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COLLEGE MEN'S HOCKEY: St. Cloud State snaps Minnesota Duluth's conference win streak

Blake Young (17) of Minnesota Duluth controls the puck near Blake Lizotte (27) of St. Cloud State during Saturday's game at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Clint Austin / Forum News Service1 / 5
Riley Tufte (27) of Minnesota Duluth and Luke Jaycox (6) of St. Cloud State compete for the puck during Saturday's game at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Clint Austin / Forum News Service2 / 5
Minnesota Duluth goaltender Hunter Shepard covers the puck against St. Cloud State during Saturday's game at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Clint Austin / Forum News Service3 / 5
Nick Swaney (23) of Minnesota Duluth celebrates after scoring a goal against St. Cloud State during Saturday's game at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Clint Austin / Forum News Service4 / 5
Riley Tufte (27) of Minnesota Duluth shoots the puck on goal against St. Cloud State goaltender David Hrenak (34) during Saturday's game at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Clint Austin / Forum News Service5 / 5

DULUTH—The six-game NCHC winning streak of ninth-ranked Minnesota Duluth came to an end Saturday, Jan. 27, with a 2-1 loss to fifth-ranked St. Cloud State in front of a sellout crowd of 7,149 fans at Amsoil Arena.

Saturday's series finale was the Bulldogs' fifth game in nine days, with all five contests coming against top-10 teams. UMD (14-11-3 overall, 8-8 NCHC) finished the stretch 3-2 by sweeping then-No. 7 North Dakota last weekend at home, losing at current No. 7 Minnesota State-Mankato on Tuesday, Jan. 23, and then splitting this weekend with the Huskies (15-6-3, 9-4-1), who UMD beat 5-1 on Friday, Jan. 26, in Duluth.

"I'm proud of our team," said coach Scott Sandelin, whose Bulldogs head to league-leading Denver next week part of a three-team logjam for third in the NCHC with Western Michigan and North Dakota. "Tonight we looked like a little bit of a tired team. We were never really able to get anything going.

"They got all the power plays, that was frustrating to me. You just got to move on. We've had a good six-game run in our league and we got two more before a much-needed break. We got to have a good week of practice and get ready for Denver."

Huskies junior wing Patrick Newell scored the game-winning goal with 5:10 remaining in regulation. The goal came eight seconds after the Huskies' fifth power play of the night was killed off.

The Huskies tied the game at the midway point of the first off a faceoff when sophomore wing Jake Wahlin tipped through the shot of junior defenseman Will Borgen.

The Bulldogs, who had one power play all night, scored on their first scoring chance for the second night in a row as freshman wing Nick Swaney came flying up the middle to finish of a rebound that came off the shot of freshman defenseman Matt Anderson.

UMD was outshot 28-20 in the game, but midway through the third the Bulldogs had just 10 shots on goal.

"They did a good job out-manning us down low. We weren't getting it up low to high quick enough," UMD junior wing Parker Mackay said. "We needed to do a better job there and a better job penetrating to get pucks to the net."

UMD killed off three Huskies power plays in the final 7 1/2 minutes of the first period to go into the second period tied 1-1. Two of those Bulldogs penalties occurred within nine seconds of each other, creating a lengthy 5-on-3 St. Cloud State advantage.

The Bulldogs only allowed two shots to reach goaltender Hunter Shepard during the Huskies' 4:09 on the advantage in the first. The Huskies' power play 71 seconds into the second was a different story, with Shepard having to make four stops to keep the game tied.

"We had six NCHC wins in a row. To climb out of the cellar of the league was good," said Shepard, who made 26 saves. "We had a chance tonight to jump ahead of another team and it's disappointing we couldn't get the job done. We got a big weekend next weekend so we can't hang our heads."

• Prior to the game, Amsoil Arena recognized the Bulldogs and Huskies who were on the bronze-medal winning U.S. National Junior Team at the World Junior Championship. There also was a moment of silence for USA Hockey's Jim Johannson, who died Sunday at the age of 53. Johannson was USA Hockey's assistant executive director and general manager of the 2018 U.S. men's Olympic team.

Matt Wellens

College hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune covering the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs men's and women's teams, as well as the NCAA Division III programs at St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior.

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