College men's hockey: Bulldogs rout St. Cloud State 5-1
DULUTH—Yup, Minnesota Duluth's 1-0 loss Tuesday, Jan. 23, at Minnesota State-Mankato was definitely a hiccup.
And a slight one at that.
The Bulldogs returned to their winning ways Friday, Jan. 26, extended their program-record NCHC winning streak to six games and moved into a tie for third in the conference standings by routing third-ranked St. Cloud State 5-1 in front of 6,210 fans at Amsoil Arena.
The ninth-ranked Bulldogs (14-10-3 overall, 8-7 NCHC) scored three first-period goals and a pair of short-handed goals late in the second against a Huskies squad that swept UMD in St. Cloud in October to open conference play.
"We just turned the page. That's something we've been doing a good job of here," said senior captain and wing Karson Kuhlman, whose Bulldogs host the Huskies (14-6-3, 8-4-1) again at 7:07 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27. "It was good for us to get back into conference play here. We got a heavy stretch coming up."
The Bulldogs' penalty kill, which is 31-of-35 (88.6 percent) in the eight games since Christmas, took things to a whole new level Friday by not only killing all three St. Cloud State power plays, but by scoring on two of them.
Both shorties came in the final 2:36 of the second period to extend the lead to 5-0.
"The PK's confidence is huge right now," Kuhlman said. "We work on it tirelessly during the week. We do a good job of game planning for whatever other teams are going to throw at us.
"We were fortunate to put those two in the net."
The first shorty came from junior wing Parker Mackay, who finished off a give-and-go with freshman center Justin Richards just seconds before freshman defenseman Scott Perunovich was released from the penalty box for cross checking.
The second shorty was another nifty give-and-go, this time between freshman wing Nick Swaney and Kuhlman, the goal-scorer, while senior wing Jared Thomas sat in the box for tripping.
"Sometimes you get opportunities up the rink and I thought Richards showed a lot of poise," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. "Everyone is wanting him to get his first goal and he made a great play. Swaney made a great play. Those two guys can really skate.
"Both goals were nice goals. They were hard-working goals. Sometimes on the PK you got to look for those opportunities. We weren't looking for it, those things just happened and our guys capitalized and finished."
Kuhlman gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead just 2:36 into the game. Junior center Peter Krieger and sophomore wing Joey Anderson scored in the final five minutes of the period to make it 3-0 at the first intermission.
The score probably should have read 4-0 after the first period, and Kuhlman should have had two goals, but the rebound Kuhlman scored on with a minute to play in the first was overturned via video review after the on-ice officials made a highly questionable goaltender interference call.
Seconds after the disallowed goal, Perunovich and Anderson connected on a breakaway to make it 3-0 again.
"That was a really big response for us to go out and get another one quick," Anderson said. "The response came in the way we played the game, too. The fact that we got the two-on-one and finished the play off was huge, but it was more the way we played winning those battles. Stuff like that was huge and it set the tone the whole game."
NOTE: Prior to Friday's game, Amsoil Arena aired a tribute on the video board, followed by a moment of silence, for former Bulldogs captain Andrew Carroll, who died Monday, Jan. 22, in Chicago at the age of 32. The native of Shoreview, Minn., who played at UMD from 2005-09 is the the only player in team history to serve as captain or assistant captain for all or parts of four seasons.
Carroll wore the No. 20 as a Bulldog, the same number as the Bulldogs' current captain, Kuhlman, who was named the game's first star Friday.
"A little emotion before the game with Andrew, so maybe this one was for AC," Sandelin said. "A lot of our guys played hard, and that's how he played."