All season, I've used various opportunities to crab about how UMD hadn't scored a short-handed goal since an early December game here last season.
Apparently, someone is tired of my whining.
UMD rode a season-high four even-strength goals and its first short-handed goal in 363 days to a 7-3 win over Michigan Tech Friday.
Two of the four even-strength goals came from freshman Austin Farley in the first five minutes of the game, both coming before MTU recorded its first shot of the game. Farley was moved onto a line with sophomores Justin Crandall and Caleb Herbert this week, and the three connected with goals on their first two shifts.
Tech started to get the legs a bit, and a Herbert interference penalty at 8:55 of the first was the initial power play chance for either team.
13 seconds into it, sophomore Adam Krause scored his first career goal, a beauty of a short-handed snipe to the top corner, glove-side on goalie Kevin Genoe after an end-to-end rush.
OK, that's not how it happened. But it looks that way in the box score, which says "SH Adam Krause/1," with no one credited with assists.
Instead, what happened was Drew Olson threw the puck down the rink. Genoe came out to play it ahead of Krause, but fanned on a pass and watched helplessly as Krause grabbed the puck in front of the net. Genoe threw his stick, which did nothing but cause the officials to assess an interference penalty that nullified the power play.
Oh, and Tech coach Mel Pearson pulled Genoe from the game after the goal. So it was a really bad moment for the senior.
44 seconds later, Mike Seidel whipped a twisted wrister past freshman Pheonix Copley for a 4-0 lead.
Tanner Kero scored for MTU before the first ended, then Blake Hietala got a fluky one for the Huskies in the second, a period in which UMD was generally rotten but still escaped with a two-goal lead.
Then David Johnstone scored on his own rebound at 4:21 of the third, which sent UMD fans into full-on grip mode.
A Keegan Flaherty tripping call at 8:07 sent Tech to the power play, but it also led to the game's final turning point.
UMD gave up a quick scoring chance, but began to regain a work ethic on the kill. Justin Crandall drew a slashing call on Tech's Milos Gordic, and that nullified the power play. After a short four-on-four period, the Bulldogs struck on the power play.
It was a weird sequence, though.
A Wade Bergman right point shot stunned Farley, causing the youngster to leave the ice. Herbert took his spot. The puck was on the left side of UMD's power play formation when Seidel fed across the rink to Herbert at the right post. Herbert's tap-in goal made it 5-3, and the man of the 14-goal freshman season finally had his first of 2012-13.
Joe Basaraba added a power play goal less than two minutes later for a 6-3 lead, and Crandall ended the scoring at 14:15 to make it 7-3.
UMD outshot Tech 35-30, and scored goals on the power play, five-on-five, four-on-four, and short-handed. Outside of a mundane second period that was generally ugly for the visitors despite the lead, UMD played pretty well in this game and certainly deserved the two points.
Now comes the next challenge. Given a chance to take four points in a WCHA series last week, the Bulldogs fell flat badly on Saturday.
Can't do that again. This one has to be finished, and doing so could do wonders for the confidence of a team that continues to grow.
When faced with the ugliness of last Saturday's loss, UMD coach Scott Sandelin declined to make any drastic lineup changes.
The group generally recognized as UMD's top six forwards stayed the same, and the only moves that were made were Farley to Crandall's line, Herbert to right wing on that line, and Basaraba to the Tony Cameranesi line.
Fans expecting more moves were probably disappointed, but it's obvious that Sandelin pushed some correct buttons.
Now UMD has to get its other two lines going a little bit more consistently, assuming the top six require no further tweaks.
A team hitting the way UMD is on the power play shouldn't struggle that much to score even strength, in all honesty.
Also helping UMD's cause Friday was a solid faceoff effort. It was ugly early, with MTU winning 18 of 26 draws in the first, and 27 of the first 41. From there, though, UMD won 19 of the game's last 25, going 33-32 on draws for the game.
It's a start.
In other WCHA action, one-time Minnesota recruit Ryan Walters set up fellow Minnesotan Josh Archibald for the only goal of the third period as Omaha beat the Gophers 3-2 at Mariucci, moving Dean Blais to 3-0 at Mariucci as UNO's coach. The Mavericks also got goals from Dominic Zombo and Jaycob Megna in support of goalie John Faulkner, who made 19 saves for the win.
Sophomore Stephon Williams stays hot for Minnesota State, making 20 saves as the Mavericks doughnutted Bemidji State 3-0 in Mankato. First-year coach Mike Hastings has MSU over .500 overall and 4-5 in league play. Dylan Margonari, Zach Lehrke, and Bryce Gervais had the goals for MSU, which has won three straight.
Colorado College shook off a tough non-conference weekend over Thanksgiving by beating North Dakota 5-2 at home. Scott Winkler (two goals, two assists) and Alexander Krushelnyski (one goal, three assists) each had a four-point night, and their line -- with Charlie Taft (three assists) was a combined plus-eleven. The Tigers won despite being outshot 47-26.
Michael Mersch and Joey LaLeggia traded third-period goals in Denver, as the Pioneers tied 1-1 with Wisconsin. The Badgers still have only one win, but were 1:16 from another before LaLeggia's goal with DU's net empty. UW actually outshot Denver 33-31, but goalies Joel Rumpel and Juho Olkinuora were very good.
Big comeback win for St. Cloud State Friday, as the Huskies rallied from 3-0 down to beat Alaska Anchorage 4-3 in overtime. Jonny Brodzinski scored in the second period to make it 3-1, then Jimmy Murray got one early in the third to cut the lead to 3-2. The Huskies tied it with 2:36 left on a David Morley power play goal, and then Murray's second of the night won it for SCSU in overtime. The Huskies outshot the Seawolves 24-18, including 18-7 after the first period, where UAA did all of its damage against Ryan Faragher. The Huskies were sleepwalking into the second, but there was a momentum turn somewhere in there. It was hard to discern on the video feed exactly where it was, but SCSU was carrying play by the time I shut it off to go to sleep late in the second period. Hell of a comeback win for the Huskies, getting what could prove to be a huge two points.