After being out-played in almost every aspect of the word on Friday night, the St. Cloud State Huskies finished off the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in a convincing 5-1 victory at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, Minnesota.
As we know, both teams tend to play better on re-match nights, or basically any other night but Friday, which held true for the Huskies, who took every mistake the Bulldogs made and turned it into a coaching nightmare.
"We responded tonight and had a very, very solid game," said St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko. "We were moving our feet, winning more battles, and our guys made a good adjustment against a strong forecheck and physical team."
The response to last night's game was almost night and day. Yesterday, the puck was kept within Husky goaltender Ryan Faragher's zone throughout a strong majority of the game. This game, though, was played much differently.
"We new we were going to have to have a better effort than last night," said Husky forward David Morley. "There is no question that we stole that one last night and going through the film we knew some of the corrections we had to make, and the biggest thing was just our compete level and we feel like we did that tonight."
Jimmy Murray earned his first goal of the year to quiet Amsoil Arena down midway through the first, and Brooks Bertsch would tally just minutes later, earning his first goal of the year as well.
Morley added a notch at the halfway-mark on the game to put St. Cloud State up 3-0 in the second period, but the Bulldogs answered with a goal by Charlie Sampair under two minutes later, finally getting by the St. Cloud State wall of defense.
St. Cloud State's Cory Thorson and Ryan Papa both scored before the game would end, finalizing the battle 5-1.
"I expected what we saw tonight out of them all weekend," said Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin. "I thought they played with a lot more urgency tonight and were a lot sharper. They played well defensively, but I don't think we really pushed that."
The Bulldogs had trouble getting shots to the net, which led to just 20 shots on goal in comparison to last night's 38, a good indicator at the difference in the amount of puck possession UMD was able to sustain.
"I don't think we wanted the puck tonight," said Sandelin. "We lost a lot of battles and we aren't going to win any games doing that."
1st Period - SCSU (9:36) Jimmy Murray from Nic Dowd (Los Angeles Kings) and Cory Thorson
1st Period - SCSU (15:57) GWG Books Bertisch from Joe Rehkamp
2nd Period - SCSU (10:00) David Morley from Kevin Gravel (Los Angeles Kings) and Andrew Prochno
2nd Period - UMD (11:31) Charlie Sampair from Andy Welinski (Anaheim Ducks) and Cal Decowski
2nd Period - SCSU (19:27) Cory Thorson from David Morley
3rd Period - SCSU (12:19) Ryan Papa from David Morley and Daniel Tedesco
Ryan Faragher (SCSU): 8-5-6 = 19 (1 GA) - W
Aaron Crandall (UMD): 7-5-8 = 20 (5 GA) - L
Alex Fons (UMD): 0-0-2 = 2 (0 GA)
- Minnesota Duluth freshman forward Dominic Toninato (Toronto Maple Leafs), who played on Friday night, was kept out of the lineup on Saturday night due to illness. Defenseman Willie Corrin was also said to be out of the series with an injury.
- Cory Thorson, who played left wing on Friday, switched sides with Joey Benik for Saturday night's game, as did Jimmy Murray and Jonny Brodzinski.
- St. Cloud State defenseman Kevin Gravel led the Huskies with a weekend an outstanding +/- rating of +5. The 6-foot-4 senior is now +11 on the year and +8 in 128 games played in the SCSU sweater.
- St. Cloud now owns the all-time record at Amsoil Arena against Minnesota Duluth at 4-3-1.
- Sophomore forward David Morley tied a season high with three points
- The teams finished a combined 0-for-5 on the power play.
- SCSU returns home next weekend, Dec. 13-14, for a non-conference series against ECAC foe No. 14/11 Union, while Minnesota Duluth remains at home to host Western Michigan in the lone NCHC series next weekend.
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