ST. CLOUD, MN – After withstanding a 50 shot assault by the Huskies on Friday, the UMD Bulldogs tightened things up and scored just enough to earn a hard-fought 2-1 win and sweep of the #3 ranked Huskies at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on Saturday. Bulldog goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo was superb once again limiting the Huskies offense which was averaging over four goals per game to just two goals the entire weekend. It was only the second time the Huskies have been swept all season (the other by Quinnipiac) and it was SCSU’s 5th conference loss at home vs only one loss on the road. The loss dropped the Huskies overall record to 25-8-1 and conference record to 15-6-1. It also dropped SCSU to six points behind North Dakota who clinched at least a share of the Penrose Cup with their weekend road sweep of Omaha. Additionally, Denver’s road sweep of Western Michigan allowed the Pioneer’s to wedge into a two-way tie with the Huskies for second place although SCSU has the tie-breaker.
In a tactical first period in Saturday’s rematch, the Bulldogs clogged up lanes and limited the Huskies attack in front of Kaskisuo frustrating the Huskies offensive attack. In a period devoid of scoring and penalties the Bulldogs outshot SCSU 10-8.
The second period contained all the scoring for the game and it was UMD who got on the board first. Dominic Toninato (Iafallo | Pionk) scored his 12th goal of the season on a shift skating 4X4 vs the Huskies at 8:21. Toninato curled from the corner and ripped a shot from the top of the right circle that beat Lindgren blocker side for a 1-0 lead. This was Toninato’s 4th point and second goal against the Huskies this season and his 4th career goal and 7th point vs the Huskies. The Bulldogs added another at 15:44 on Karson Kuhlman’s third goal of the weekend. Willie Raskob’s shot from the right point was tipped perfectly in traffic by Kuhlman to give UMD a 2-0 lead. The Huskies were finally able to solve Kaskisuo with a power play goal by Patrick Russell at 17:47. A shot on goal by Joey Benik deflected off of Mikey Eyssimont and went directly to Russell who deposited it past an out of position Kaskisuo for Russell’s 17th goal of the season and a 2-1 game. However, that was the closest the Huskies were able to get as the Bulldogs held firm in a scoreless third period while outshooting SCSU 9 to 8.
The Bulldogs outshot the Huskies 27 to 26 for the contest with Kaskisuo stopping 25 of 26 and SCSU’s Lindgren making 25 saves on 27 shots on goal. The Bulldogs took 4 penalties for 8 minutes and were 0/2 on the man-advantage. SCSU scored their lone power play of the weekend on Saturday going 1/2 and took 3 penalties for 6 minutes.
The final seedings for the NCHC playoffs will be determined after next weekends final regular season series. The Huskies travel to Colorado College while Denver is at home vs Omaha and North Dakota hosts Western Michigan. In the battle for fourth place and the final home seed UMD faces MIami at Amsoil Arena in what should be a playoff atmosphere.
The weekend losses dropped the Huskies to #3 in the Pairwise rankings behind #1 Quinnipiac and #2 North Dakota.
Star of the Game: #1 Kasimir Kaskisuo (UMD) #2 Karson Kuhlman (UMD #3 Dominic Toninato (UMD)