Minnesota Duluth took a sizable bite out of St. Cloud State’s lead atop the NCHC on Friday night.
The No. 1-ranked Huskies made the fifth-ranked and Bulldogs spit that chunk back out tonight, however, scoring four unanswered goals for a 4-2 victory before a crowd of 6,647 at Amsoil Arena.
St. Cloud State, coached by former Bulldogs player and coach Brett Larson, came into the weekend eight points ahead of UMD and seven up on second-place Western Michigan. The Huskies leave with an eight-point advantage on UMD while Western was able to pull within four via a sweep of Miami in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Huskies sophomore goaltender David Hrenak finished with 30 saves on 32 shots a night after UMD junior goaltender Hunter Shepard stopped 30 of 31 shots in a 3-1 UMD win. Shepard made 18 saves Saturday.
The Bulldogs appeared to be heading into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead, however, the Huskies scored twice in the final 2:09 of the first period to knot the game at 2-2.
St. Cloud State then took a 3-2 lead just 4:25 into the second period when sophomore wing Easton Brodzinski busted a move to beat Bulldogs defenseman Nick Wolff and Shepard for his ninth goal of the season.
The first Huskies’ goal of the night was the first college goal for freshman defenseman Spencer Meier. His snipe from the right side after an ideal setup by junior defenseman Jack Ahcan came with two seconds remaining on a power play to end a streak of 33 straight successful kills by the Bulldogs, who entered the night with the nation’s top penalty kill (93.2 percent).
The Huskies tied the game 49 seconds later off a turnover by UMD senior captain and wing Parker Mackay, who backhanded the puck right into the middle of his own zone. St. Cloud State senior captain and defenseman Jimmy Schuldt was there waiting for the easy goal.
Senior wing Robby Jackson picked up his 10th goal of the season via a rebound with 1:59 to go in the game.
UMD took a 1-0 lead 3:13 into the game by doing what it did so well in Friday’s 3-1 victory - forcing a turnover behind the Huskies goal on the forecheck. This time it was sophomore center Justin Richards forcing the turnover, Mackay dishing the puck and junior wing Riley Tufte scoring the goal from the slot.
Richards made it 2-0 at the 13:37 mark of the first by scoring on what was not only the Bulldogs' first power play of the weekend. UMD thought it scored early on that advantage when a shot by from the blue line by sophomore Scott Perunovich found the top right corner of the net, but the goal was waved off - and not reviewed - after it was ruled it went in off a high stick by Tufte.