Minnesota Duluth extended its NCHC winning streak to six games on Friday via a 5-1 victory over St. Cloud State at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
The victory vaulted the Bulldogs into a tie for third in the NCHC and into eighth in the Pairwise rankings (as of midnight).
Below are a pair of thumbs up from Friday’s rout, plus my three stars of the night.
Thumbs up to a defiant Bulldogs team
The Bulldogs got burned by technology late in the first period Friday, only to flip it the bird less than a minute later.
UMD senior wing Karson Kuhlman scored his second goal of the game with just under a minute to play in the first period, giving UMD a 3-0 lead. It was a great play that saw him and fellow senior wing Jared Thomas fly down the ice to the front of the net. Kuhlman was there in the end to put away a rebound, cleanly.
The officials on the ice decided for some unknown reason to take a second look at the goal via video review. Maybe it was out of pure shock that UMD was leading SCSU 3-0 late in the first period? After a lengthy look, the officials determined that Thomas had interfered with SCSU goalie David Hrenak and that Hrenak didn’t have enough time to reset and make a save on Kuhlman. The goal call was overturned.
Before video review, no one would have ever thought to give this goal a second look. It was a bang-bang play that in real time would leave one percent of the population questioning whether it was a goal or not. The goalie interference the referees reached for was the equivalent of a skater being a centimeter offside on a play.
Reviews such as the one Friday at the end of the first leave hockey fans clueless as to what is and isn’t goalie interference. It’s become the what is and isn’t a catch epidemic in football.
The Bulldogs bench was justifiably furious after the goal was overturned, but they were able to channel the anger in just the right place. UMD went right back down the ice and with 11 seconds remaining in the period, freshman defenseman Scott Perunovich connected with sophomore wing Joey Anderson on a beautiful breakaway goal to make it 3-0 once again.
There was no bigger goal tonight than Anderson’s at the end of the first period, because it erased the sting of getting screwed over by a bad video review, and it put the Huskies down three going into the intermission.
“Our guys showed a lot of resolve,” Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said of Anderson’s goal with 11 seconds to play in the first. “They didn’t panic. They went out there and we got another goal and that was big. It didn’t give (SCSU) any life and I thought we carried that over to the second period as well.”
Thumbs up to the Bulldogs killer instinct
If Sandelin thought his team had sucked the life out of SCSU at the end of the first by going up 3-0, than what the Bulldogs did at the end of the second period to the Huskies was just plain cold.
UMD scored two shorthanded goals in the final 2:36 of the second period. The first came from junior wing Parker Mackay on a feed from freshman center Justin Richards. The second came six seconds before the second intermission, on some nifty passing by freshman wing Nick Swaney to Kuhlman.
It was absolute savagery to watch the UMD penalty kill not only shut down the Huskies power play, but to score those two shorthanded goals.
The Huskies were indeed showing a speck of life in the second period, and with a power play with 4:31 to go in the second with UMD leading just 3-0, it appeared to be the perfect time for SCSU to get back into the game.
Instead they fell behind further, and then the Bulldogs stomped on them again for good measure.
UMD is not a team to be messed with right now, folks.
Matt’s Three Stars of the Night
3. UMD freshman wing Nick Swaney: Two assists for the rookie, who appears to be finding his offensive touch as a set up guy rather than as a goal scorer.
2. UMD sophomore wing Joey Anderson: A goal and an assist for the elder Anderson brother, who has really picked up his offensive production since returning from the World Juniors.
1. UMD senior wing Karson Kuhlman: Prior to Friday’s game, Amsoil Arena showed a tribute video and held a moment of silence for former UMD captain Andrew Carroll, who died Monday. He wore No. 20 from 2005-09 at UMD. Fittingly, the current UMD captain, who also wears No. 20, scored three goals Friday (but was only credited with two).