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UND implodes in loss at St. Cloud State

The Fighting Hawks gave up a goal on the first shift of the game and it never got better from there.

SCSU UND edits 1.jpg
St. Cloud State's Kyler Kupka gets the puck past North Dakota goaltender Zach Driscoll 18 seconds into the first period of the game Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Dave Schwarz/dschwarz@stcloudtim

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — UND gave up a goal on the first shift of the game.

Less than five minutes later, it gave up another on a two-on-zero situation. Then, it handed the nation's best power play an opportunity. St. Cloud State cashed that in for a goal, too.

Believe it or not, it got worse.

UND completely unraveled Friday night, giving the Huskies a major power play, allowing a Mike Legg/Andrei Svechnikov-style lacrosse goal and losing 8-1 to St. Cloud State in the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

It marked the first time UND had allowed eight goals in a game since January 2011 and the first time it lost by seven since February 1998.

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"Everyone's got to look at themselves in the mirror," UND captain Mark Senden said. "We have to be better. If we want to be a great team, like we can be, we have to figure it out on Friday night. We have to be better. We have to be better off the hop. We can't keep going up and down. We have to keep taking one step forward instead of taking a step back."

UND has now been outscored 17-3 in the last three Friday nights.

Two weeks ago, it lost 4-1 to Minnesota Duluth in the series opener. Last week, it lost 5-1 to Minnesota. In both of those series, UND bounced back to win Saturday and grab a split.

The Fighting Hawks (10-6 overall, 5-2 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) will try to do that again at 6 p.m. Saturday.

"It's another day of going through our team and sending a message on what we need to do," UND coach Brad Berry said. "You have to keep repeating it time and time again in order to correct it and eventually, we will."

St. Cloud State, which hasn't swept UND at home since November 2001, can move into a first-place tie with the Fighting Hawks if it completes the sweep.

The Huskies (10-5, 4-3) received a hat trick and an assist from Easton Brodzinski, four assists from defenseman Nick Perbix, a goal and two assists from fifth-year senior Kevin Fitzgerald and three assists from rookie defender Jack Peart.

Connor Ford scored UND's lone goal, which pulled the Fighting Hawks within 3-1 with 7:46 left in the second period.

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"We got the first goal, and I thought we were coming," Berry said. "We did a lot of good things the right way. We ended up getting rewarded. Then, they score the fourth one on a faceoff from our O-zone and they make it 4-1. We take a five-minute major on the ensuing play. You can't do that. We worked ourselves so hard to get back in the game to make it a two-goal game, then you give that up. That's just sheer frustration. You can't have it."

Defenseman Chris Jandric was called for a spearing major and game misconduct after St. Cloud State's fourth goal. It marked UND's fourth major penalty of the season. Three have come after the whistle.

In UND's five regulation losses this season, it has given up either a five-minute major or a five-on-three for a full two minutes.

"We talk about it every single weekend," Senden said. "It's getting really repetitive. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot and taking penalties. It's just undisciplined. We have to be better. We talk about it every single weekend. We have to be better than that."

St. Cloud State had six power plays and scored three times. It also scored once just seven seconds after a power play expired.

"They had six (power plays) and we had two," Berry said. "Against a good team, six versus two doesn't make a good recipe for success."

UND pulled starter Zach Driscoll after allowing three goals on five shots. Freshman Jakob Hellsten got his first action, but was hung out to dry by a porous defense much like Driscoll. Hellsten finished with 22 saves on 27 shots. One of the goals he allowed was a highlight-reel play by Jami Krannila, who picked up the puck on the blade of his stick and threw it into the upper corner of the net.

"I think we've got to do a better job of protecting our house and limiting them to the outside," Senden said. "I think we are not having enough communication and it was just sloppy tonight all around. We have to be better. We have to tighten up and play better as a five-man unit."

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UND talked about the importance of a good start in the series finale.

"That will be the biggest key for tomorrow is having the first five minutes and a pushback right away," Berry said. "And I know our guys will. They respond all the time and I know they will tomorrow."

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