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College Hockey:
St. Cloud Shakes Off Layoff, Downs Duluth

Huskies Move Into Tie For Second

— An 18-day layoff appeared to have little effect on St. Cloud State on Friday night, as the seventh-ranked Huskies moved into second place in the WCHA after posting a 6-3 victory over Minnesota-Duluth in front of 3,712 fans at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.

Sophomore left wing Mike Walsh netted the game-winner for SCSU (14-4-1, 9-4 WCHA) at 6:19 of the third period. Meanwhile, sophomore center Ryan Malone added a goal and two assists and senior goaltender Scott Meyer knocked away 33 of 36 Bulldog shots to post his 12th victory of the year.

Walsh’s goal came on a good second-effort as he skated in on a two-on-one break with Nate DiCasmirro. UMD (4-15-2, 1-11-2 WCHA) defenseman Andy Reierson dove to block Walsh’s initial shot, but the puck deflected back onto Walsh’s stick, and the sophomore fired the puck past goaltender Rob Anderson for his second goal of the year.

But the game seemed to define itself in the second period, thanks in part to Meyer s goaltending. The White Bear Lake, Minn., native weathered a massive UMD barrage, stopping all 17 shots on goal. His teammates responded offensively as well, by scoring two goals during that span on 10 shots.

Meyer’s best save came at about the 15-minute mark of the middle stanza. With UMD attacking on a delayed penalty call against the Huskies, Judd Medak was robbed when he failed to put the puck in what appeared to be a wide-open net. Medak skated in toward Meyer’s left side, and took an initial point-blank shot that Meyer stopped with his body. The rebound came right back to Medak, who skated toward the opposite side of the crease. Sprawling, Meyer made the save by extending his stick and smothering the puck.

Meyer said there was more than just skill involved in making the save.

“I was just trying to get something on it,” he said. “I had a lot of luck there.”

Luck seemed to play a part in the first period as well. With UMD leading 1-0, the Bulldogs appeared to take a 2-0 lead, when a goal by Mark Carlson was disallowed after referee Bill Mason determined the net had been knocked loose before the puck crossed the goal line.

“That was a big break; we were very fortunate,” Meyer said. “I was moving to the right, and the puck hit somebody, and I thought it was a goal, because I couldn t find the puck, and all the UMD guys were celebrating.”

UMD coach Scott Sandelin also thought it was a goal.

“I’m still trying to figure out where the net was off,” he said. “That made a big difference in the hockey game.”

UMD opened the scoring on the game’s first shot while on the power play at the 2:03 mark. Senior center Mark Gunderson netted his fourth goal of the year on a slap shot from the blue line. Beau Geisler and Medak earned assists on the goal.

The Huskies seemed to take control of the period from there, outshooting UMD 14-4 in the opening period. Brian Gaffaney tied the game with his first tally of the year at the 5:26 mark. Malone and Joe Motzko worked the puck to the senior defenseman, before Gaffaney fired a wrist shot that appeared to squeak in underneath Anderson’s arm on his stick side.

SCSU took its first lead of the game on the power-play in the second period. Malone and sophomore center Jon Cullen skated in on a two-on-one break. Cullen sent the puck toward the net with a pass from the top of the faceoff circle on the goaltender’s left side. Malone tipped it in at the 7:07 mark for his fourth goal of the year.

“I just tapped it in,” said Malone. “It was easy for me, I just had to get there.”

Malone added an assist to Cullen’s shorthanded goal in the third period. Malone started the play after forcing a turnover in the neutral zone and broke into the UMD zone. Anderson responded by skating out of his crease to the faceoff circle and poke-checked the puck off Malone’s stick. However, the play took Anderson out of position, and Cullen grabbed the loose puck and fired it into the open net.

That goal, at 11:34 of the third period, seemed to seal the game for the Huskies. It made the score 6-2, and came just 45 seconds after Tyler Arnason notched SCSU’s fifth goal of the night on the power play. Mark Hartigan also scored a power play at 18:45 of the second period for St. Cloud.

