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St. Cloud State edges UND

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- One year earlier, the University of North Dakota used a big-time, highlight-reel goal by Matt Frattin late in a game here to salvage a tie and jumpstart UND on a big stretch run that eventually brought the team two league championships and a Frozen Four bid.

On this Friday night, however, there was no Hobey Baker finalist to pull off some magic for UND.

St. Cloud State scored twice in the second period and held off a shorthanded UND team that emptied the tank down the stretch. And after an empty-net goal by Jared Festler, the Huskies had a 3-1 win in the series opener at the National Hockey Center.

Carter Rowney scored in the first period, but UND couldn't get anything past St. Cloud State goalie Ryan Faragher after that. Faragher, playing in place of an injured Mike Lee, stopped 41 shots to earn his second 40-save victory over UND this season.

"Unacceptable loss," UND junior forward Danny Kristo said. "I thought we took about five to eight minutes off in the first period. The first few minutes of the third period, we were sluggish. We finished hard, but you can't take minutes off like that. It's an unacceptable loss and it sets up for a must-win game tomorrow."

Although Michael Parks, who was listed as questionable earlier in the week, suited up for UND, the ailing team was still unable to fill out a full line chart, dressing only five defensemen. With no extra players on the trip to St. Cloud, UND will have to get it done with the same group in tonight's series finale (7:07 p.m.).

UND slowly generated more scoring chances as the game went on. The top line of Brock Nelson, Corban Knight and Kristo progressively saw more ice time and the coaching staff adjusted lines and found a lunch pail group with Connor Gaarder, Mario Lamoureux and Stephane Pattyn.

But in the end, neither of those units scored and UND finds itself in eighth place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings with an 8-9 mark (12-10-2 overall).

"Right at the beginning, we didn't come out desperate enough," Rowney said. "Our mentality wasn't there. We had a couple of power-play chances and we didn't do anything with them. We've got to come out stronger in the beginning."

Hakstol also was less than pleased with the first period, despite the fact that UND came out of it with a rare lead.

A nice passing play by a pair of rookies led to the goal. Mark MacMillan made a long pass to send Parks in the zone with speed. Parks pulled up and sent a pass across the slot and through a Husky defenseman to Rowney, who snapped it home at 16:58.

It marked just the fifth time this season that UND led after the opening frame.

"We came out with a one-goal lead, but I didn't think it was a great period of hockey by either team," Hakstol said. "I thought we turned the puck over a little too much. We needed to get better in some areas. The bottom line is that we have to push a little harder in the first 20 to 30 minutes of games in order to put ourselves in better position."

The Huskies tallied back-to-back goals on point shots to take the lead 2-1 in the second.

First, Cory Thorson tipped a point shot by Andrew Prochno just as a Husky power play expired at 3:55. Then, Jarrod Rabey threaded a point shot through a load of traffic to give St. Cloud State the lead at 9:24.

UND outshot St. Cloud State 18-7 in the third, but couldn't get one by Faragher.

The bright spot for UND was the performance of Brad Eidsness, who made his first start since Dec. 2. Eidsness stopped 28 of 30 shots for UND.

"We need to score a little more," Hakstol said. "One goal isn't going to win you a lot of games on the road. We had to generate more in the first half of this hockey game."

FIRST PERIOD: 1, UND, Carter Rowney 8 (Michael Parks 3, Mark MacMillan 6) 16:58.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, SCSU, Cory Thorson 6 (Andrew Prochno 14, Nic Dowd 7) 3:55. 3, SCSU, Jarrod Rabey 3 (Taylor Johnson 6, Ben Hanowski 14) 9:24.

THIRD PERIOD: 4, SCSU, Jared Festler 11 (Ben Hanowski 14, Prochno 15) 19:04 (en).

SAVES: UND, Brad Eidsness 15-6-6-27. SCSU, Ryan Faragher 13-10-18-41.