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College men's hockey: Shorthanded Bulldogs fall to No. 2 St. Cloud State

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The battered and bruised Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs not only opened NCHC play with a defeat Friday, they lost another player to injury.

Freshman defenseman Mikey Anderson was knocked out of the game in the second period and second-ranked St. Cloud State scored three goals in the third to pick up a 5-3 victory in the first of two games this weekend at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

Game 2 of the series is at 4 p.m. today in snowy St. Cloud.

“Our effort was good, but we talked about penalties and we can’t give them that many opportunities,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin, whose eighth-ranked Bulldogs were whistled 10 times for 28 minutes Friday. “A couple of them were pretty questionable. I thought it was a hard game sometimes to play for the players because they didn’t know what was going to be called or what wasn’t.

“But you have to fight through that stuff. They capitalized on a couple opportunities.”

The Huskies (6-0 overall, 1-0 NCHC) jumped ahead in the opening 8-plus minutes of the final period, scoring two goals less than 90 seconds apart.

Freshman forward Kevin Fitzgerald scored off his own rebound to give St. Cloud State its first lead of the night 6:33 into the third. UMD found itself in the penalty box 21 seconds later and the Huskies took advantage as freshman wing Easton Brodzinski used his stick to deflect the shot of sophomore defenseman Jack Ahcan through, making it 4-2.

UMD senior center Sammy Spurrell, playing in just his second game of the season, pulled UMD within a goal late, but the Huskies added an empty-net goal in the final minute.

“There is a lot we can clean up and we will, but I thought the effort was there,” said UMD senior captain and wing Karson Kuhlman of Esko. “Guys had to play more with Mikey going down and Nick Wolff taking that 10 (minute misconduct) there. I thought we did all right. We got a lot to look at, but tomorrow should be a good one.”

The Bulldogs (4-3-2, 0-1) went up 1-0 and 2-1 in the second period, but both leads were short-lived thanks to pucks that bounced the Huskies’ way.

Kuhlman put UMD up 1-0 on a short-handed wraparound goal that caught Huskies junior goaltender Jeff Smith on the wrong post. The Huskies tied the game 19 seconds later on the same power play after a deflection off a Bulldog gave Huskies junior center Jacob Benson a short-range shot he buried.

Freshman defenseman Matt Anderson, scoring his first collegiate goal, put the Bulldogs up 2-1 late in the third period by slipping a power-play shot over Smith’s right shoulder to the far post. Less than 1:45 later, however, Huskies sophomore center Ryan Poehling used his skate — legally, according to video review — to deflect a shot by junior defenseman Will Borgen past UMD sophomore goalie Hunter Shepard.

Shepard finished with 29 saves for the Bulldogs making his fourth consecutive start. Smith stopped 25 shots for the Huskies.

Both Sandelin and Kuhlman credited Shepard with keeping UMD in the game, especially in the scoreless first period. The Cohasset native said he was just paying his teammates back for their efforts so far this season.

“Those guys have so far picked me up when I have made mistakes and left rebounds out in front and not been in position for saves,” Shepard said. “You have to give that back to them and pick them up.”

UMD started the night without senior forward Avery Peterson, sophomore forward Joey Anderson, freshman forward Nick Swaney and sophomore defenseman Jarod Hilderman, who were all out with upper-body injuries.

The Bulldogs lost Mikey Anderson in the second period to a hit by the Huskies’ Borgen that resulted in a major penalty for interference. His injury left UMD with four defensemen momentarily with Wolff, a sophomore defenseman, in the box for the misconduct.

The injuries not only jumbled the lineup, they left UMD without a number of key components to its power play. UMD finished 1-for-4 on the power play, failing to score on a 5-minute major given to Borgan midway through the second.

The Huskies finished 2-for-7 on the night during their advantages. Not counting numerous 4-on-4 moments, the teams played either up a man or down one for a total of 18 minutes and 16 seconds. Just 2:40 of that came in the third.

Cloquet native Koby Bender, a freshman forward, made his collegiate debut though his line, which included Spurrell and freshman wing Kobe Roth, saw minimal time due to the excessive amount of special teams time.

Minn. Duluth 0-2-1—3

St. Cloud State 0-2-3—5

First period — No scoring. Penalties — Blake Young, UMD (interference), 2:19; Kevin Fitzgerald, SCSU (slashing), 5:08; Matt Anderson, UMD (hooking), 11:56; Bench minor, SCSU (too many players), 13:28; Riley Tufte. UMD (slashing), 15:07; Dylan Samberg, UMD (roughing), 20:00; Jake Wahlin, SCSU (charging), 20:00.

Second period — 1. UMD, Karson Kuhlman 2 (Mikey Anderson), 2:29 (sh); 2. SCSU, Jacob Benson 3 (Robby Jackson, Jimmy Schuldt), 2:48 (pp); 3. UMD, Matt Anderson 1 (Tufte, Peter Krieger), 17:11 (pp); 4. SCSU, Ryan Poehling 3 (Will Borgen, Fitzgerald), 18:52. Penalties — Parker Mackay, UMD (interference), 1:48; Mikey Eyssimont, SCSU (tripping), 3:55; Nick Wolff, UMD (tripping and 10-minute misconduct), 3:55; Borgen, SCSU (interference major), 10:30; Judd Peterson, SCSU (hooking), 16:44; Young, UMD (tripping), 18:42; Eyssimont, SCSU (hooking), 19:39; Justin Richards, UMD (tripping), 20:00.

Third period — 5. SCSU, Fitzgerald 2 (R. Poehling, Eyssimont), 6:33; 6. SCSU, Easton Brodzinski 1 (Jack Ahcan, Patrick Newell), 8:18; 7. UMD, Sammy Spurrell 1 (Young, Scott Perunovich), 17:02; 8, SCSU, Jimmy Schuldt, 19:24 (en). Penalties — Samberg, UMD (hooking), 6:51.

Shots on goal — UMD 7-11-10—28; SCSU 10-12-12—34. Goalies — Hunter Shepard, UMD (33 shots-29 saves); Jeff Smith, SCSU (28-25). Power plays — UMD 1-of-4; SCSU 2-of-7. Referees — Todd Anderson, Andy Thackaberry. Linesmen — Kevin Cassidy, Sterling Egan. Att. — 3,695.

Matt Wellens

College hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune covering the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs men's and women's teams, as well as the NCAA Division III programs at St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior.

(218) 723-5317