After going seven games without a win and failing to win a game against a WCHA opponent this season, the UMD men’s hockey team was desperate for a victory. The Bulldogs got that Friday with a 2-1 win over St. Cloud at Amsoil Arena, but they suffered a major setback in the second game of the series, falling 5-1.
With the split, UMD (3-7-2 overall, 1-5-2 WCHA) and St. Cloud (7-5-0 overall, 5-3-0 WCHA) both earned two points in the WHCA standings.
The Bulldogs got off to a sluggish start early Friday. St. Cloud freshman Kalle Kossila scored just over five minutes into the game and UMD senior goalie Aaron Crandall was forced to make saves on several other St. Cloud scoring chances just to keep his team in the game.
“They got a lucky tip (on the goal),” Crandall said. “It’s always tough on a team’s psyche when one goes in like that. But it’s always big to get out of the period down just one.”
The game’s momentum shifted by midway through the second, with UMD taking over the rest of the way. Freshman Tony Cameranesi, on a breakaway, found the back of the net with his fifth goal of the season to tie it up for the Bulldogs. In the third, senior defenseman Wade Bergman played the role of unlikely hero, netting the game winning goal by knocking in a rebound from the top of the left circle.
“It came off the goalie out to the slot, and I just saw it and tried getting it through traffic, and thankfully it went in,” Bergman said. “It feels awesome. We’ve been working so hard for it.”
Crandall remained solid in net, guiding the Bulldogs to the win by stopping 27 of the 28 shots he faced. St. Cloud goalie Ryan Faragher stopped 27 of 29 shots on goal.
“It was one of those grind ‘em out games,” head coach Scott Sandelin said after the game. “We had some power plays in the third and we capitalized."
The Bulldogs again started slow Saturday, but they could never regain momentum and the Huskies cruised to a 5-1 win.
St. Cloud captain Ben Hanowski put the Huskies ahead midway through the first when he fired one past Crandall from the edge of the right circle. Nic Dowd quickly made it 2-0, capitalizing on a turnover in the UMD zone.
This time, it didn’t get any better in the second period. Kossila scored his second goal of the series on a power play just over four minutes into the period. Less than two minutes later, Dowd put the Huskies up by four with his second goal of the game.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board with a Mike Seidel goal midway through the period. Freshman Andy Welinski set up the goal with an on-target to Seidel in front of the net.
But that was all the Bulldogs could muster. Given a power play late in the third period, the Bulldogs turned the puck over and St. Cloud’s Joey Holka scored on a 2-on-1 rush to make it 5-1, which ended up being the final score.
“They played harder, and I knew it was coming,” Sandelin said. “They won all the battles, they were quicker, they executed better and that was the difference."
Crandall, making consecutive starts in net for the first time since the season opening series against Ohio State, stopped 17 of 22 shots on net. Faragher, again starting for the Huskies, stopped 32 of 33.
“Last night was such a big win for us at home, and (tonight) we didn’t come out the way we should’ve,” Seidel said following the game. “We just didn’t come prepared, especially when you have a chance to take four points at home. We have to be prepared for it. There’s no excuse.”
The Bulldogs will continue WCHA play, heading to Michigan Tech for a series next weekend.
BY TOM OLSEN firstname.lastname@example.org