St. Cloud State used a fast start and a strong team defensive effort to defeat fifth-ranked Miami 3-2 at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center to earn their first sweep of the season.
The Huskies got off to a fast start getting a goal from Jonny Brodzinski just 2:09 into the game on a wicked wrist shot into the upper corner of the net. The Huskies would add to the lead in the waning second of the first period when David Morley hit Patrick Russell with a pretty pass on the power play to extend the lead to 2-0. In all, St. Cloud State would outshoot the RedHawks 13-4 in the first period.
Miami would cut into the lead midway through the second period with a power play rebound goal by Kevin Morris and head into the final period trailing by a deficit of 2-1.
In the third period, Brodzinski would add to the lead when he intercepted a Miami breakout pass and fed a nice cross-ice pass to Joe Rehkamp to make it a 3-1 game. That insurance goal would prove critical when Austin Czarnik tallied his second goal of the year midway through the third period. But the RedHawks struggled to generate a quality chance in the game's final minutes and could not find the tying goal.
The win moves St. Cloud State to 9-10-1 overall, and 4-5-1 in NCHC conference play. Miami drops to 14-8-0, 7-5-0 in league play with the loss.
Shots on Goal: SCSU: 13-10-6-29 MU: 4-11-4-19
Corsi(even strength shot attempts): SCSU: 20-20-11-51-56.6% MU: 13-15-11-39-43.4%
Prime Scoring Area Chances: SCSU: 11-8-5-24 MU: 4-8-6-18
What do the numbers tell us?
It tells us what a dominating team defensive performance St. Cloud State had all night. The RedHawks were among the nation's leaders averaging over 30 shots on goal per game, and tonight, were held under 20. Just 18 attempts inside the prime scoring area, and that's maybe a generous number, shows that Miami wasn't getting a lot of quality opportunities either.
-What a beauty of a goal by Jonny Brodzinski to open up the game. Miami defenseman Matthew Caito was just a split second late reacting to the drop pass in front of him, which left an extra 12 inches of gap between him and Brodzinski. That was all Brodzinski needed to fire a perfect wrist shot into the upper corner of the net.
After the game, Motzko called Brodzinski the 'MVP of the game'. Not just for his goal and pretty assist, but what he brought to the defensive side of the ice. Brodzinski moved to the center position to take on more of what Motzko called a 'Nic Dowd role' to be more of a defensive presence. Motzko:
"His blood runs one way: it's for scoring goals and being offensive. We asked him to go into a center position and take over a Nic Dowd role, where he's defensively responsible and playing defense. I told him 'It might hurt your points a little bit' but he doesn't bat an eye at that. He wants to run-and-gun, but now he's putting the team on his back as a leader. He's played center now for 10 games and he's doing an excellent job shutting people down and being very responsible. He gets a goal and an assist plus what he did defensively, he's the MVP of the game tonight, no question"
-Earlier this season, I hadn't planned on making the long trip up to Duluth to see Miami play the Bulldogs, knowing I had Miami on my schedule for this weekend. I ended up deciding to go, figuring at least I was covered if Miami laid an egg in this January series. That was a great call, because the RedHawks did not have a great game tonight. Some of that credit belongs to St. Cloud State, but from the drop of the puck tonight, Miami just seemed flat.
Austin Czarnik did score a goal, just his second of the season, but overall, the big names for Miami didn't really show up tonight.
-The one RedHawk that had a stellar game was Jay Williams in goal. For as bad as Miami played in the first forty minutes, they came into the third period needing just one bounce to tie the game. He made a huge breakaway stop on Jimmy Murray late in the first period, and made a nice rebound stop on a Patrick Russell shot in the second period that really could have blown the game open.
-SCSU not having much trouble getting puck out of zone. Winning lots of races to pucks, backchecking hard. Good jump
-Rasmus Reijola got the start in goal for St. Cloud State, which was a bit surprising, but apparently something SCSU had planned on doing before the weekend.
"We probably should have done it earlier in the year. Charlie was great last night, but we made it up that no matter what happened we were going to go with [Reijola] to put a little competition in there." said Motzko.
Reijola was as strong as he needed to be, but a lot of the credit goes to the team in front of him. Motzko was very pleased with the defensive effort out of his team tonight:
They stayed in their plan. It was a very good team victory. We weren't trying to play a defensive style, we were trying to play a responsible style. Stay above the puck and forecheck every chance we got and put pressure when we're able to do with a good transition game, and I thought for the most part, we did it."
2:09 Jonny Brodzinski from Jimmy Murray and Joe Rehkamp 1-0 St. Cloud State
Brodzinski received a drop pass from Murray as they entered the zone and fired a perfect wrist shot from the top of the circles into the upper corner of the net.
19:48 Patrick Russell from David Morley and Niklas Nevalainen (power play) 2-0 St. Cloud State
Morley faked like he was going to take the puck around the back of the Miami net, but slipped a pass out in front to Russell. Miami's Jay Williams had already turned and was looking over the wrong shoulder as Russell smacked the puck into the net.
11:28 Kevin Morris from Louie Belpedio and Riley Barber (power play) 2-1 St. Cloud State
Belpedio took a high snap shot from the top of the point and deflected off the chest of Reijola. Morris battled in front of the net for the rebound and was able to knock it in.
5:19 Joe Rehkamp from Jonny Brodzinski 3-1 St. Cloud State
Brodzinski intercepted a pass at the Miami blueline, then fed a nice cross-ice pass to Rehkamp at the far circle that Rehkamp redirected into the net.
10:57 Austin Czarnik from Anthony Louis 3-2 St. Cloud State
Czarnik skated into the zone down the left wing and cut towards the center of the ice where he fired a hard, low wrist shot that beat Reijola to the stick side.