UND swept away by St. Cloud

North Dakota falls to Huskies in two-game weekend series in Grand Forks.

Freshman forward Troy Stetcher shoots the puck during Saturday’s NCHC game against St. Cloud.  Photo by Chester Beltowski/The Dakota Student.

For the first time in nearly four years, North Dakota was swept at home in its own building.

Despite UND holding an early lead both Friday and Saturday last weekend, it was St. Cloud State that rallied three third period goals Friday for a 3-2 victory in its first ever National Collegiate Hockey Conference game and skated away from Saturday’s 3-1 battle with a sweep at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Troy Stetcher’s one timer on the power play from the point during Saturday’s first period awarded North Dakota the early lead, but the end results weren’t what the team was looking for.

“At the end of the day, we only got one goal,” freshman forward Troy Stetcher said. “It’s unfortunate — you’ve got to produce more. Last night, there’s no excuse for that. Tonight, we have opportunities there to make the game closer and we don’t do that, so we’ve got work to do.”

St. Cloud State tied the game at 6:59 of the second when Tim Daly battled Zane Gothberg in front of the net and put the puck in the net.

Just 12 seconds later, Nic Dowd received a pass from behind the net to claim a 2-1 advantage for St. Cloud on a two-on-one outnumbered situation.

“Those are things we have to learn from,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “ … That was obviously a tough goal to give up.”

Kalle Kossila secured the 3-1 victory Saturday for the Huskies in a similar result to Friday’s game.

Losing battle

Friday night, Drake Caggiula struck first as he maneuvered the puck through the legs of Nic Dowd, and shot the puck into the back of Ryan Faragher to post a 1-0 advantage that would hold until the third period.

At 2:36 of the third, Kevin Gravel’s shot from the point slid in the net behind Zane Gothberg to tie the game, 1-1. Minutes later, Kalle Kossila increased the margin on a rebound shot he banked into the net.

The Huskies’ drive toward the net couldn’t be harnessed as Andrew Proncho’s goal at 12:36 of the third period increased St. Cloud’s lead to 3-1.

With minutes left in the final frame, Mark MacMillan picked up a rebound shot and put it in the back of the net to post a 3-2 loss as the final buzzer sounded.

Though it is still early on in the year, North Dakota’s young team — with only one senior in the lineup last weekend — has no room for excuses, according to Stetcher.

“People like to label us as a young team, but that’s not an excuse now,” he said. “We’ve been here two months, so we’ve got to come back this week and get to work. We’ve got a new week next week in Omaha, and we have to take care of business.”

Elizabeth Erickson is the sports editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].