St. Cloud sweeps Bulldogs in WCHA series

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- The best defensive team in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association was looking for a few goals Saturday night. No. 20-ranked Minnesota Duluth needed an offensive infusion against St. Cloud State at the National Hockey Center...

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- The best defensive team in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association was looking for a few goals Saturday night.

No. 20-ranked Minnesota Duluth needed an offensive infusion against St. Cloud State at the National Hockey Center in order to keep pace in the league.

In the previous four games, the Bulldogs had scored just five goals total while going 1-2-1, including a loss Friday to open the second half of the league season.

UMD did get its offense going, but St. Cloud State was in a higher gear on the way to a 6-3 victory to earn a fourth home sweep of the season before a crowd of 6,039 spectators. The Huskies led 5-1 early in the third period.

"It's hard being down by four goals, but we kept going and gained a little ground. But it was too little, too late," said UMD center Drew Akins. "We allowed [the Huskies] to stand in front of our net and we gave them more than one whack at the puck. That hurt us."


The Huskies (12-9-1 overall, 7-7 WCHA) got off to a good start and UMD had a strong finish.

Freshman winger Jordy Christian finished off a play from the crease when the Bulldogs couldn't clear the puck 84 seconds into the game. UMD (9-7-6, 5-6-5) was outshot 16-4 in the first period and relied on WCHA goals-against leader Alex Stalock to keep it 1-0 through 20 minutes.

Yet, the Bulldogs got themselves into trouble with penalties throughout the game, including with 27 seconds remaining in the first as Stalock was called for tripping and defenseman Josh Meyers, sticking up for his goalie, was called for roughing. That gave St. Cloud State a two-man advantage for the remainder and the Huskies converted 42 seconds into the second period as scoring leader Garrett Roe crushed a shot from the right circle for his 11th goal of the season.

It went to 3-0 at 5:31 as Nick Oslund scored from the crease.

"We were very patchy, very inconsistent. It's a struggle on offense when you're killing penalties, and we took some dumb penalties and there were some iffy calls," said UMD scoring leader Justin Fontaine, who had a goal and an assist. "Then we showed how we can play in the third period."

Mike Connolly's second goal in two games put UMD on the board, on a power play, with 7:26 left in the second period. Two goals in the first 2:30 of the third period put the Huskies up 5-1. Aaron Marvin scored at 25 seconds, then Brent Borgen intercepted a Stalock clearing pass and hit an open net at 2:28. UMD countered with two goals in 3:14 from Evan Oberg and Fontaine, on a power play, to get within 5-3 with 12:50 to play, before Ryan Lasch ended it with an open-net goal with 27 seconds left.

Fontaine has 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in 22 games to lead the WCHA. UMD outshot St. Cloud State 28-21 for the last 40 minutes, making goalie Jase Weslosky sweat it out. The Huskies led in final shots 37-32.

"We played as good as we can for the first 30 minutes, and at the end Duluth threw the whole kitchen sink at us and we were kind of hanging on," said St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko.


The Bulldogs came into the game allowing only 2.24 goals per game this season, but their scoring average had dropped to 2.81.  

The Huskies are 8-1 at home against UMD in Bob Motzko's four seasons and 10-2 overall at home this season.

"Defensively, we can't play like we did. We have to get tougher in front of our net," said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. "The positives were that we fought to the end and our power play came up with two goals."

The Bulldogs finish their nonconference schedule this Friday and Saturday at home against Bemidji State.

Minnesota Duluth...0-1-2--3

St. Cloud State.......1-2-3--6

First period -- 1. St. Cloud State, Jordy Christian 4 (Ryan Lasch, Garrett Roe), 1:24. Penalties -- Andrew Carroll, UMD (interference), 4:51; Alex Stalock, UMD (roughing), 6:31; Drew Akins, UMD (roughing), 6:31; Brian Volpei, St. Cloud State (roughing), 6:31; Drew LeBlanc, St. Cloud State (roughing), 6:31; Akins, UMD (roughing), 9:31; Travis Novak, St. Cloud State (roughing), 9:31; Justin Fontaine, UMD (tripping), 5:23; Josh Meyers, UMD (roughing), 19:33; Stalock, UMD (tripping), 19:33.

Second period -- 2. St. Cloud State, Roe 11 (Lasch, Garrett Raboin), :42 (5x3 pp); 3. St. Cloud State, Nick Oslund 4 (Brent Borgen, Michael Olson), 5:31; 4. UMD, Mike Connolly 7 (Justin Fontaine, MacGregor Sharp), 12:34 (pp). Penalties -- Chad Huttel, UMD (10-minute misconduct), :42; Oliver Lauridsen, St. Cloud State (tripping), 3:00; Jordan Fulton, UMD (roughing), 6:12; Tony Mosey, St. Cloud State (holding), 11:42; Fontaine, UMD (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:04.


Third period -- 5. St. Cloud State, Marvin 7 (John Swanson), :25; 6. St. Cloud State, Brent Borgen 3, 2:28; 7. UMD, Evan Oberg 5 (Carroll, Akins), 3:56; 8. UMD, Fontaine 11 (Trent Palm, Jack Connolly), 7:10 (pp); 9. St. Cloud State, Lasch 6 (Olson, David Carlisle), 19:33 (en). Penalties -- Lasch, St. Cloud State (hooking), 5:11; Borgen, St. Cloud State (hooking), 10:44; Meyers, UMD (slashing), 13:56; Akins, UMD (roughing, 10-minute misconduct), 19:49; Oslund, St. Cloud State (roughing, 10-minute misconduct), 19:49.

Shots on goal -- UMD 4-11-17--32, St. Cloud State 16-11-10--37. Goalies -- Alex Stalock (9-7-6), UMD (37 shots-31 saves); Jase Weslosky (10-6), St. Cloud State (32 shots-29 saves). Power plays -- UMD 2-of-4, St. Cloud State 1-of-7. Referees -- Jon Campion, C.J. Beaurline. Linesmen -- Rick Nelson, Jeff Schultz. A -- 6,039.

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