Duluth also received goals from junior Lessard and Jon Francisco. All three Bulldogs goals came in the midst of eight power-play opportunities, while SCSU converted three of its seven chances with the man advantage.

The win, combined with aDenver loss to Colorado College on Friday, putsSCSU into a three-way tie for second place in the WCHA. The Huskies, CC, and Minnesotahave 18 points, three behind league-leader North Dakota.

Overall, St. Cloud coach Craig Dahl said he was happy with how his team responded after the long layoff.

“They were good all week in practice,” he said. “I was not real worried that we could play.”

The loss kept UMD winless in an eight-game WCHA homestand that began Dec. 1 and will continueSaturday night against St. Cloud before concluding next weekend against Colorado College. The Bulldogs are 0-4-1 in the first five games of that homestand. Carlson said time is running out for his team to turn its season around.

“It’s getting critical,” he said. “We’re in there every night, pulling out all the stops, and not sitting back. Hopefully, it’ll be tomorrow [Saturday] night when it turns around.”

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  • Goalie Fan

    Sioux Fans: Lets all be respectful regardless of tonight’s outcome. Every player is worthy of the award like he said and should by no means be “bood” because our player didnt win! Lets cheer accordingly no matter who wins k. I know I will

    • Wasmania

      A tad condescending dont you think?

  • Anonymous

    Elliott you referred to Frattin and ‘second straight NCAA title’.

    Do you mean “WCHA Final Five title”? Thanks

  • maineiac

    Exactly when did Matt Frattin score in double overtime to give the Fighting Sioux their second straight NCAA Title? Curious fans want to know!

    • Elliot Olshansky

      You rush, sometimes you make mistakes. My apologies. Fixed above.

      • maineiac

        No problem. Just some good natured ribbing. You actually do a fabulous job and I have enjoyed reading your work for years. I only wish there was more of it all year long!

  • minkeythewonderchimp

    you’re a dartmouth fan? holy crap how haven’t i met you?
    represent.

    • Elliot Olshansky

      Class of ’04. I covered the games at Princeton and Yale for the Valley News (regular season vs. Yale, not the Ivy Shootout). My friend from the class of ’01 (you might have seen him with a very large green Dartmouth flag) is always trying to get me to leave the press box more.

  • Nyqi

    Almost all of the Sioux fans I saw on friday gave Andy a standing ovation. I was proud to be a Sioux fan on friday. Thursday was a bit different with the guy in the corner flying the bird that was uncool he should be very prou of himself.

  • Kroger

    As a Sioux fan, everyone knows that we would have killed for a little redemption by having Frattin getting the Hobey; but by no means would we take away from Miele’s year. Playing in a very good CCHA (as seen by having half the participants in the Frozen Four), and putting up 60 points is darn respectable. Also, Miele seems to be a very humble and gracious person without a troubled past; it is hard to disrespect someone like that. However if Atkinson had won, it may have been a different story.

  • Margarita Burger

    The Hobey Baker Award for “Character”? When you train hockey players to be “fighters” – to beat the hell out of your opponent on the ice and then are shocked and judge a player not worthy of an award off the ice because he continues to demonstrate the “manliness” and fighting spirit of hockey, you deserve to be called a hypocrite! Whether you have had a few beers and get into the “fighting spirit” – throwing a few chairs and tables around – or whether you are called up one morning when your parents need help because they are being threatened by a gang of violent, abusive, and criminal teenagers with records, who are roaming the neighborhood looking for their next victim – and you show your “fighting spirit” to protect them, getting yourself arrested along with the gang – it seems to eliminate you from the “squeeky clean” personna the Hobey people and other award appointers and bloggers seem to be looking for. If you are rewarding for “squeeky clean, then you have the wrong sport! Hockey and fighting are one in the same. Hockey has evolved that way. It’s time to re-evaluate the award and your analytic thinking..

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