St. Cloud, MN- Considering the history of play between the SCSU Huskies and the UMD Bulldogs it should not have been a surprise to see the type of game that unfolded between these two teams. A battle in the trenches between # 4 ranked University of Minnesota-Duluth and #6 ranked St. Cloud State evolved into a contest of special teams play ultimately ending up in overtime. And, in the battle of three-on-three, it was the Bulldogs Noah Cates who ended it two minutes into the extra session to award the Bulldogs a hard-fought 4-3 win over their rival to the south. The win gave the Bulldogs two league points to leap-frog into a first-place tie with idle North Dakota and left the Huskies one point out of first place earning a single point for the overtime loss.
” I thought five on five they were the better team tonight,” said coach Brett Larson. “They were winning the puck battles and races. Their detail was better than ours. It was a rivalry game and the intensity was there. I was just happy our power play was clicking and gave us a chance. We are going to have to play a lot harder tomorrow.”
Entering the contest, each team had won ten of the last 20 games with four of them decided in overtime. From the start, this game appeared destined to be headed to a thinly decided game with UMD outshooting the Huskies 8-6 in period one, and the game knotted at 1-1. Things did not start out well for the Huskies as Kobe Bender scooped up the puck off a turnover deep in the defensive zone and backhanded a pass to an unattended Tanner Laderoute who beat David Hrenak with a backhand stick side 1:36 into the contest for a one-goal lead.
A fast-paced game had the ice tilted in favor of the Bulldogs but after the teams traded penalties and Jackson Cates was whistled for slashing the Huskies went to work on the man-advantage at 16:08 of the period. It didn’t take the Huskies long as they converted 48 seconds later on Easton Brodzinski’s 4th goal of the season. On a nicely executed play, Nick Perbix fed Veeti Miettinen at the top of the right circle and he sent the puck to Brodzinski positioned in the slot and Brodzinski tipped it over UMD goaltender, Ryan Fanti to tie the game at 1-1. In a closely contested period, UMD outshot SCSU 8-6.
The Huskies found themselves defending a UMD power play just 41 seconds into the second period after a holding call to Nick Perbix. And, despite a penalty kill of over 90%, the Bulldogs were able to solve the league’s top-rated PK unit scoring 1:51 later off a rebound. A shot from the point by Jackson Cates was stopped by Hrenak but Nick Swaney buried the rebound for a 2-1 UMD lead.
The Huskies survived 30 seconds defending a penalty to Sam Hentges for holding at 7:38 before Tanner Laderoute was assessed a five-minute major for interference on a hit to Seamus Donohue. This became the turning point of the game as once Hentges penalty expired, the Huskies had 4:35 of the major penalty to work with. They took advantage, scoring twice before the major expired. First, Veeti Miettinen (Perbix, Hentges) scored off a wrister from the top of the right circle at 10:57 for his 5th goal of the season. Then, 1:15 later Easton Brodzinski (Perbix, Walker) added his second goal of the game at 12:12 to give the Huskies their first lead of the game at 3-2. Nick Perbix took a shot from the blue line and Brodzinski scored off the rebound for his 5th goal of the season.
Before the period ended, the Huskies were gifted another great opportunity to extend their lead with two penalties on UMD – a hooking penalty to Noah Cates at 15:46 and too many players on the ice at 16:26 giving them a five on three. However, the Huskies were unable to convert and the period ended with an SCSU one-goal lead and a 12 to 9 shot advantage in the period.
Special teams play reared it’s head once again early in period three as Jared Cockrell was penalized for cross-checking 3:50 into the period. This time it was the Bulldogs who took advantage scoring less than a minute later at 4:33 with a goal by Kobe Roth assisted by Jackson Cates. After one nice save by Hrenak, the puck floated back out to Cates who made a cross-ice pass to Roth positioned low in the right circle and he one-timed it past an out-of-position Hrenak to tie the game at 3-3.
The balance of the period was fast-paced and physical in the trenches with neither team able to secure the winning goal in regulation sending the contest to a three-on-three overtime session. Shots on goal were lopsided in favor of the Bulldogs 12-4.
The Bulldogs won the opening faceoff and controlled the puck for the majority of the first two minutes of overtime. A minute into the session, Cole Koepke sprung loose for a point-blank shot that was saved by Hrenak. Twenty-two seconds later, Jesse Jacques rang one of the post before SCSU gained possession. However, the Huskies turned the puck over in the UMD zone on their only entry and Noah Cates raced the other way and crossed over to the high slot beating Hrenak with a low shot stick side for the game-winning goal exactly 2:00 into the session.
For the game, the Bulldogs outshot the Huskies 31-22 with a 14-4 advantage over the third period and overtime session. Both teams were highly successful on the power play with UMD two for four and the Huskies three for six. David Hrenak stopped 27 of 31 shots on goal in the loss and saw his record fall to 4-3-0. UMD’s Ryan Fanti improved his record to 5-2-2 stopping 19 of 22 SCSU shots on goal.
Veeti Miettinen (1-1-2), Nick Perbix (0-3-3) and Easton Brodzinski (2-0-2) all had a multi-point game for the Huskies.
Stars of the Game: #1 Jackson Cates (UMD) #2 Noah Cates (UMD) #3 Easton Brodzinski (SCSU)