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St. Cloud State snaps Sioux hockey home unbeaten streak

UND goalie Brad Eidsness and teammates Brad Malone and Derrick LaPoint (3) reach for a rebound off a shot by St. Cloud's Brian Volpei in the second period. ( John Stennes/Grand Forks Herald)

GRAND FORKS -- St. Cloud State goalie Dan Dunn said there was a lot of talk among Husky players about UND's year-long home unbeaten streak.

"We needed a win, and what better place to get it than this building with its streak?" he said.

It took a gargantuan effort by the junior goalie -- 47 saves on 49 shots -- but the Huskies finally snapped UND's 17-game home unbeaten streak with a 3-2 victory on Saturday night in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The Sioux actually left the rink feeling that they played better in the loss than they did in Friday night's 4-2 victory. But goaltending was the difference.

Dunn was sharp all night, holding off a barrage of shots early in the game and another barrage in the final moments. He made 20 saves in the first period, 15 in the second and 12 in the third. UND's lone goals came on doorstep plays by Brad Malone and Chris VandeVelde.

On the other end, Sioux freshman goalie Aaron Dell was pulled just 14 seconds into the second period after allowing three goals on seven shots. Brad Eidsness stopped all 21 shots in the final two periods.

"We were able to sneak a couple by the young guy and that's what happened to us (Friday) night," said St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko, referencing UND's fast start against Husky freshman goalie Mike Lee. "It's a tough league and learning experience for these guys. Last night, we fell down and it's hard to come back in this league. Tonight, we got up.

"(Dunn) was outstanding tonight, no question."

UND wasn't going to blame anything on Dell, who opened his college hockey career with a shutout at Alaska-Anchorage last month.

"We got ourselves in a hole -- we -- not one guy, not two guys, we got ourselves in a hole," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "And we came up a little short in the end, even though we had some opportunities to tie this thing up.

"We were ready to play tonight. We played with some speed. We were on our toes. We played the way we wanted to from the drop of the puck. I think that was evident with how we carried the play in the first period."

The Sioux outshot the Huskies 20-6 in that opening frame, but fell behind 2-0. Travis Novak led a two-on-one rush and sniped a shorthanded goal over Dell's stick at 13:12 and Ryan Lasch banged home a rebound less than three minutes later.

"It was just one of those nights," UND alternate captain Darcy Zajac said. "Last night wasn't our best performance and we came out with the win. Tonight, we played well and the tables turned. That's the way it goes sometimes."

Craig Gaudet sent Dell to the bench when his shot from the blue line made it 3-0 early in the second period. Malone buried his first of the year about a minute later, but UND didn't score again until it pulled Eidsness for an extra attacker in the waning moments.

UND, 7-2-1 overall and 5-2-1 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play, didn't have the services of captain Chay Genoway, who was injured on an illegal hit from behind Friday night. The power play suffered in his absence, going 0-for-6, while allowing Novak's shorthanded goal.

"You can't say how much you miss him," Zajac said. "He means everything to us. He's a quarterback out there and he plays with his heart all the time. He's a huge loss for us right now."

Genoway's return is uncertain at this time, but Hakstol will be pleased if the Sioux put together more efforts like Saturday night.

"No question we played better in all phases than we did (Friday) night," Hakstol said. "I want our guys to walk out of the building and leave this one here. . . get rested and leave this one here."

Notes: Brett Hextall had an apparent goal disallowed in the first period because the referee had intended to blow his whistle before the puck crossed the goal line. Hakstol disagreed with the call. . . Ralph Engelstad Arena gave away a parking pass and a $100 gift card to the Sioux Shop on Saturday night to the 2 millionth fan to attend a Sioux hockey game in the building. . . Corey Fienhage replaced Genoway on the blue line. It was Fienhage's first game of the season. . . Brett Bruneteau replaced Mike Cichy on the fourth line.