After a pair of lackluster starts for No. 7 UMD against St. Cloud State University this weekend, the Bulldogs’ third period proved to be their saving grace Friday, but it wasn’t enough to get them on top Saturday. Friday night’s game looked like it would end in a loss as the third period started with the Bulldogs trailing 1-0, and sporting a 2-9-1 record when trailing in the third period this season.
“At the end of the day we want to win the conference,” freshman forward Jared Thomas said. “I’m sure they’ve had this circled on their calendars since we swept them down there. They came out firing and we had to withstand that.”
Thomas extended his scoring streak to three games as he once again was slotted on the first line and got the first UMD goal of the game. The Bulldogs scored four goals in 17 minutes in the third period, doubling the Huskies’ numbers for a 4-2 final score.
UMD also got goals Friday from forwards Justin Crandall, Adam Krause and defenseman Derik Johnson.
The game-winner wasn’t Johnson’s only contribution on the night, as he threw one of the biggest hits all weekend in front of the Husky bench.
“There’s no question, you see it every night,” Johnson said. “We get better as the game goes on and that’s a great trait to have in a hockey team. I can’t really explain exactly what it is, but as the game goes on we just get stronger.”
The Bulldogs were reminded how quickly a slow start can catch up with them on Saturday, as the Huskies again came into the third period with a 1-0 lead, but this time were able to defend it and ended the weekend in a split.
St. Cloud State scored goals in the second and third periods, holding UMD without a tally until 7:17 of the third when junior forward Austin Farley jammed a puck home for the Bulldogs’ first goal.
UMD’s Tony Cameranesi had a quality scoring chance with just under 11 minutes to go in the third period as he walked in on net and hit the post. Even though the Bulldogs doubled their shots on net in the third period alone, it wasn’t enough to stop the Huskies’ offense.
After UMD’s Carson Soucy got called for playing with a broken stick, the Huskies scored a power-play goal — their third of the night. St. Cloud State would add an empty-net goal with less than three minutes left in the game for a 4-1 final score.
“We’ve got to put this behind us,” head coach Scott Sandelin said Saturday. “I can accept losing hockey games. I can’t accept not playing our best. There’s no excuse for that. We need to prepare better and tonight, for whatever reason, we didn’t have it.”
Next weekend the Bulldogs take on Miami in another NCHC match up. The RedHawks are currently ranked No. 9 in the nation and are riding a five-game winning streak.
Sandelin said he takes no NCHC team lightly and that this upcoming weekend will be another test for his team.
BY NICOLE BRODZIK Sports Editor