Bulldogs end Friday blues with OT win at St. Cloud
ST. CLOUD -- Overtime, the city of St. Cloud and Friday night have not been kind to Minnesota Duluth as of late. Cal Decowski changed all that. The junior forward from Andover, Minn., scored the game-winning overtime goal 2:06 into the extra peri...
ST. CLOUD - Overtime, the city of St. Cloud and Friday night have not been kind to Minnesota Duluth as of late.
Cal Decowski changed all that.
The junior forward from Andover, Minn., scored the game-winning overtime goal 2:06 into the extra period to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 victory over St. Cloud State, spoiling the Huskies’ NCHC opener at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
It also ended a run of four straight losses for UMD on Friday nights to start the 2014-15 season; it snapped a 12-game unbeaten streak (0-10-2) on the Huskies’ home ice that dated back to the first round of the WCHA playoffs when UMD won Game 1 of the series before losing the next two; and it was only the second OT win for UMD in 14 games (2-4-8).
While the road and OT records weren’t on players’ minds, their 0-4 Friday record was, so UMD’s pregame motto was “play like it’s Saturday.” In three Saturday games and a Sunday afternoon contest, UMD is 4-0 going into tonight’s 7:07 p.m. rematch with the Huskies in St. Cloud.
“We’ve been really good on Saturdays, but on Friday’s we haven’t gotten a win yet,” Decowski said. “We were just trying to come out and make sure we had a really good first period, especially a first good 10 (minutes). I think we did that from there.”
Decowski is only the second active Bulldog - sophomore wing Alex Iafallo is the other - to have scored an overtime goal after getting assists from sophomore wing Kyle Osterberg and junior wing Austyn Young.
According to coach Scott Sandelin, the game-winner was a total team effort, with defensemen Andy Welinski and Derik Johnson also on ice for the celebration.
“They all had a hand in it,” Sandelin said. “Young held the puck in and Osterberg made a great play and Decowski finished it.
“It’s a good win. This is obviously a tough building to win in. Our guys just stayed with it.”
Welinski forced overtime with his slap shot at 14:14 of the third period to tie the game at 2-2. He was set up by junior wing Austin Farley and sophomore center Dominic Toninato after Toninato won the faceoff on a 4-on-3 UMD advantage.
It was a big faceoff win for Farley after UMD struggled to win possession of faceoffs earlier in the period and on a 1-minute, 52-second 5-on-3 power play. UMD lost a pair of faceoffs during the two-man advantage and generated only two shots on goal.
“Over the course of the year, we’ve been somewhat inept at times in the faceoff circle but that was a key win,” Sandelin said about Farley’s successful draw. “I thought we did a better job tonight winning some draws and that was probably one of the most important ones.”
St. Cloud State senior wing Jonny Brodzinski ended what at the time was shaping up to be an impressive shutout for UMD freshman goaltender Kasimir Kasiksuo at 3:13 of the third period with a top-shelf snipe on the power play to tie the game at 1-1.
The Huskies took a 2-1 lead at the 8:56 mark of the third when UMD’s penalty-killers got sucked out to the boards of the expanded offensive zone at the 100-foot-wide Huskies’ Olympic-sized home rink (Amsoil Arena is NHL size at 80 feet wide). Unable to win the battle along the boards, the puck squirted out to an open Patrick Russell. The freshman wing got Kaskisuo moving from the goaltender’s right to left and found a hole to put the Bulldogs down a goal.
Kaskisuo finished with 33 saves - many of them highlight worthy for Fox Sports North Plus - but Welinski would like to cut that number down.
“It’s awesome to have a goalie you can trust back there, but as a team, we have to do a better job of not giving them those opportunities where he has to make saves like that,” Welinski said.
UMD broke the ice 12:22 into the first period after three previous chances on the doorstep of sophomore goaltender Charlie Lindgren went awry. Toninato, who had missed on one of those first three opportunities, set up senior forward Justin Crandall for a chance in front of Lindgren that found the back of the net, making it 1-0.
Minnesota Duluth 1-0-1-1-3 St. Cloud State 0-0-2-0-2 First period - 1. UMD, Justin Crandall 2 (Dominic Toninato), 12:22. Penalties - Blake Winiecki, SCSU (high sticking), 2:36; Tony Cameranesi, UMD (slashing), 12:56.
Second period - No scoring. Penalties - Justin Crandall, UMD (hooking), 8:33; Cameranesi, UMD (tripping), 17:44.
Third period - 2. SCSU, Jonny Brodzinski 5 (Andrew Prochno, Kalle Kossila), 3:13 (pp); 3. SCSU, Patrick Russell 1 (Joey Benik, Andrew Prochno), 8:56 (pp); 4. Andy Welinski 4 (Austin Farley, Toninato), 14:14 (pp). Penalties - Brenden Kotyk, UMD (holding), 2:54; Kossila, SCSU (tripping), 4:07; Tim Daly, SCSU (cross checking), 4:16; Cameranesi, UMD (tripping), 7:55; Toninato, UMD (hooking), 9:10; Crandall, UMD (tripping), 12:51; Kossila, SCSU (unsportsmanlike conduct), 12:51; Joe Rehkamp, SCSU (high sticking), 14:04..
Overtime - 5. UMD, Cal Decowski 2 (Kyle Osterberg, Austyn Young), 2:06. Penalties - None.
Shots on goal - UMD 8-5-7-1-21; SCSU 10-10-14-1-35. Goalies - Kasimir Kaskisuo, UMD (35 shots-33 saves); Charlie Lindgren, SCSU (21-18). Power plays - UMD 1-of-4; SCSU 2-of-6. Referees - Ian Croft, Joe Sullivan. Linesmen - Brandon Polich, Jeff Schultz. A - 3,976.