Men's Hockey Splits in Omaha
02/03/2014 - 9:30 AM
St. Cloud State University’s men’s hockey team took their skills on the road over the weekend for a conference battle with the Mavericks of the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO). It was the first conference series between the two teams, who had a previous fourteen game history that slightly favored SCSU 7-5-2. The Mavericks and Huskies will quickly build more history as they both play in the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
The two game series that had a variety of lead changed found St. Cloud State on top Friday night then falling Saturday. SCSU scored the first goal of the series eight minutes and two seconds after the puck dropped. It was a Kalle Kossila goal assisted by Jonny Brodzinski and Ryan Papa. Teams would head to the locker room after the first period with the Huskies leading 1-0 assistant SCSU coach, Mike Gibbons noted after the period “we can play better.”
Friday’s second period was the most-offensively charged period of the game. Both teams took their turns respectively scoring goals. Nebraska-Omaha got things started at the halfway mark when Brainerd, MN native, Josh Archibald scored, making it a 1-1 game. The Huskies responded about a minute later when Joey Benik gave the Huskies a lead again. It was Benik’s first game back in the line-up since suffering an upper body injury in Denver on January 10. The scoring didn’t end there, the Mavericks tied things up again at the 14:04 mark off the stick of Dominic Zombo. The Huskies wanted another helping and got it when Benik scored his second goal of the game with three minutes and fifteen seconds left in the second period. Benik admitted he was “a little nervous” heading into the game but also “got more comfortable in the second period.” The score was 3-2 after forty minutes of play.
Three more goals would be added in the final period of regulation. Nebraska-Omaha got things going just twenty-eight seconds into the game. The Zahn Raubenheimer goal tied the game at three each. Teams engagingly tangled up and down the ice for a majority of the period until SCSU co-captain Kevin Gravel got the game-winning goal with just under four minutes remaining. The Mavericks pulled their goalie and Brooks Bertsch added an empty-net goal to seal the deal for the Huskies 5-3. Head coach of St. Cloud State University, Bob Motzko said “it was a good road win for us” but also added the team would need to manage the puck better. The win also catapulted SCSU back to the top of NCHC standings.
Saturday’s contest found fans, players and coaches perplexed after 14 goals were scored in the contest that featured little defensive play in both ends and a roulette table between the pipes. The game was a showcase of offensive style where the last goal wins. The Mavericks took just over two minutes to get the scoring sequence started when Justin Parizek made it a 1-0 game. About two minutes later UNO would strike again when Brock Montpetit scored. The Huskies would answer soon after when Kalle Kossila scored on the power play to cut the Maverick lead in half. Mike Gibbons felt “ that power play turned the game around.” SCSU had more in store for the first period, Jimmy Murray scored to tie the game then Kossila scored again to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead before intermission.
The second period would bring four more even-strength goals but it left the Huskies trailing 5-4. It was also this period of play that began the revolving door of goaltending. Nebraka-Omaha started their freshman goaltender, Reed Peters over Kirk Thompson to begin the period. SCSU began the period with veteran Ryan Faragher in net but pulled him after he allowed two goals. The pipes then belonged to SCSU’s freshman netminder, Charlie Lindgren. Lindgren would allow just one goal before the end of the second period. The lone SCSU goal of the period belonged to David Morley. Following the second period assistant coach Mike Gibbons said the team had to “take care of the front of the net” in order to find success in the third period.
Executing coach Gibbon’s advice would prove difficult for the Huskies in the third period. St. Cloud State’s Kalle Kossila scored the first goal of the period, earning him a hat trick for the evening. Ironically, it was the first Husky hat trick since the December 7, 2012 when David Morley earned a hat trick in a 6-5 SCSU loss to the UNO Mavericks. Nebraska-Omaha would promptly respond in a big way as Zahn Raubenheimer scored. That goal would end SCSU goaltender Charlie Lindgren’s service for the evening; Ryan Faragher entered the pipes again. Dominic Zombo added to the chaos with his third goal of the night, this one on the power play, making it a 7-5 game at the halfway mark of the period. Brock Monpetit scored again for UNO with about seven minutes remaining in the game, giving the Mavericks an 8-5 lead. Cory Thorson would score with just under three minutes remaining to wrap-up the scoring in the contest. Nebraska-Omaha earned a win in the second game of the series 8-6 UNO had 44 shots in the contest compared to the Huskies 32.
The loss moves the Huskies to 14-6-4 overall with an 8-4-2 NCHC record. St. Cloud State still remains in the top spot in the conference. St. Cloud State dropped one spot in the USCHO poll this week, now ranked sixth. The Huskies will return home this upcoming weekend Feb. 7-8 for another conference series, this time against the University of Denver. Listen to this weekends action on the KVSC Sports Stream. Audio can only be found here, it will not air on 88.1 FM due to Trivia Weekend. Coverage starts on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Follow along all week on Twitter for updates.
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