Charlie Lindgren surrendered his first goal on home ice this season, but it didn't matter as three second period goals provided enough offense for St. Cloud State to take a 3-1 victory and series sweep over Miami at the National Hockey Center.
Jack Roslovic's first period goal was the first allowed by Lindgren in St. Cloud after three straight shutouts. But the Huskies tied the game on the first career goal from freshman Mikey Eyssimont. Patrick Russell's rebound goal gave the Huskies a lead late in the second period, and Kalle Kossila weaved through the Miami defense to add an insurance goal.
The Huskies locked down the neutral and defensive zone in the third period for an uneventful period to hang on for the win. Lindgren made 33 saves in the victory while his counterpart, Jay Williams stopped 22 pucks in the loss.
The Huskies rebounded from last weekend's losses at Quinnipiac to start the NCHC conference season with six league points. Miami, meanwhile, falls to 3-4-1 on the season.
Notes and Thoughts:
-It was a good opening push from Miami after getting dominated last night. They had a few chances early, but as the game wore on, St. Cloud State's edge in depth really started to show. Miami pulled ahead early thanks to an impressive individual play by Jack Roslovic, but by that point, it felt like St. Cloud had the better of the play, and it would only be a matter of time before the Huskies rebounded.
There's no doubt there are some impressive elements to this Miami team, but the depth just isn't there. When the RedHawks trailed by two goals in the third period, there just weren't many options to turn to.
-The big difference in this game came in the final five minutes of the second period when St. Cloud State was able to get someone free through the middle of the Miami defense twice for quality scoring chances. On a night when that seemed a priority for the RedHawks, and they mostly did a good job of that, St. Cloud State capitalized twice.
-Speaking of which, St. Cloud State's second goal was just an unbelievable play by rookie defenseman Will Borgen. You can see the replay here, though it doesn't quite do him justice. Borgen makes a great read to join the rush from his defensive position, makes a nice play to attack the middle of the ice without the puck and beat the defenseman, then makes another nice play to get his skate on the puck on a pass that is behind him, keeping the play alive and allowing Russell to tap in the rebound.
-If there is one issue with the Huskies right now, it is that their power play has been an absolute mess since losing Ethan Prow two weeks ago due to a concussion. They were 0-2 tonight and the second power play generated more quality scoring chances for Miami than it did for the Huskies. The biggest asset Prow would bring to the power play is his senior leadership and experience to slow things down. Everything seems very rushed and everyone is trying to play at 100 miles per hour rather than slowing down and allowing opportunities to come through good puck movement.
-It's been a bit of a slow start for St. Cloud State's Joey Benik, who has just two goals on the season. He led all players with seven shots on goal tonight, bringing his season total 31. Two of those chances were golden opportunities on the back door where Jay Williams made brilliant sliding stops. He's not a player that is going to shoot 6.4% forever. Look for him to be a player that gets hot and breaks out when his luck starts to change a little bit.
-Charlie Lindgren playing well has almost become predictably boring for the Huskies, but he was solid again tonight. He made two huge stops shorthanded early in the second period to keep it a 1-0 game, which was likely a game-changer. St. Cloud State doesn't have the type of offense that is going to come back from big deficits. But otherwise, that was about as quiet of a 33-save performance as you're going to see, and much of the credit for that goes to St. Cloud State's defense. The third period was about as boring of a hockey game as you're going to see, which is exactly how St. Cloud State wanted it to be. Miami got almost nothing inside the perimeter of the SCSU defense.
-Patrick Russell is a player that one would normally think of as more of a power play specialist, but all seven of his points this season have come 5-on-5, which puts him tied for 9th nationally in scoring at even strength.
-I'll have more on Miami's top two centers, Sean Kuraly and Jack Roslovic, this coming week. Both were very good tonight, though in very different ways.
Shots on Goal: SCSU: 6-13-6-25 MU: 14-13-7-34
Even strength shot attempts: SCSU: 12-18-12-42-45.2% MU: 19-17-15-51-54.8%
Prime scoring area attempts: SCSU: 4-6-2-12 MU: 6-5-4-15
What do the numbers tell us?
There was just not a lot of open real estate in the prime scoring area tonight, especially in the third period when St. Cloud State applied nominal pressure and really focused on tightening up defensively. Miami held a slight edge in possession five-on-five, but a couple big defensive mistakes that allowed St. Cloud State to walk right down Broadway late in the second period was the difference in the game.
12:05 Jack Roslovic from Matthew Caito and Zach LaValle 1-0 Miami
Roslovic tipped a shot from the point, causing Lindgren to mishandle the rebound. As Roslovic skated by the right side of the net, he reached back and shoveled a backhand into the net for the goal.
3:49 Mikey Essimont unassisted 1-1 tie
Essimont skated the puck deep down the right wing then made a sharp turn to shake off two Miami defenders. He then took a wrist shot from a low angle that snuck through Williams.
16:05 Patrick Russell from Will Borgen and Robby Jackson 2-1 St. Cloud State
Borgen snuck through the middle of the ice and took a pass from Jackson which he kicked on goal. Williams stopped the puck with his pad, but Russell was on the doorstep to clean up the rebound
19:02 Kalle Kossila from Will Borgen and Nathan Widman 3-1 St. Cloud State
Kossila split the Miami defense and got a clear shot on Williams from the slot. His high shot beat Williams for the goal.