Brian Moos / Program Director
Heading into the first matchup of February, St. Cloud State would head out west to take on Colorado College. Colorado College is in the midst of a breakout season under year three of Kris Mayotte and pursuing a top-four finish in the NCHC for the first time in program history. St. Cloud State limped into the weekend coming off a winless January, coming up short against Denver, North Dakota, and Omaha, but still collecting NCHC points each weekend. It would be a battle between second and third in the NCHC for the only two times the Huskies and Tigers would face off in the 2023-24 season.
On Friday night’s contest the first push would come from Colorado College, rattling off five shots within the opening three minutes of play. The Tigers would hit the net three of those five times, St. Cloud State would have their first shot be on goal and go in said goal. Kyler Kupka would enter the Tiger d-zone and let a shot go once he entered the far circle, burying the chance past Kaiden Mbereko’s blocker, one to zero Huskies. The Hobey Baker candidate would give the Huskies a lead early in the first period, for his 10th goal of the season. Neither side would collect a tally before the first intermission arrived. Basse would finish the period with 11 saves, helping the Huskies hold a one goal lead into the second period.
In the second frame, play would stay even between both sides, shots on goal would be 10 to eight in favor of the Tigers. The Huskies would get a powerplay chance off an interference penalty charged to Sophomore Ethan Straky, leading to two shots and no goals for the Huskies. At that point in the game the Straky penalty was the lone time the referees would send a player to the box. That would stay true into the second intermission, but the bookings would increase in the third.
Colorado College would make their best push of the game throughout the third period. The Tigers would more than triple the shots the Huskies would put on net. Basse would stand tall through the flurry of chances brought on by the Tigers, making key saves with each passing minute and making the chance of a Tiger equalizer less and less likely. When Josh Luedtke took the first Husky penalty of the night with just over 13 minutes left the Tigers would find their breakthrough. After four shots put on the net of Basse, Freshman Zaccharya Wisdom would score his sixth goal of the season off a scramble in Basse’s crease. It would be the first time Dominic Basse gave up a goal to Colorado College in his career. The score was now one to one.
As the third period drew to a close the Huskies would give the Tigers multiple opportunities to win the game. Luedtke would take two more penalties, paired with a Cooper Wylie boarding minor would give Colorado College another five on four and a five on three powerplay in the dying minutes. St. Cloud State would pull off a gutsy finish to send the game to overtime down two players, which would still be the chance leading into overtime.
Colorado College would start the extra frame on a five on three advantage. The Huskies were winless in games decided in overtime, with the Tigers sporting a five win to one loss record in overtime. However, even with a two man advantage the Tigers couldn’t capture victory and the Huskies would make them pay for the missed chances. With Sophomore Adam Ingram leading the charge, SCSU would get the break they needed to steal the extra point. The trailer on the rush was Freshman Verner Miettinen, who would score the golden goal to pick up two conference points in the last minute of overtime.
Colorado College would win multiple stat-sheet categories, winning the battles of shots, faceoffs, and penalties by comfortable margins. St. Cloud State would lead in blocked shots, and the tally that matters most, goals, two to one.
Coming off a riveting victory on Friday, St. Cloud State would look to control more of the game and aim for a sweep. While the Huskies would provide better overall play than Friday, the result would fall short. It would be Basse against Mbereko again after both netminders turned in impressive performances Friday. After an off night, producing just one shot on goal, Senior Forward Veeti Miettinen would be out for Saturday with the stomach flu. The Huskies would have to play without their leading goal-scorer.
Colorado College would score the lone goal of the first period after 15 minutes of goalless struggle. The Tigers would win a board battle leading to an unmarked Tommy Middleton to blast one past Basse on a one-timer. After no more scoring in the opening period, the Huskies would need a strong push to get back into the game, trailing by one.
St. Cloud State would concede the next goal, courtesy of Stanley Cooley for Colorado College. SCSU would respond on a powerplay chance towards the middle of the second. A beautiful feed from Zach Okabe out in front of the net gave Mason Salquist more than enough room to put the Huskies back within one, with a score of two to one. SCSU would need an early start to the third period to comeback.
St. Cloud State would play well to start the third period, getting some good looks on the net of Mbereko. After a Colorado College push though they would retake a two goal lead off of one of the most dangerous lines in college hockey. Noah Laba picked up a puck off a faceoff in the Huskies’ defensive zone, threw a shot in on Basse that was deflected lightly a couple of times, the final touch was from Forward Gleb Veremyev and it would steer the puck into the back of the net, three to one Tigers. Veremyev would score his ninth goal of the season against the team he suffered a season-ending knee injury against last season. Laba’s crew would continue to make problems for the Huskies through the end of the game.
The Tigers entered the weekend the second-worst powerplay in the country, and with a goal from Noah Laba, the hottest hand in college hockey, they now had two of those goals against the Huskies and took a four to one lead. The Huskies would look to battle back, burying a powerplay chance to cut the deficit down to four to two off of Kyler Kupka’s second goal of the weekend. An empty net goal from Tommy Middleton would unfortunately seal the game, making it five to two Tigers with less than four minutes to go. Tyson Gross would score a goal in the final minute to make the game look more respectable, but the Huskies would fall five to three.
The Huskies stayed at second place in the NCHC after the weekend finished, trailing North Dakota now by seven points. With Colorado College taking four points at home, and a split for Denver, they now sit in sole possession of third place.
Up next for the Huskies is a road trip to Oxford, Ohio to battle last-place Miami University. The Huskies opened NCHC play against the RedHawks in November, sweeping them in comfortable fashion. The Huskies will need to take a majority of points on the weekend, they now have just five points separating them from fifth place, which would mean a road series in the first round of the NCHC playoffs.
Both Huskies vs RedHawks games will be on KVSC, with pregame and puck drop at the same times Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m. CDT and 6:00 p.m. CDT. Zachary Chapman will be on play-by-play, Alexander Fern will provide color commentary, Brian Moos will be down ice side, and Gavin Nelson is back in St. Cloud producing the broadcasts this weekend.