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College men's hockey: Anderson keys UMD's comeback win

ST. CLOUD — It’s about darn time Joey Anderson turned selfish.

After spending the first eight-plus games as the set-up guy, Anderson scored his first collegiate goal in the third period Friday to rally the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs over No. 8 St. Cloud State 5-3 in NCHC play at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

Anderson, who also had an assist, recorded eight assists prior to finally scoring. The 18-year-old from Roseville, Minn., and the U.S. National Team Development Program, snuck a puck through the legs of Huskies freshman goaltender Jeff Smith with 7:21 to play in regulation for the game-winner and then clinched the victory with an empty-net goal with 1:04 to go.

“That was fun,” Anderson said about his first college goal — the game-winner. “I wasn’t even really thinking about it. I thought just turn and throw it at the net, and it happened to go right by him. Really good time. Guys were saying, ‘What better time than now?’ for a couple weeks now. It was bound to happen eventually and it was good timing.”

Anderson plays on the Bulldogs’ top line with senior center and captain Dominic Toninato of Duluth and senior wing Alex Iafallo. The three came into the night with a combined five goals — all five belonged to Iafallo, including three a week ago in a 5-2 win over previous No. 1 North Dakota to open NCHC play.

Toninato, with 39 career goals in three-plus seasons at UMD, notched his first of the 2016-17 season just over five minutes in Friday to tie the game at 1-1 after the Huskies scored in the opening 34 seconds. Anderson set up the goal by hitting Toninato with a cross-zone pass after the captain screamed for the puck coming off the bench.

“We had a rush, I had a late change so I was coming late and I was open on the far side. I hollered for it and Joey made a heck of a pass,” said Toninato, who also had two assists Friday to bring his season point total to six. “Right from the start you could tell (Anderson) was going to be a good player. He’s smart with the puck, he works extremely hard. He always wants to get better. He’s always in the right spot. It’s good to see him finally get that first goal and then seal it at the end with that second one.”

Iafallo, who had two assists Friday, scored his sixth goal of the season with 1:25 to play before the first intermission, using a nifty deke to beat Smith and cut the margin to one.

The Bulldogs wouldn’t get the equalizer until midway through the third period when senior wing Kyle Osterberg picked up a rebound in front of the Huskies net and backhanded it in. The goal came as a Huskies’ penalty expired and just over two minutes after the Bulldogs (6-1-2 overall, 3-0 NCHC) caught iron twice, just seconds apart.

“Osterberg made a great play,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. “He found the puck in behind their defender and finished it.

“We hit some pipes. We certainly had plenty of opportunities. It was nice to obviously see that fourth one go in, there’s no question about that, and more importantly the fifth one for me because that team is dangerous. They can score quickly.”

The Huskies (4-3, 0-1) jumped to a 3-1 lead in the first period when junior center Robby Jackson put a puck near post over the stick-side shoulder of UMD freshman goaltender Hunter Miska 34 seconds in.

Sophomore wing Mikey Eyssimont scored his fifth goal in six games against the Bulldogs at 11:36 of the first to put the Huskies up 2-1. Eyssimont scored twice on UMD last year in the Huskies’ 3-1 NCHC Frozen Faceoff title-game victory at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Ryan Poehling, a 17-year-old freshman center, gave the Huskies a 3-1 lead with less than two minutes to play in the first period. Poehling plays on a line with his older twin brothers, Nick and Jack, who are 20-year-old freshmen.

Iafallo scored 21 seconds later, however, to make it a 3-2 game going into the second.

“It was a good response by Dom and those guys, it was huge to get goals shortly after theirs,” Sandelin said.

Miska, making his third-straight start, finished with 25 saves for the Bulldogs after a shaky start, while Smith stopped 26 shots for St. Cloud State.

Game 2 of the series is at 7:07 p.m. Saturday in St. Cloud.

Minnesota Duluth............... 2-0-3—5

St. Cloud State.................... 3-0-0—3

First period — 1. SCSU, Robby Jackson 1 (Jack Ahcan, Will Borgen), 0:34; 2. UMD, Dominic Toninato 1 (Joey Anderson, Nick Wolff), 5:06; 3. SCSU, Mikey Eyssimont 3 (Patrick Newell, Blake Winiecki), 11:36; 4. SCSU, Ryan Poehling 3 (Nick Poehling, Will Borgen), 18:14; 5. UMD, Alex Iafallo 6 (Brenden Kotyk), 18:35. Penalties — Sammy Spurrell, UMD (interference), 2:31; Ryan Poehling, SCSU (slashing), 7:53.

Second period — No scoring. Penalties — Carson Soucy, UMD (holding), 3:06; Willie Raskob, UMD (holding), 8:22; Borgen, SCSU (interference), 10:37; Parker Mackay, UMD (hooking), 17:15.

Third period — 6. UMD, Kyle Osterberg 5 (Soucy, Iafallo) 8:39; 7. UMD, Anderson 1 (Iafallo, Toninato), 13:48; 8. UMD, Anderson 2 (Brenden Kotyk, Toninato), 18:56 (en). Penalties — Jimmy Schuldt, SCSU (hooking), 1:03; Riley Tufte, UMD (hooking), 3:50; Daniel Tedesco, SCSU (holding), 6:30; Eyssimont, SCSU (slashing), 15:21.

Shots on goal — UMD 7-8-13—31; SCSU 10-10-8—28. Goalies — Hunter Miska, UMD (28 shots-25 saves); Jeff Smith, SCSU (30-26). Power plays — UMD 0-of-5; SCSU 0-of-5. Referees — Todd Anderson, Joe Sullivan. Linesmen — Jeff Schultz, Sterling Egan. Att. — 4,140.

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.

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