Breaking a losing streak was Minnesota Duluth’s first order of business when the weekend started at Amsoil Arena.
That was accomplished Friday with a one-goal victory over No. 12-ranked St. Cloud State, getting the Bulldogs out of a 0-5-2 run while providing its first Western Collegiate Hockey Association win of the season.
UMD faced a tougher task Saturday, its first sweep of 2012-13.
After what coach Bob Motzko thought was a lethargic performance, his St. Cloud State Huskies came back to dominate Saturday’s game in a 5-1 win over UMD before a crowd of 6,026. Motzko shook up his lines and got a strong performance with junior center Nic Dowd leading the way with two goals.
It marked the most lopsided loss of the season for the Bulldogs (3-7-2 and 1-5-2 in WCHA).
“We didn’t get off to a good start; we weren’t able to match (St. Cloud State’s) intensity,” said UMD captain Cody Danberg. “Collectively, we struggled in a lot of areas. That shouldn’t happen in our rink.”
The Huskies (7-5 and 5-3) scored twice in the first period and twice early in the second period for a 4-0 lead and were never threatened. UMD led 33-22 in shots on goal, a statistic which revealed little about the game.
Senior left winger Ben Hanowski, returning in the series after missing five games with an injury, scored on a power play with 8:35 left in the first period. He lifted a shot high from the right circle for his 49th career goal. He later added two assists. Linemate Dowd got to a loose puck for a quick shot with 4:17 left in the opening period.
Dowd said of Hanowski, who has 90 career points in 126 games:
“(Saturday), he came back and was the leader that you saw last year and at the beginning of this year. He buries that first shot from a sharp angle and you could see a little lift for our whole team.”
The Huskies raced ahead with goals 1:48 apart early in the second period. Seventeen seconds into a power play, freshman Kalle Kossila of Finland shot off a pass for his sixth goal of the season at 4:39. Dowd then had the play of the game, knocking a puck out of the air and getting behind UMD’s defense rushing straight toward goalie Aaron Crandall at 6:27.
A UMD power-play led to breaking the shutout bid of St. Cloud State’s Ryan Faragher. Scoring leader Mike Seidel drove a shot from the lower left circle at 9:49. Seidel has one goal in five of the last six games, for eight this season and 38 in his career.
“We weren’t mentally there. We knew (St. Cloud State) would come out harder and our battle level was not high. You can’t play that way,” said Seidel.
A third-period shorthanded score gave the Huskies three special teams goals.
“We were not there tonight. We just weren’t good and that was obvious. That’s not how we’ve played the last three weeks. We weren’t hard to play against tonight,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin.
The last UMD loss of more than four goals was 5-0 at home to Michigan Tech on Jan. 28, 2012. The Bulldogs go back on the road this weekend at Michigan Tech.
“Our energy level was up in the first period and we established what we wanted to do,” said Motzko. “Our top players made big-time plays.”
St. Cloud State………………… 2-2-1—5
Minnesota Duluth……………. 0-1-0—1
First period — 1. St. Cloud State, Ben Hanowski 4 (Drew LeBlanc, Andrew Prochno), 11:25 (pp); 2. St. Cloud State, Nic Dowd 7 (Hanowski), 15:43. Penalties — Adam Krause, UMD (hooking), 4:25; Derik Johnson, UMD (checking from behind), 10:29; Nick Oliver, St. Cloud State (interference), 11:52.
Second period — 3. St. Cloud State, Kalle Kossila 6 (Dowd, Jarrod Rabey), 4:39 (pp); 4. St. Cloud State, Dowd 8 (Taylor Johnson, Hanowski), 6:27; 5. UMD, Mike Seidel 8 (Andy Welinski, Austin Farley), 9:49 (pp). Penalties — Johnson, UMD (interference), 4:22; Dowd, St. Cloud State (cross-checking), 9:02; Kossila, St. Cloud State (unsportsmanlike conduct, diving), 16:22.
Third period — 6. St. Cloud State, Cory Thorson 5 (Joey Holka, Nick Jensen), 11:18 (sh). Penalties — Joe Basaraba, UMD (high sticking), 2:37; Prochno, St. Cloud State (holding), 10:17; Keegan Flaherty, UMD (slashing), 13:28.
Shots on goal — St. Cloud State 9-8-5—22, UMD 7-1610—33. Goalies — Ryan Faragher (6-5), St. Cloud State (33 shots-32 saves); Aaron Crandall (2-3-1), UMD (22 shots-17 saves). Power plays — St. Cloud State 2-of-5, UMD 1-of-4. Referees — Scott Bokal, Brian Thul. Linesmen — Nick Bradshaw, Sam Shikowsky. A — 6,026.