GOTW: Noah Cates overtime goal gives No. 4 Minnesota Duluth thrilling NCHC victory over No. 6 St. Cloud State

Minnesota Duluth goaltender Ryan Fanti made 19 saves but needed a goal from Noah Cates to earn a 4-3 OT victory over No. 6 St. Cloud State on Saturday (photo: Tom Nelson/St. Cloud State Athletics)


Noah Cates end-to-end rush that finished with a striped shot over the shoulder of St. Cloud goaltender David Hrenak at 2:00 of overtime ended a thrilling game that pit two of the nation’s top teams against one another with Minnesota Duluth earning a 4-3 victory.

Cates, despite skating the punk nearly 150 feet before firing the shot that resulted in the game-winning goal, credits linemate Kobe Roth for helping on the tally.

“I just cut through the middle,” said Cates. “Kobe did a great job, driving to the net taking the defenseman with him and I was able to put it through. He did a good job opening up that lane.”

The goal finished off a game fitting of two of the nation’s best. The pair battled back and forth, trading leads and showing off the prowess each team has on the power play.

Combined, the two teams scored five times with the man advantage in just eight combined opportunities. For Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin, that’s the ultimate blessing and curse.

“It’s great to score goals, but we don’t like giving them up,” laughed Sandelin. “It was some misreads and things we know we have to clean up [on the penalty kill]. But [St. Cloud is] a good team. They found some holes and we’ll work to clean that up.”

It was penalties and goals allowed while killing, in fact, that put Minnesota Duluth in a 3-2 hole after two periods. But Roth’s sixth goal of the season at 4:33 of the third forced the overtime period.

“5-on-5 we were getting some strong [effort],” said Sandelin. “We just had to remind them that. We knew we had a period, maybe more, to get that [going]. And we did that.”

It took little time for Minnesota Duluth to get on the scoreboard when Tanner Laderoute tallied at 1:36 of the first. St. Cloud’s Easton Brodzinski’s goal on the power play with 3:06 left in the period tied things at 1.

It was the start of an outburst of power play tallies. Nick Swanay’s goal with the man advantage at 2:21 of the second before Veeti Miettinen and Brodzinski, with his second, followed suit late in the middle frame.

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No. 9 Massachusetts 5, No. 13 Northeastern 3

No. 9 UMass jumped to a 4-0 lead before the two-minute mark of the second period and then held on despite a furious rally from 13th-ranked Northeastern, earning a 5-3 victory on Saturday and a weekend sweep of the Huskies.

The Minutemen have now won six straight games.

Matthew Kessel and Garrett Wait both registered a goal and an assist to pace the UMass offense.

Jerry Harding opened the score at the 2:33 mark of the first period. Kessel doubled that margin at 5:35 when he scored on a penalty shot. A late period goal by Zac Jones and another tally early in the second by Carson Gicewicz made things look easy for UMass, but penalties – and a successful Northeastern power play – made things anything but.

Zach Solow and Aidan McDonough each tallied with the man advantage to close the gap to 2. And Dylan Jackson’s first goal of his collegiate career with 5:41 left made it a one-goal game.

From there, though, UMass had a strong shut-down mentality and kept Northeastern from generating a lot of attack, a good quality for the Minutemen team moving forward.

“If we could’ve stayed out of the penalty box, it would’ve been a more convincing win,” said Carvel, happy with his team’s ability to close out the win but displeased with how penalties allowed Northeastern back into the game. “They’ve got a really strong power play. But we took a few too many penalties tonight for my liking.

“I thought 5-on-5 tonight we were playing really well.”

For Northeastern coach Jim Madigan, coming away from a weekend where his team competed well but didn’t record any points in the league standings, it’s difficult to find a silver lining. But the ability to find moments to teach his young team could prove beneficial as the season moves forward.

“Until we’re ready to make a full commitment to blocking shots and defending hard at our net, we’re going to have fleeting success,” said Madigan. “Those are the teachable moments coming out of this weekend.”

No. 20 American International 2, Long Island University 1

Twentieth-ranked AIC battled a plucky first-year LIU team, falling behind early before rallying for a 2-1 victory to improve to 6-2-0.

LIU’s Zach Bross opened the scoring while shorthanded, notching his third goal of the season at 12:49 of the first.

It remained that way until the midway point of the game when AIC’s Aaron Grounds struck at 10:01 to even things. Then at 17:38, Chris Theodore’s second goal of the year was the game-winner.

Stefano Durante stopped all six shots he faced in the third period for the win while Garrett Metcalf finished the night with 24 saves to fall to 2-2-0.