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UMD men's hockey: Bulldogs alumni ousted from NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Los Angeles Kings' Alex Iafallo and Mikey Anderson were eliminated by the Edmonton Oilers in the first round while Justin Faulk, Scott Perunovich and the St. Louis Blues were ousted by the Colorado Avalanche before the conference finals.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche
St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk (72) controls the puck in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of the second round of the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 19, 2022, at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.
Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports
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The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs came to a close over the Memorial Day weekend for alumni of the Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey program.

Justin Faulk, Scott Perunovich and the St. Louis Blues were eliminated from the second round by the Colorado Avalanche in six games following a 3-2 loss on Friday in St. Louis.

Faulk, the former Bulldogs blueliner out of South St. Paul, got the Blues on the board in the final minute of the first period of Game 6 for a 1-0 lead at the first intermission, but a pair of third-period goals ended what was one of the best seasons statistically in Faulk’s pro career.

After posting 16 goals (one shy of his NHL-high) and 31 assists (three shy) for 47 points (two shy) during the regular season, Faulk had a goal and seven assists in 12 playoff games, matching what he produced for the Carolina Hurricanes in 15 playoff games in 2018-19.

Perunovich, the 2020 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner, finished with four assists — three came on the power play — in seven playoff games after returning from wrist surgery to play in Games 4-6 against the Minnesota Wild in the first round.


NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek (14) tries to screen St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) with defenseman Scott Perunovich (48) defending in Game 5 of the first round of the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 10, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Matt Blewett/USA TODAY Sports

The 23-year-old from Hibbing played in Games 1-4 against the Avs and was quarterbacking the Blues’ No. 1 power play unit before becoming a healthy scratch for Games 5-6. As Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic points out, the Blues went 0-for-5 on the power play without Perunovich in the final two games against Colorado.

Four Bulldogs alumni total took part in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, and all four were eliminated in the first two rounds as Mikey Anderson, Alex Iafallo and the Los Angeles Kings were ousted by the Edmonton Oilers in seven games in the first round. Iafallo had a goal and three assists against the Oilers while Anderson had an assist.

One Bulldog left in AHL playoffs

Former Bulldogs captain Andy Welinski is the lone UMD alum left in the American Hockey League playoffs, which have reached the conference finals stage.

Welinski, the 29-year-old defenseman from Duluth, and the Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames affiliate) play the Chicago Wolves (Carolina Hurricanes) in a best-of-seven Western Conference Final series that begins Friday in Chicago. The winner advances to play either the Springfield Thunderbirds (Blues) or Laval Rocket (Montreal Canadiens) in the Calder Cup Finals.

Welinski has a goal and three assists in seven playoff games after posting three goals and 16 assists in the regular season for the Heat, which will relocate from Stockton, California, to Calgary, Alberta, after this season.

Kuhlman, USA miss medal at Worlds

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Seattle Kraken
Seattle Kraken forward Karson Kuhlman (25), the former Minnesota Duluth captain from Esko, skates with the puck against the New Jersey Devils at Climate Pledge Arena on Apr 16, 2022, in Seattle.
Stephen Brashear/File/USA TODAY Sports

Another former Bulldogs captain, Karson Kuhlman, finished with two goals and two assists in 10 games at the IIHF Men’s World Championship in Finland as the United States missed out on a medal by finishing fourth following a 4-3 loss in the semifinals to Finland and an 8-4 loss to Czechia in the bronze medal game.

Kuhlman’s first World Championship experience caps off what has been an interesting fourth professional season for him. The 26-year-old from Esko began 2021-22 with the Boston Bruins before being claimed off waivers by the expansion Seattle Kraken in January. He posted two goals and six assists in 25 games with the Kraken before spending the month of May with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Derek Plante has stepped down as associate head coach of Minnesota Duluth to become an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks. He'll work with three coaches who he played with during his 15-year professional career.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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