By Alexander Fern / Sports Director / @AlexInTheBooth
The newly 19th ranked St. Cloud State Men’s Hockey squad are welcoming the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs to the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center for the first time since SCSU ended UMD’s season in the first round of the NCHC playoffs last season.
LAST TIME OUT
The second weekend of NCHC play opened up with a big win for St. Cloud State, as the Huskies would beat the Broncos 3-2.
For the first 18 minutes of the game, it would be a lot of back and forth between both clubs, until 18 minutes and 17 seconds in, Western Michigan would get the first score of the night. Their first goal on the night would be assisted by Tim Washe with Joe Cassetti being the scorer. Then things would remain quiet until about midway through the 2nd period.
At 13 minutes and 44 seconds into the second, St. Cloud would mark their first goal on the night assisted by Adam Ingram, and Jack Rogers, with the goal scorer being Barrett Hall. The rest of the scoring would happen throughout the duration of the 3rd period, where the game would end in a thriller, where the officials would add 2.3 seconds to the clock after the previous play went under review after the game clock hit 0.
Saturday’s game in the contest versus Western Michigan, you can say without a doubt – was the chippiest game so far this season. St. Cloud State would win it 3-0 in shutout fashion. The Huskies moved their record to (6-4-0 NCHC) on the season whereas Western Michigan’s record is now (4-3-1 NCHC). The all-time record against Western Michigan is (22-13-5)
One of the big highlights to take away from last night’s game was that Veeti Miettinen would score his sixth straight goal in a row. Which now brings his total career goals to 40. Dominic Basse “Big Smooth” would record his 3rd shutout this season.
Larson said “This has been a tough place for us for probably 5 years now. This group embraced the challenge and they were excited to come in here and try to do something special and get something done in a really tough building to play in.”
The Huskies would open scoring in the middle of the 1st frame at 15:53, where it would be Veeti Miettinen to get the Huskies up 1-0. The rest of the scoring would take place late in the 2nd period where Grant Achan and Joe Molenaar would get the last two goals of the night.
PREVIEWING THE BULLDOGS
UMD is coming off of a weekend where they were swept at home by North Dakota, and they’re 0-5-1 in their last six coming into the HBNHC.
However, the Bulldogs are not anything to overlook. UMD has one of the hottest goalies in the country in Matthew Thiessen.
Zach Stejskal was the starter coming into the season, but he got injured early, and Thiessen has taken the reigns and has looked very good in the crease.
The issue for UMD lies within their offense. Their powerplay is still one of the best in the NCHC and Ben Steeves is a massive reason for that. But other than that, it’s been pretty barren for the UMD offense.
Defensively, they’re not as good as they have been in the past under Scott Sandelin, but they’re still solid.
Losing Wyatt Kaiser will do a lot to the strength of the back end of the ice.
This weekend is tricky.
On one hand, the Huskies are the better team all-around on paper and should sweep.
On the other? UMD and SCSU always play tough, gritty hockey against each other which makes it hard to gauge how this will go.
The Huskies sit atop the NCHC standings as of now with 12 points and Duluth is one of two teams (Miami) with none.
In all, SCSU should sweep. But I think both games are extremely close, and one game will go to overtime in my opinion.
The Huskies would be happy getting 4/6 points this weekend, but would be ecstatic with a sweep.
HOW TO TUNE IN
Both games this weekend will be broadcast live on 88.1 FM KVSC with Alexander Fern on the play-by-play duties with Brian Moos and Zac Chapman providing their insight as well.
Pregame on Friday begins at 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday at 5:30 with Gavin Nelson in the basement of Stewart Hall.