KVSC Program Director / Brian Moos
The one team St. Cloud State probably did not want to see in the NCHC Quarterfinals will be in town for back to back weekends.
Duluth and St. Cloud have tangoed 4 times this season. SCSU has yet to beat UMD in regulation, with 1 overtime win paired up with 3 regulation losses. Duluth averages 2.6 goals per game, over 4 games vs the Huskies UMD has potted 18 goals, which is 4.5 per game.
The Bulldogs also see better performances in the crease against St. Cloud. UMD sports a .891 SV% on the season, against SCSU that number is a .901 SV%.
UMD elevates their play whenever the see Cardinal and Black across from them. The same cannot be said for when the Huskies see Maroon and Yellow.
For a team that was regarded as one of the best defensive teams in the country in the first half, their first series vs Duluth dismantled some of that confidence. A save percentage of just .825 SV% is dreadful. Pair that with a 52.9% penalty killing percentage and giving up 4.5 goals per game, it’s see to see why UMD collected 10 of 12 available NCHC points from SCSU.
The Huskies however, welcome the challenge. “We’re not going away this weekend, we’re not going away next weekend,” said Head Coach Brett Larson after Saturday’s OT win. With SCSU only getting 2 points vs UMD, it was the only season series they had lost this season. “We want to avenge that,” said Larson.
The last team these two squads faced each other in the postseason, UMD swept SCSU in fairly comfortable fashion. This series has the potential making of being a repeat if SCSU isn’t careful. Saturday’s win can be encouraging to this weekend though, and they played much better hockey overall this past weekend, finally beating a squad that is a thorn in their side.
In terms of guys to watch out for, the sometimes-dormant Veeti Miettinen has exploded the last couple of weekends.
Over his past two weekends, Miettinen has 7 points in 4 games played. 3 of those points being goals, and hammering 18 shots towards opposing nets, he’s clearly got his confidence back.
After an emotional weekend that included senior night, SCSU will need upperclassmen like Miettinen to be driving force behind a playoff series victory.
Also be sure to keep watching that net for SCSU, sounds like the Huskies will ride the hot hand, if given the chance.
You can listen to all the action on Your Sound Alternative. Friday’s puck drop will be at 7:30 p.m. CDT. Saturday will start at 6 p.m. and Sunday (if necessary) will also be at 6 p.m..
Hope to have your ear this weekend as SCSU tries to earn a NCHC Frozen Faceoff bid.