ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Minnesota Duluth failed to spoil St. Cloud State’s Penrose Cup celebration on Saturday, falling 4-3 to the Huskies in the regular season finale for both schools.
UMD junior center Jade Miller tied the game at 3-3 with 3:34 remaining in regulation, but the Huskies got another controversial game-winning goal - this time from freshman wing Sam Hentges with 1:11 left in the game.
Below are the thumbs up and thumbs down from Saturday’s loss by News Tribune college hockey writer Matt Wellens, plus his three stars of the night.
Thumbs up to the line formerly known as the Bulldogs fourth line
UMD coach Scott Sandelin isn’t a fan of the media calling the forward trio of Kobe Roth, Jade Miller and Billy Exell the fourth line. We call it the fourth line because they are the fourth line listed on the line chart.
So I asked Sandelin tonight what he’d rather see the line called?
“We’ll call them 26’s line,” Sandelin suggested, before coming up with a better name. “Miller Line.”
Someone may have had beer on the brain after the weekend that was … and can you blame him?
Anyways, it does seem like a crime to call Roth-Miller-Exell the fourth line the way they’ve been playing as of late. Dating back to the split at North Dakota, it’s been the Bulldogs most consistent line.
Miller has been exceptionally good the last three weeks after spending the first half fighting for his spot in the lineup. He’s riding a five-game point streak that includes three goals and six points.
“I really liked the play of a couple of our lines. But we didn’t have four lines and we need four lines to beat this team,” Sandelin said. “(The Miller Line’s) whole weekend, they’ve been playing really good together. They’re getting rewarded. … They’re just playing the right way. They’re getting rewarded by having good shifts and scoring goals for us. They get a lot of kudos tonight.
“I thought Jackson and Tanner and that line had a really good game too. Those guys really worked hard at the end and created opportunities.”
Thumbs down to UMD on faceoffs
On Friday, Sandelin was not a fan of the men in stripes.
On Saturday, much of his displeasure was directed toward his team’s play in front of the net and on faceoffs. He was especially displeased with his team’s performance on faceoffs when UMD was on the power play and penalty kill.
“I thought our faceoffs were awful,” Sandelin said. “I didn’t think we were a good faceoff team this weekend.”
The Bulldogs were 10-17 after the first period and 21-30 after the second. UMD finished the Saturday night 30-42 on faceoffs with the Cates brothers being the lone Bulldogs with winning records. Jackson went 15-10 while Noah was 6-4.
Some of the Bulldogs struggles on faceoff may be attributed to senior center Peter Krieger, who only took nine on Saturday going 1-8. Of those nine, six came in the first period. Krieger was injured last week on a faceoff and it appears he may not be back to full strength in that category.
“They were a better faceoff team. I think (Blake) Lizotte was 10-0 in the first period,” Sandelin said, correctly. “Sooner or later you have to tie one. You have to find a different way to go in there and do something. For the most part we’ve been a good faceoff team. This weekend we weren’t.”
Matt’s Three Stars
3. SCSU senior defenseman Jimmy Schuldt: He finished with three assists with the last two helpers coming on SCSU’s third and fourth goals.
2. UMD junior center Jade Miller: He tied the game at 3-3 late in the third. It seemed like a turning point for UMD, which had fallen behind after jumping ahead 2-0.
1. SCSU freshman wing Sam Hentges: Tonight’s hero for the Huskies, scoring the game-winner after legally or illegally - depending on who you ask - knocking UMD goalie Hunter Shepard on his back.