ST. CLOUD – It seems no matter what the situation, the Huskies keep finding ways to win games this season.
Defenseman Nick Perbix’s second goal of the night helped top-ranked St. Cloud State survive #3 Minnesota Duluth 4-3 in overtime at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. A crazy series of events preceded the overtime heroics for the Huskies, and in the end, Perbix and his teammates are glad to get the win over an outstanding Bulldogs team.
“That was a fun one,” Perbix said. “Good thing we came out on top.”
For the record, Perbix does not remember the last time he scored more than once in a game.
“It’s been a while,” he laughed. “It feels good to have it in a big game.”
“Two of the best teams in the country getting after it,” St. Cloud State head coach Brett Larson said. “Nothing came easy.”
UMD (21-10-2 overall, 14-8-1 NCHC) rallied three times after falling behind and played brilliant defensively to keep SCSU (26-4-3, 18-2-3) off balance offensively for much of the game, but just as it seemed they would carry 30 seconds of a power play into overtime, it was offset when Noah Cates was issued a five-minute major and a misconduct for contact to the head of Jon Lizotte at the end of regulation. Bulldogs head coach Scott Sandelin did not like the call and was visibly upset as he walked off the ice during the postgame handshake.
It was the first time Duluth has been beaten in an overtime game since February 19, 2016. They had been 10-0-12 in overtime games since then.
In what proved to be a wild first period, St. Cloud State got started quickly with an early power-play goal by Patrick Newell. But UMD responded less than a minute and a half later as Jade Miller snapped one home from the slot. SCSU regained the lead as UMD turned it over at the blue line before Micah Miller won a race to the puck at the other end and poked it past Hunter Shepard to put the Huskies up 2-1. Yet again, though, the Bulldogs had an answer. Duluth ramped up their pressure in the SCSU zone and it paid off as Noah Cates tied it late in the first.
UMD continued their outstanding forecheck and suffocating defense in the second period, limiting SCSU’s chances and keeping goaltender David Hrenak busy. Perbix gave the Huskies the lead back with the first of his two goals, but the Bulldogs replied once again when Riley Tufte sniped home a one-timer from the right circle.
Larson gave credit to Duluth for hanging around all game long.
“You know they’re gonna make a push,” Larson said as he improved to 2-1 against a UMD team he coached on last season. “We wanted to try to extend one of those leads, but just couldn’t.”
Minnesota Duluth appeared to get in position to win it late when Jack Ahcan was assessed a boarding minor with 1:30 to go in regulation. But once Noah Cates was tossed from the game, SCSU went to work in the extra session, outshooting UMD 4-0 before Perbix’s winner deflected into the net off his skate. It appeared that it may have been a slight kicking motion, but the officials upheld that goal to help the Huskies improve to 14-0-1 at home this season.
In the end, both UMD and SCSU gave each other all they could handle. Larson expects more of the same on Saturday when these two teams play their final regular-season game.
“You’re in a dogfight right ‘til the end in a game like that, so I highly doubt it’ll be any different tomorrow,” he said.
Shepard made 24 saves for the Bulldogs, and Hrenak made 25 for the Huskies.
Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State complete their weekend series with a 4:07 CT puck drop on Saturday afternoon. It will be Senior Day for SCSU.
SCSU power-play goal at 5:09: Patrick Newell (14). Assisted by Jack Ahcan (19).
UMD goal at 6:31: Jade Miller (2). Assisted by Kobe Roth (6).
SCSU goal at 11:24: Micah Miller (4). Unassisted.
UMD goal at 19:12: Noah Cates (9). Assisted by Nick Swaney (9) and Louie Roehl (8).
SCSU power-play goal at 4:55: Nick Perbix (3). Assisted by Nolan Walker (16).
UMD power-play goal at 9:28: Riley Tufte (7). Assisted by Parker Mackay (12) and Mikey Anderson (14).
SCSU power-play goal at 3:16: Nick Perbix (4). Assisted by Newell (15) and Walker (17).
Power plays: UMD 1-3, SCSU 3-4.
Shots on goal: UMD 28, SCSU 28.