Now that the Western Collegiate Hockey Association schedule is reaching its stretch run, the University of Minnesota Duluth knows each point gains importance with every passing day, especially with a home-ice spot in its sights.
The Bulldogs, who had failed to lock up a sweep in Duluth all season, finally finished off a series with a 5-4 win over visiting Michigan Technological University in front of a record crowd of 6,829 at AMSOIL Arena.
It marked the fourth straight conference win for UMD and upped the Bulldogs' record to 6-1-1 over their last eight WCHA contests, both giant streaks with UMD battling to finish in the league's top-half.
"It was good to come back home and get the sweep," said freshman forward Tony Cameranesi. "It's a great feeling because we haven't (swept a team at home) yet this year, and it's more special on a night like this where we're wearing the pink and it's Breast Cancer Awareness night. It was a great team win, and really great team wins both nights."
Cameranesi did his part to make the night a special one for all in attendance, notching a pair of goals and an assist - all which came in the game's final 35 minutes.
With the Bulldogs leading 2-1 after an Alex Petan goal early in the second period, Cameranesi went to work. He gave UMD a 3-1 lead on a breakaway goal off a beautiful setup from defenseman Tim Smith just three minutes after the MTU goal, then, after Tech narrowed the lead to a single goal once again, Cameranesi blasted a one-timer past Pheonix Copley to make it 4-2 Bulldogs after two.
He then set up defenseman Wade Bergman for a third-period power-play goal - the eventual game-winner - to solidify himself as the game's No. 1 star.
"We were in a little bit of a slump as a team after the Florida tournament," Cameranesi said. "Being able to come back home and get four points and a five-goal game is just what we needed."
Goaltender Matt McNeely stopped 28 shots for his second win in a row, and two other Bulldogs - Charlie Sampair and Derik Johnson - got on the score sheet with single assists.
UMD (9-10-3, 7-6-3 WCHA) are right back at it next weekend when they travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a pair of games against Colorado College.
Cameranesi and Seidel both remain tied atop the UMD scoring charts with 22 points ... UMD moves into a share of sixth place (with Wisconsin) in the WCHA standings