UMD overcomes two-goal deficit, beats SCSU in OT on goal by Cates to sweep series
Cates scored his second goal of the game at 10:59 of the overtime to give the Bulldogs the NCHC series victory.
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Olympian Noah Cates scored at 10:59 of overtime to give Minnesota Duluth a 4-3 win over St. Cloud State in Game 2 of a best-of-three NCHC playoff series Saturday at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
Cates scored his second goal of the game on a shot from the top of the faceoff circle to the left of SCSU goalie Jaxon Castor.
"We got a big goal from Noah, who was big all weekend," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said of Cates, a senior captain from Stillwater who had three goals and two assists in the two-game series.
"I think he just brings it every game, every night, every weekend, whatever it is," said SCSU senior defenseman Nick Perbix, who played with Cates on Team USA in the Olympics. "He's strong. If he has the puck, it's very hard to get him off it. He's got the skill. He's a great all-around player. Good players in this league are going to have some of those nights."
With the win, the Bulldogs (19-15-4) advance to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff and will play on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center. UMD will play top-seeded Denver (27-8-1) in the semifinals. In the other semifinals game Friday, second-seeded North Dakota (24-12-1) will play third-seeded Western Michigan (24-10-1). Game times will be released next week, but the games will be played at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The NCHC championship game will be played at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
St. Cloud State (18-14-4) will sit out the NCHC Frozen Faceoff and wait to see what their fate is for the NCAA Division I tournament with the loss. The Huskies went into the game at No. 10 in the Pairwise Rankings and are a lock to make the 16-team national tournament field.
"We played really hard and, to be honest, 5-on-5, I liked our game the whole night," Huskies head coach Brett Larson said. "We played the right way. Hopefully, we'll get a shot to play again because I liked our response a lot tonight."
The Huskies led 2-0 going into the third period on goals by Perbix (5:09 of the first period) and Jami Krannila (1:38 of the second period).
But UMD outshot the Huskies 13-1 in the third period, got power-play goals by Cates (:56) and Dominic James (3:30) to tie the game at 2-2.
"I thought after the first period, we got a little more life," said Sandelin, whose team was outshot 20-5 in the first period and trailed 1-0 after the first 20 minutes. "Our game started to come a little bit in the second, but we were still down two. We just needed to get a goal.
"Obviously, it was a great third period for us. We felt we had momentum going into the overtime," said Sandelin, whose team killed a tripping penalty taken by Darian Gotz at 3:32 of overtime. "We had that big penalty kill."
Perbix scored his second goal of the game at 3:41 of the third period off a faceoff win to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead.
"I was just coming down the back side and saw the puck pop out," Perbix said. "If you throw pucks at the net — you saw a lot of their goals — stuff happens. It went in."
But that was the lone shot in the third period for the Huskies.
"After they scored those two power-play goals and then it went to 3-2, we played nervous," said Larson, whose team reached the NCAA championship game last season. "We played tight, we played tentative, we played extremely nervous."
"We've just got to figure out a way to play to win," said Perbix, whose team shut out UMD 2-0 one week earlier in Duluth. "Sometimes when you have a lead, you're playing not to lose. We've got to figure out a way to play to win the whole game."
Tanner Laderoute scored at 17:03 of the third period to send the game into overtime.
In the overtime, the Huskies went onto the power play at 3:32 of the overtime. SCSU, which went into the game leading the nation in power-play efficiency (32.6%), had seven shots on the power play but were not able to get the game-winner past goalie Ryan Fanti.
"I thought we owned most of the overtime and forced them to take a penalty," Larson said. "I was really proud of our team for being able to brush (the third period) off and be able to get back in the game and play our game again.
"I was a little worried that we'd come into that overtime and play tentative, but we didn't. We got back on our toes just like we started the game."