on turnovers we should be able keep things rolling."