Gophers, Bulldogs tie 1-1 in season opener

Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth skated to a 1-1 tie Saturday night in Duluth in the first game of a season-opening home-and-home series between the in-state rivals.

Freshman forward Sampo Ranta scored the first goal of his collegiate career at 12:07 of the first period to put the Gophers up 1-0, a score that would stand until the third period.

The defending national champions responded at 3:38 of the third period, when senior forward Peter Krieger scored on the power play to make it 1-1.

The Bulldogs outshot the Gophers 32-28 on the night, going 1-for-5 on the power play. Minnesota’s power play went 0-for-2.

Junior goaltender Hunter Shepard for 27 saves for the Bulldogs, while junior Mat Robson made 31 saves for the Gophers.

The night represented a major milestone for both teams: Gophers head coach Bob Motzko was coaching in his first game since leaving St. Cloud State to coach Minnesota, while Minnesota Duluth raised it’s 2018 NCAA championship banner before the game.

Minnesota has struggled against one of its most prominent in-state rivals in recent years. The Bulldogs haven’t lost to the Gophers since Feb. 10, 2014.

The series wraps up Sunday night in Minneapolis.