"In my years of coaching I don't know if I've ever seen such highway robbery," said St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko after the Huskies defeated the Bulldogs 4-2 at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, Minnesota.
"We had no business winning that game. Give our goaltender credit and a couple plays in the end but Duluth outplayed us the entire game," said Motzko. "We absolutely just stole the game."
To a certain extent, he was right.
Minnesota Duluth came out of the gates flying, owning the puck for well-over half of the game's allowance. The Bulldogs doubled the amount of shots the Huskies took and out-played the #2 ranked team in the country, but the score indicates otherwise.
The Bulldogs looked to be heading into the locker room after the second period with a 2-1 lead until a flukey play where Kalle Kossila fired the puck into the zone, which deflected off a UMD defenseman and found it's way into the net said otherwise.
"They scored some opportunistic goals and their goalie was good," said Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin. It's basically 0-0 game going into the third period and you have to win the period to win a game."
Then towards the end of the third period, Joey Benik made a great pass to Jonny Brodzinski coming into Duluth's zone, who took a shot the road a line straight to the top-right corner of Matt McNeely's net, giving the Huskies their first lead of the game.
With 44 seconds left in the game and McNeely hanging over the boards in hopes the extra-attacker goal, Brodzinski put a heartfelt dagger in to finalize the game, 4-2.
"Their goalie kept them around making some saves," said Sandelin. "At the end of the night they made the play to take the lead and that's just how some games go."
Both teams seem to play better on Saturday nights, but Minnesota Duluth has progressed their re-match game talent greatly, especially after their last game against Minnesota, defeating the Gophers 6-2.
"It would be nice to get a win on Friday obviously and not have that weight on your shoulder, said UMD junior forward Justin Crandall. "We're very confident on our own rink, especially on a saturday."
For a St. Cloud State team that has shown dominance this season, they're going to be looking for a better game as well, which should provide fans with a very interesting showdown tonight.
"We lost 50 puck battles tonight," said Motzko. "Thank God we play tomorrow, because we have to play better tomorrow."
1st Period - SCSU (9:10) PP Nic Dowd from Cory Thorson and Kevin Gravel
2nd Period - UMD (11:42) PP Justin Crandall from Kyle Osterberg and Caleb Herbert
2nd Period - SCSU (17:26) PP Kalle Kossila from Niklas Nevalaine and Ethan Prow
3rd Period - SCSU (14:29) Jonny Brodzinski
3rd Period - SCSU ENG Jonny Brodzinski from Nick Oliver and Kevin Gravel
- The win vaulted the Huskies into first place in the NCHC while extending their unbeaten streak to six games.
- The contest was the first ever home NCHC game for the Bulldogs, who hadn’t played at home since Oct. 26.
- The Bulldogs finished with a 38-19 advantage in shots, including 15-4 in the first period, but SCSU junior Ryan Faragher totaled 36 saves for the win.
Official Three Stars
1. Ryan Faragher - G - SCSU
2. Jonny Brodzinski - F - SCSU
3. Justin Crandall - F - UMD
Post Game Thoughts
St. Cloud State
Matt Christians covers Minnesota Duluth and the NCHC for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also give him a follow here -> Follow @matt_christians