DULUTH, Minn. — Thirty-five days had passed since Minnesota-Duluth won a game.
That changed Friday night when the Bulldogs hunkered down on and held the fifth-best scoring team in the nation, St. Cloud State, to one goal in a 2-1 win at AMSOIL Arena.
“This is good for the guys to come out with a win,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. “It was a good game for us.”
UMD defenseman Wade Bergman scored the winner 3:55 into the third period and the Bulldogs held on for the win.
UMD goaltender Aaron Crandall made 27 saves as the Bulldogs improved to 1-4-2 in the WCHA and 3-6-2 overall.
UMD tied twice during its seven-game winless streak and three of the five defeats were by two goals or fewer.
“Sooner or later we knew our hard work was going to pay off,” Bergman said. “We’re going to take this win tonight and carry it into tomorrow night.”
The teams face each other again at 7:07 p.m. CST Saturday at AMSOIL Arena.
SCSU (6-5, 4-3) has lost three of its last four games after a five-game win streak from the last week in October into November.
Huskies goaltender Ryan Faragher’s 26 saves didn’t tell the whole story of his performance. The sophomore made plenty of athletic plays and moves around the crease to keep the puck out of the net for 36:20.
“Our goalie was really good tonight, especially right at the beginning of the game,” St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko said. “He had to make a couple big saves.”
The Huskies were the first to get on the board 5:26 into the game when Kalle Kossila tipped in a shot from the blue line by Andrew Prochno that beat Crandall low.
At the halfway point of the game, the Huskies had held UMD to 10 shots on goal, but Motzko said Friday was “a bad game” for the rest of the team.
“I thought we played like it was Thanksgiving break and we hadn’t played in two weeks,” Motzko said. “We couldn’t get anything going and we got frustrated. We played like we had turkey dinner all day yesterday and laid around.”
Tony Cameranesi scored with 3:40 left in the second period when he worked a give-and-go with Mike Seidel at the blue line and beat Faragher high glove after Faragher’s pads had stopped everything up to that point.
“[Faragher] made some good stops,” Bergman said. “I think there were a few chances we could’ve buried and we didn’t bear down enough.”
The Bulldogs got a penalty early in the third period when Jarrod Rabey got called for a hook. The Huskies penalty kill appeared to be holding its own despite a ferocious UMD attack.
Faragher swatted the puck out of the crease with his stick in desperation to the left circle. Bergman got the puck and wristed it far post over Faragher sprawled across the crease and past SCSU defenseman Nick Jensen’s left shoulder as he knelt over the goal line.
The Huskies had a few chances but none greater than Nick Oliver’s point-blank shot that sailed over the crossbar with 12 minutes to go. SCSU took two penalties 29 seconds apart late in the game but still managed a couple of chances on the Bulldogs’ five-on-three advantage.
“[SCSU] made a great push at the end,” Sandelin said. “These are the kinds of one-goal games I always talk about.”