ST CLOUD, Minn. — Apparently the St. Cloud State Huskies don’t take losing too lightly.
The Huskies haven’t had to rebound from a loss very often this season — they only have three — but they followed Friday night’s 3-2 loss to UMD with an impressive 6-1 pounding of the Bulldogs in front of 6,157 at the National Hockey Center.
The Huskies opened the game with a flurry, outshooting UMD 15-0 in the first 11 minutes and 23-3 for the period. By the time the Bulldogs got their first shot on goal, St. Cloud had already attempted 30.
However, as on Friday night, when UMD goaltender Adam Coole stood on his head to turn away 14 first-period attempts, he was there again as the Huskies were only able to build a 1-0 goal after the first period.
“That’s what you call coming out and blowing some doors open,” said St. Cloud State head coach Craig Dahl. “That was exactly what the doctor ordered, but their goaltender was absolutely outstanding.”
Matt Hendricks opened the scoring 6:38 in after Mark Hartigan’s shot from the point hit Coole and then bounced off St. Cloud forward Mike Doyle in the slot. Hendricks immediately cleaned up the mess.
In the second, UMD had numerous opportunities to respond, but could only take advantage of one of the four power-play chances the Huskies handed them. Even more disappointing to Bulldog head coach Scott Sandelin, was that of those opportunities with the man advantage, two were five-on-three and one was a five-minute major.
“We couldn’t capitalize on the power play and that really did us in tonight,” said Sandelin, who Friday saw his club pick up its first league win. “We didn’t execute at all and against a team like (St. Cloud), you have to execute if you want any chance.”
St. Cloud, which boasts the most potent power play in the nation, did take advantage of its opportunities. The Huskies scored twice with the man advantage in the second and finished the game 4-9 with the extra man. Two of those came in the second, as they built a 4-1 lead.
Mike Doyle got it started 18 seconds in, knocking home a centering pass that went off of teammate Ryan Malone’s stick and stalled in the crease while the teams skated four-on-four. Less than two minutes later the power play struck. This time Derek Eastman one-timed home a pass from Hartigan that beat Coole high over his blocker to make it 3-0.
After Drew Otten got the Bulldogs within two on a power-play goal of his own, Hartigan made it 4-1 on shot from the slot that somehow found its way through Coole’s five-hole while the Huskies had the extra man.
The Huskies, who last night controlled most of the play in the first before letting UMD into the game in the second, didn’t want any type of repeat performance.
“We were very embarrassed after last night,” said Dahl, whose team lost the WCHA lead after Denver beat Michigan Tech. “Not that we lost to Duluth, because they played very well, but by the way we played in the second period.”
In the third, SCSU goals came from Malone and Colin Peters, who scored for the first time in his career — each on the power play — to make it 6-1 and provide the statement the Huskies were looking for.
“We know that if we want to be a championship team, we have to play like one,” said Hendricks, who scored his 15th of the year just after a St. Cloud power play had expired in the first. “We took it upon ourselves to not let last night happen again and we were able to do that.”
The Huskies will return to action next weekend with a trip to the East Coast. Friday night they are at Brown and Saturday night they visit Providence. Duluth travels to Michigan Tech for a Friday-Saturday WCHA series.