St. Cloud State dismantles UNDST. CLOUD, Minn. — Stephane Pattyn stood on the side of the net with the puck, looking at a wide open net.
By: Brad Schlossman, The Dickinson Press
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Stephane Pattyn stood on the side of the net with the puck, looking at a wide open net.
“I thought I got a good piece of it,” said Pattyn, who snapped the shot and started raising his hands to celebrate a goal.
Then, Ryan Faragher made what may be the save of the year in college hockey. The St. Cloud State goalie reached back in a desperation move and somehow batted the puck out of the air with the end of his stick to keep the game scoreless early in the first.
The video review that followed didn’t go University of North Dakota’s way and not much else did during Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to St. Cloud State in the National Hockey Center.
Drew LeBlanc scored two goals, Joe Rehkamp had a career-high three assists and the Huskies managed to get a series split in front of 5,201 fans. It ended St. Cloud State’s 10-game Saturday night losing streak against UND in this building.
Drake Caggiula and Dillon Simpson scored for UND, which dropped to 4-3-1 overall and 0-3-1 on Saturday nights this season.
“We had a good first period, I thought,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “We just got away from our game. We didn’t reestablish our game in the last 35 minutes of the hockey game and that’s the bottom line.
“I thought we got stretched out. Instead of supporting the puck with a short passing game, we got stretched out. We turned a lot of pucks over at the defensive blue line and we were one-and-done in a lot of situations. That’s not the way we’re going to be successful and it hasn’t been.”
UND managed just 24 shots on goal, which ties the program’s lowest shot total since Dec. 3 of last season. It didn’t help that UND had just one power play each night.
“Guys were working hard, but we didn’t execute well enough,” Simpson said. “It’s almost like a broken record. We need to learn how to close out games on Saturday and we’re just not doing it right now.”
The game was tied 1-1 late in the first period on goals by UND’s Caggiula and St. Cloud State’s Jonny Brodzinski when UND defenseman Jordan Schmaltz was called for a five-minute major for checking from behind. St. Cloud State started the second period with 4:47 of power-play time.
UND got the kill, but LeBlanc scored seconds after the power play expired to go up 2-1, and LeBlanc added another on a power play midway through the frame to stake St. Cloud State to a two-goal lead. UND played the rest of the game without Schmaltz and never got into a rhythm.
“I think we saw heavy legs,” Hakstol said. “I don’t think we moved the puck very well out of our zone. That’s part of it in the second half of the game. But that’s not something we make an excuse for. We’ve played through those situations before and done a good job with it. We just couldn’t get ourselves back on track tonight.”
UND went with junior goalie Clarke Saunders in back-to-back games. Saunders, who entered the game with a 1.39 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage, bailed out his defenders a couple of times, but the Huskies eventually broke through.
“We weren’t good enough in front of him,” Hakstol said.
UND was looking for its first sweep in this building since 1998, but it won’t happen in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association era. UND will have to wait until next season when the teams move into the National College Hockey Conference.
“We just kind of got away from our game plan in the second half of the game,” Pattyn said. “That’s what hurt us for sure. First half, we were playing hard. We were playing solid. Second half, we just started trying to make too long of plays — stretch passes. We have to stay with the simple stuff.”
Notes: Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke attended the game. . . UND went with the same lineup as Friday’s opener. . . St. Cloud State scratched defenseman Tim Daly and inserted Taylor Johnson into the lineup. . . UND hosts Minnesota-Duluth in a WCHA series next weekend in Ralph Engelstad Arena. . . UND center Corban Knight, who holds the school record for best faceoff percentage, went 7-17 on draws. St. Cloud State’s David Morley, who had an assist, went 11-1 on draws.