ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Minnesota Duluth had a chance to once again gain ground on North Dakota in the NCHC standings on Friday — the Fighting Hawks tied and won a shootout at Miami — but instead dropped five points back via a 2-1 loss to St. Cloud State at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
The Huskies scored both of their goals with the help of UMD defensemen. The Bulldogs’ lone goal came from junior wing Kobe Roth on the power play.
Below are the thumbs up and thumbs down from Friday’s game by News Tribune college hockey writer Matt Wellens, plus his three stars of the night.
Thumbs down to the UMD’s inability to get pucks and bodies to the net
The Bulldogs outshot the Huskies 18-4 in the third period. Attempts were 29-7, but let’s take a look at the shot chart from the third on Friday.
That says it all. The Bulldogs lost on Friday because of their inability to get pucks and bodies to the net. That probably sounds cliche because of how much UMD talks about getting pucks and bodies to the net (which is a lot). But as that shot chart showed, the Bulldogs struggled in that area on Friday.
“They worked hard, they played hard,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said of the Huskies. “They got a couple, you want to call them bounces, but they put pucks at the net and pucks went in. Adversely, we didn’t have anybody that wanted to be around the net. Looked good at times holding onto the puck, but it doesn’t matter. You gotta get pucks to the net.”
Here’s a look at the first and second period shot charts.
It’s no fluke that UMD picked up its lone goal of the night in the first period. The Huskies may have outshot UMD 11-8 in the first, but it was the Bulldogs getting bodies in front of David Hrenak, and making the SCSU goaltender make tough saves.
And it’s no coincidence either UMD went 0-for-4 on the power play after Roth’s goal. Not once did the Bulldogs generate a power play chance on Hrenak’s doorstep.
“We should have been better,” Roth said of the power play. “We had multiple chances on the power play in the third. That moments when the team needs us to score goals and at least create momentum. We just didn’t do that. That’s unacceptable this time of year.”
SCSU coach Brett Larson said the gameplan for his Huskies on Friday was to protect what he called the “danger areas” between the faceoff dots. Larson said he wanted his team to stay there as best they could while forcing UMD to the outside. SCSU did that to perfection. UMD will need to find a way to break through that on Saturday if it wants to salvage a must-needed split in the NCHC title race.
“They really packed the slot in the D zone and made it hard,” UMD junior center Justin Richards said. “They sold out on a lot of shots and the goalie was hot. That made it hard for us to get pucks to the net. The goalie was seeing a lot of the pucks to it made it easy for him.”
Thumbs up to Bulldogs goaltender Maddie Rooney
The biggest positive in the Bulldogs hockey world by far on Friday didn’t come from the men’s team in St. Cloud. It came back at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, where senior goaltender Maddie Rooney made 30 saves to become the women’s hockey program’s career-leader in saves. She also posted her 12th career shutout in a 4-0 victory over Bemidji State.
Rooney now has 2,999 career saves in 107 games, topping the previous record of 2,998 set at the end of the 2015-16 season by Kayla Black in her 121 career games. Rooney and Black split time in 2015-16 when Black was a senior and Rooney was a freshman.
Rooney has now posted back-to-back shutouts against the Beavers, with the other coming in the Minnesota Cup final two weeks ago. The series wraps up tomorrow at 4:07 p.m. in Duluth.
Matt’s Three Stars
3. SCSU junior defenseman Luke Jaycox: Scoring just his third goal of the year, he got some help from UMD sophomore defenseman Jake Rosenbaum in the first period.
2. SCSU freshman wing Chase Brand: He picked up the game-winning goal in the second, putting a puck in off the skate of UMD senior defenseman Jarod Hilderman.
1. SCSU junior goaltender David Hrenak: Larson said Hrenak played his best game of the season Friday, making 30 saves in the win.