St. Cloud, MN – This was classic SCSU vs UMD hockey. It was competitive, physical and emotional and a controversial call would ultimately dictate the outcome of this game. Nick Perbix was awarded the game-winning goal after an officials review determined the puck that went off his skate was not kicked in giving the Huskies a 4-3 overtime win. But let’s backtrack a little. With the game tied 3-3 Jack Ahcan was assessed a boarding call with 1:30 left in regulation. However, the Bulldogs were unable to capitalize and it appeared they would still have 30 seconds of power play time to start the extra session. But, according to coach Larson, “At the end of regulation T J Jindra (the coordinator of hockey and video operations) was able to see a view from up top (of an earlier hit by Noah Cates on Jon Lizotte) and we decided with his recommendation to challenge it.” After the review, Cates was assessed a five-minute major for contact to the head and a 10 minute game misconduct. Instead of the Bulldogs having a 30 second man-advantage, the two teams started overtime four on four and then the Huskies were set to finish the rest of the overtime session on the power play. Only 2:46 of the SCSU man-advantage was needed as Patrick Newell placed a pass off Perbix’s skate and past Hunter Shepard at 3:16 for the game-winner. “It’s kind of nice” said Larson “because as a head coach I was 0 for 5 in challenges”.
The game started out well for the Huskies as Patrick Newell (Ahcan | Perbix) scored his 19th goal of the season on the power play 5:09 into the contest. Newell poked one in from the right paint and the Huskies had a 1-0 lead. But, it didn’t take UMD long to respond as Jade Miller scored for the Bulldogs just 1:22 later with his second goal of the season to even things up at 1-1. Micah Miller put the Huskies back in the lead with his sixth goal of the season – unassisted at 11:24. Miller got behind the UMD defenders beating them to a loose puck and punched it past Shepard for another SCSU one-goal advantage. But, once again, the resilient Bulldogs responded before the end of the period with a goal by Noah Cates with 48 seconds left to once again knot the game at 2-2. UMD edged the Huskies 9-7 in shots on goal in period one. SCSU was successful on it’s only power play of the period and UMD was 0 for 1.
The Bulldogs had a clear advantage of play in period two and outshot the Huskies 12-8 but no damage was done on the scoreboard by either team. Additionally, despite being a hard-fought and physical period, neither team was whistled for a penalty.
Unable to convert on a power play opportunity created by a boarding call to UMD’s Peter Krieger just 23 seconds into period two, the Huskies were given another opportunity after a hooking call to Dylan Samberg at 4:39. This time the Huskies scored with Nick Perbix (Walker) netting his first goal of the game and 4th of the season at 4:55 of period three. A tripping call to Sam Hentges at 7:34 placed UMD on the man-advantage for the second time in the game and Riley Tufte one-timed a pass from the right slot past David Hrenak to tie the contest at 3-3. This was Tufte’s 7th goal of the season and his 6th on the power play. The boarding call to Jack Ahcan at 18:30 then put things in motion for the balance of the game. The Huskies were able to contain the Bulldogs power play and regulation ended with the score tied at 3-3.
The penalty to Cates was called at the end of regulation (after the review) and thirty seconds into the overtime session SCSU was back on a power play and Perbix was awarded his second goal of the game after seeing a puck glance of his skate and past UMD’s Shepard for a 4-3 overtime win. For Perbix it was pretty simple – Newell sent the puck his way and “it just hit my foot and went in. Some bounces go your way and I guess we got them tonight” said Perbix. “Tough bounce to end there but they are a great team” said Mikey Anderson. “It’s just the way hockey goes. Some days you get bounces and some days you don’t. We are looking forward to getting another shot at them tomorrow”.
Concerning the Saturday rematch, coach Larson remarked ” There is no secret game plan tomorrow. We need to win puck battles and get pucks under their defensemen and create second and third opportunities around their net. It comes down to hard work. You’re in a dog fight until the end. I doubt it will be any different tomorrow.”
The Bulldogs and Huskies ended up trading 28 shots apiece in the game. UMD’s Hunter Shepard stopped 24 of 28 shots on goal in the loss and saw his record go to 21-10-2. SCSU’s David Hrenak turned aside 25 of 28 UMD shots to record his 20th win. His record improves to 20-3-2. For the game, SCSU was 3 for 4 on the power play while UMD was 1 for 3. SCSU had 30 faceoff wins to 23 for the Bulldogs.
Nolan Walker (0-2-2), Nick Perbix (2-1-3) and Patrick Newell (1-1-2) had a multiple point game for the Huskies
Stars of the Game: #1 Nick Perbix (SCSU) #2 Micah Miller (SCSU) #3 Patrick Newell
Kevin Fitzgerald returned to action for the first time since getting injured in the last series with Duluth on January 12th and was remarkably effective. Former SCSU President Bruce Grube and wife Kathryn and former SCSU head hockey coach Craig Dahl and wife Lynn were among the announced crowd of 5135 at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center last night. Coach Dahl was there to watch the Huskies and his nephew Riley Tufte who is a junior forward for the Bulldogs.