Stars prospect Riley Tufte scores in NCAA championship game, but UMD comes up short

Stars prospect Riley Tufte’s late goal wasn’t enough for the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in Saturday’s national championship matchup with Denver, as Pioneer Jarid Lukosevicius notched a hat trick to earn Denver its eighth title.

Sitting scoreless after one frame, Lukosevicius opened the scoring and added another 16 seconds apart to put his Pioneers up 2-0. Just over two minutes later, Duluth’s Alex Iafallo tallied on the power play to draw within one before Lukosevicius completed his hat trick at the 12:23 mark of the period.

In the third, Tufte slammed home a rebound to make it 3-2 after teammate Avery Peterson rung a tough-angle shot off the post that fell to the freshman in the crease. The goal, which came with just over five minutes to play in regulation, wasn’t enough to spark the Bulldogs into a full-fledged comeback.

Tufte wrapped up the 2016-17 season, his first at the collegiate level, with a final line of nine goals and seven assists for 16 points. The forward took 13 penalties, put home a single power-play goal and blocked a dozen shots.

In a season that began on a 14-game pointless streak, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Tufte finished with six points in his final eight games. Three of those points (two assists, one goal) came in the NCAA tournament.

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