Bulldogs down to their last life after dropping NCHC quarterfinal opener 3-1 at St. Cloud State
The Huskies used a 4-on-4 goal following a UMD major penalty to take Game 1 on Friday. UMD needs a win Saturday in Game 2 to keep its season alive.
ST. CLOUD — The 2022-23 Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team is down to its final life following a 3-1 loss at St. Cloud State on Friday in Game 1 of a best-of-three NCHC quarterfinal series at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
After winning three straight games over the Huskies to start the year, the Bulldogs have lost back-to-back games to SCSU over the last seven days. UMD will need a win in Game 2 at 6 p.m. Saturday in St. Cloud to keep its season alive and force a third game at 6 p.m. Sunday.
“We've been through a lot of ups and downs this year,” UMD junior defenseman Wyatt Kaiser said. “We should be pretty used to fighting, fighting for ourselves. We should be ready for tomorrow.”
SCSU took a 2-1 lead into the third period thanks to a 4-on-4 goal scored on a 3-on-2 rush late in the second period. Huskies fifth-year senior Micah Miller of Grand Rapids — who later added a 195-foot empty-net goal — finished off the odd-man attack by putting away a puck senior defenseman Ondrej Trebal sent to the far post.
The Bulldogs and Huskies both went down a skater when UMD sophomore defenseman Owen Gallatin sent SCSU senior wing Chase Brand into the wall head-first. Huskies sophomore defenseman Jack Peart, another Grand Rapids native and Minnesota Wild prospect, retaliated with a cross-check.
A video review of both hits upgraded Gallatin’s hit to a boarding major while Peart’s retaliation remained a minor. SCSU only scored during the 4-on-4 portion, not while on the power play, but Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin called his team’s 10th major penalty of the season was the turning point Friday.
“We can't keep doing that,” Sandelin said of the major. “Like, we seem to be doing it all the time. We take untimely penalties. Other than that, I thought it was a perfect road game. Nothing really going on, neither team doing a whole lot, shots are low.”
SCSU took an early 1-0 lead in Game 1 when sophomore defenseman Josh Luedtke shoveled a puck past UMD junior goaltender Zach Stejskal just 3:22 into the postseason opener.
UMD was able to tie the game 12:20 into the second via a power play snipe by sophomore Dominic James. It was UMD’s ninth power play goal in 19 chances over five games against the Huskies this season.
The Bulldogs finished 1-for-2 on the power play Friday after going 1-for-4 last Saturday.
“That's the one thing we didn't exploit on them last weekend, just me coming down hill and using my shot,” James said. “If I can keep doing that and also look to dish, I think we're in a really good spot.”
Stejskal, the Cohasset native, finished with 22 saves on 24 shots in his fourth consecutive start. SCSU junior goalie Dominic Basse, who got the Huskies their first win of the season in overtime last Saturday, made 24 saves.
Matt’s Three Stars
3. UMD sophomore center Dominic James — With the Huskies penalty kill focused on Ben Steeves, James took advantage of an open shot from the opposite side of the zone.
2. SCSU sophomore defenseman Josh Luedtke — His goal in the opening minutes forced UMD to chase the game for most of the night.
1. SCSU fifth-year senior Micah Miller — The former Grand Rapids Thunderhawk recorded his first multigoal game in 165 career contests. It also snapped a 23-game goal drought.
SCSU 3, UMD 1
Minnesota Duluth 0-1-0—1
St. Cloud State 1-1-1—3
1. SCSU, Josh Luedtke, 3:22
2. UMD, Dominic James (Wyatt Kaiser, Ben Steeves), 12:20 (pp)
3. SCSU, Micah Miller (Ondrej Trejbal, Aidan Spellacy), 18:11
4. SCSU, Miller (Brendan Bushy), 18:33 (en)
Saves — Zach Stejskal, UMD, 22; Dominic Basse, SCSU, 24.
Power play — UMD 1-2; SCSU 0-3. Penalties — UMD 3-9; SCSU 3-6