By Andrew Erickson / @CarvellMedia / email@example.com / Photo by SCSU Athletics
The Huskies entered the weekend against the No. 5 University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs looking to claim a home series for the first round of the NCHC playoffs. That didn’t go as planed with a Friday loss 4-1 and Saturday followed the same script with another loss at a 6-1 mark.
On Friday night the Huskies had a chance to claim the season series against the Bulldogs and keep alive the chance to play at home again this season.
Senior Jack Ahcan is back in the lineup, after his healthy scratch last Saturday. The Huskies are sporting an almost identical lineup from when they swept UMD in January.
The dreams came to a crashing halt with four unanswered UMD goals and a 4-1 loss.
SCSU started out strong here putting in the first goal just over 8 minutes into the game when freshman Zach Okabe netted his seventh of the season.
The Bulldogs took a whole period and a half to tie the game up but freshman Quinn Olson also got his seventh of the year with less then two and half minutes left in the second.
The third period was strongly in UMDs favor at home. Two minutes in junior Koby Bender scored the eventual game winning goal after junior David Hrenak misplayed the puck behind the net.
The Bulldogs would tack on two more with sophomore Cole Koepke getting both tallies, one of which was with an empty net to seal the game.
Shots in this one were 35-23 and faceoffs were 34-29, both in favor of UMD.
Saturday marked the first time in over a month the Huskies faced getting swept and that is exactly what happened here in Duluth as the Bulldogs dominated to a 6-1 victory.
UMD hit early and often in this one as they senior Justin Richards netted his 13th and 14th of the year 1:36 in and just after the seven minute left mark. With an assist on the second goal Koepke continued his torrid pace and 10th straight game on the score sheet.
The second period saw a plethora of scoring. The Bulldogs pushed their lead up to 4-0 with goals by juniors Bender and Kobe Roth. These chased Hrenak to the bench and freshman Joey Lamoreaux took his place in net.
The Huskies would finally get one of their own in the second with sophomore Micah Miller’s 7th on the season. UMD would answer just 22 seconds later with Benders second of the night.
The final dagger was freshman Luke Loheits goal with just under three minutes left in the third.
Shots from Amsoil Arena were 36-30 and faceoffs were 38-26, both strongly in favor of UMD.
Hrenak is left chasing his 50th career win as he came into the weekend with 49.
The Bulldogs had an answer for every thought the Huskies had, before it even popped in their head and it reflected on the score sheet.
The Huskies take three straight loses into the postseason.
The Huskies finish the year 13-15-6 overall and 10-12-2 in the NCHC. They await a final in the Denver CC game Saturday to know where they will travel and play friday.
Andrew Erickson will be on the road with the team to cover their first round series. Listeners will be able to catch all the action 88.1 KVSC.