Thumbs up, thumbs down, three stars: Was the Huskies game-winning OT goal kicked in? Yes.
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Top-ranked St. Cloud State picked up a controversial 4-3 overtime victory over third-ranked Minnesota Duluth on Friday in NCHC play at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
Freshman defenseman Nick Perbix scored two of the Huskies three power play goals, including the overtime game-winner that may or may not have been illegally kicked in depending on who you ask.
Below are the thumbs up and thumbs down from Friday's UMD loss by News Tribune college hockey writer Matt Wellens, plus his three stars of the night.
Thumbs down to the stripes
As some of you may remember, I promised prior to the season I would not complain about NCHC officiating in 2018-19. I don't remember why I made that promise. Feel free to sift through my Twitter to dig up the promise and the reason.
Well I have to break that promise tonight. The officials botched this game in the closing minutes, marring what was an incredible hockey game between two of the best teams not just in the NCHC, but the nation.
I'm going to pass right now on debating whether Noah Cates should have been given a major penalty for contact to the head at the end of the third period. I'll just say that if Cates' hit is a major, than the hit on Richards should have been one as well.
(And they probably could have passed on the minor on Jack Ahcan.)
What I want to focus my attention on is the game-winning power play goal by Perbix that went in off his skate with 1:44 remaining in overtime, a goal that was reviewed by the officials and deemed a legal goal.
The officials got that review wrong. That goal was kicked in. I'm basing that statement not on what I saw in realtime from the press box, but on the three angles @cjzero provided in GIF form on Twitter.
I also can't help but look at the reaction of Perbix after he watched the goal go in. That sure looks like a player who thinks that's not a goal because he kicked it in.
The league had that to say after the game, via a text:
"The rule says it must be a distinct kicking motion for it to be no goal and that's definitely not a distinct kicking motion. They changed it a few years ago to say redirects are good goals and that's what that was. That's why the review was so quick. Clearly no kicking motion equals good goal."
Yeah ... I like to give the officials and the league the benefit of the doubt, but we're going to have to disagree on this one. That puck was directed in with distinct a kicking motion. Just ask anyone who has ever played soccer, professionally or (like me) as a 6-year-old. That's a kick.
Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin sure thought it was a kick. He let us know that after the game.
"I disagree with the call. I disagree with the call. That's tough to take," Sandelin said.
"What are you going to do on the last goal. The guy kicks the puck in. I'm sorry."
No need to apologize for being right, Scott. That puck was kicked in.
Thumbs up to the UMD power play
Let's end on a high note, shall we?
How 'bout that Bulldogs power play?
We've focused a lot on the penalty kill this season and rightfully so. Up until the last two weeks, it's been stellar.
The power play has been solid as well, though. It started strong posting goals in nine of the first 10 games this season. It's surging again with five goals in the last four games.
The power play is the reason UMD took the Huskies to overtime on Friday with junior wing Riley Tufte blasting a one-timer through from the right faceoff dot. He was set up via a nice pass by senior captain Parker Mackay.
"Timing is huge," Tufte said. "Packer made a nice play there."
UMD played the final 90 seconds of regulation on the man advantage Friday, and if not for the Cates major, would remained a man up for the first 30 seconds of overtime.
The way the power unit was buzzing, I can't help but think that UMD scores early in OT to get the win.
"Our unit is more about getting pucks on net and battling in front of the net," Tufte said. "That's nice. It's good to see us have success."
Matt's Three Stars
3. SCSU freshman wing Micah Miller: Great individual effort in the first period to put SCSU back on top by a goal after UMD's Jade Miller tied the game quickly at 1-1.
2. UMD junior wing Riley Tufte: The Bulldogs need to find a way to get him more one-timers on the power play. Tufte buried a nice one in the third period on Friday to tie the game 3-3.
1. SCSU freshman defenseman Nick Perbix: He scored two power play goals, including the game-winner that he kicked in.