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Patrick Donnelly | | January 28, 2023

Big first period helps Minnesota Duluth complete sweep of No. 1 St. Cloud State men's hockey

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For the second weekend in a row, the nation's top-ranked team went winless as No. 1 St. Cloud State lost 6-3 to Minnesota Duluth in Game 2, suffering a series sweep. 

Last week, then-No. 1 Quinnipiac lost to No. 16 Cornell via 4-0 shutout before blowing a 2-0 lead to unranked Colgate in a 3-2 loss in what was the Bobcats' first defeats since Oct. 22.

UMD took yesterday's Game 1 via a 5-3 final, thanks in large part to freshman Ben Steeves' second natural hat trick of the season.

Steeves found the back of the net for the Bulldogs (12-13-1, 7-9-0 NCHC), and Isaac Howard and Owen Gallatin each had a goal and an assist. Jesse Jacques and Luke Loheit each scored, while Wyatt Kaiser added two assists for the second straight night. Zach Stejskal made 30 saves.

Jami Krannila scored twice for the Huskies (18-8-0, 10-6-0 NCHC), and Josh Luedtke had two assists. Dominic Basse made 21 saves.

Special teams played a big role once again as Duluth scored twice on the power play and once shorthanded, and SCSU scored both goals on the man-advantage.

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Duluth jumped out to a strong start in the first period, taking a 3-0 lead into the room after the first 20 minutes.

Loheit opened the scoring on the power play with 11:11 to go in the opening frame, putting a one-timer top shelf from the slot.

Steeves doubled the lead with 4:14 left in the period on the advantage, thanks to smooth passing off the rush, and Jacques extended it to 3-0 just 36 seconds later with a shorthanded tally, winning a race to the puck and scoring with a quick wrist shot.

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Krannila scored twice in under four minutes within the first half of the second period to cut it to 3-2 with a nice pair of shots on separate power plays, but Gallatin scored the game's first even-strength goal with 4:10 to go in the period for more insurance. 

Ethan Aucoin pulled the Bulldogs back within 4-3 with 13:45 remaining in regulation with his first collegiate goal, digging away at the loose puck in the crease.

Howard restored the two-goal lead on a one-timer from the high slot with 11:25 left, and Dominic James' empty-netter with 3:18 to go secured the 6-3 final.

UMD went 2-for-3 on the power play, and SCSU went 2-for-6. 

St. Cloud has a chance to get back on track when it returns home to face Miami (Ohio) next weekend, while Duluth aims to keep the momentum going at home against No. 9 Western Michigan. 

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