St. Cloud State defeated North Dakota 3-1 on Saturday night to take four of six points in their weekend series. Our full recap of the game will be posted later tonight.
For now, here are my takeways from tonight’s game:
-Hockey is a funny game sometimes. The results on the scoreboard don’t always reflect the run of play on the ice. I thought St. Cloud State was much more dominant in the game last night than they were tonight. North Dakota came out like a team that was desperate after losing the night prior, and they did a much better job of keeping St. Cloud State from establishing possession in the other zone, where the Huskies can be deadly. But the Huskies did a better job capitalizing on the chances they did get to win tonight’s game.
-This was a tough, physical hockey game where ice, especially in front of each net was extremely difficult to come by. But when teams were able to get guys to the front of the net, they were productive.
In the first period, St. Cloud State was able to generate shots from the point, but never able to get any traffic in front of Cam Johnson, allowing him to make a lot of easy saves. Early in the second period, they were finally able to get some guys to the front of the net and it paid off. On the first goal, the Huskies had two guys in front of a Jon Lizotte shot, and while Easton Brodzinski got a tip on the shot, it was the second guy, Robby Jackson that cleaned up the loose puck for the goal.
The next two goals didn’t come from set offense, but both times, the Huskies had a guy beat a North Dakota defender to a loose puck in front of the net and they capitalized.
North Dakota’s offense was stagnant for much of the night, mostly because they were taking a lot of shots from the perimeter and not getting anybody in position to handle a rebound. The one exception came in the final seconds—or tenths of seconds—in the second period when the Fighting Hawks’ fourth line jammed home a rebound for their only goal.
That work in front of the net earned North Dakota’s fourth line a shift on the power play early in the third period, though they were unable to convert.
-Speaking of rebounds in front of the St. Cloud State net, David Hrenak got the start tonight, and there were a lot of them. Hrenak was credited with stopping 28 of 29 shots on the night, but never looked really in control, leaving a lot of juicy rebounds. Credit the defense in front of him for keeping those from being more dangerous.
It’s interesting to note that it’s likely that the next time St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko sees Hrenak, it will be from the other side of the ice, as Hrenak could be the goalie for Team Slovakia at the World Juniors, and they’re scheduled to take on the US on December 29th.
-It was a tough return for (likely) the final time of his collegiate career for St. Cloud native Austin Poganski. Poganski was almost given a gift in the first period when he intercepted a lazy pass across the middle of the SCSU zone and broke in for a clean shot, but his shot caught the post.
-There was a bit of confusion on St. Cloud State’s second goal, which was initially waved off by the officials, but then counted after a video review. The official reason for the review was that the official thought Mikey Eyssimont’s shot was blocked by Blake Lizotte, who had been tripped into the net, before the puck crossed the line. But the review showed the puck clearly crossing the line before it hits Lizotte.
2:09 Robby Jackson from Easton Brodzinski and Jon Lizotte 1-0 St. Cloud State
Lizotte took a shot into traffic from the right point. Brodzinski tried to tip the puck in front, and it ended up being knocked down in front of the net. Jackson picked up the loose puck and backhanded it into the net.
7:33 Mikey Eyssimont from Kevin Fitzgerald and Jon Lizotte 2-0 St. Cloud State
Eyssimont took a shot from the left circle and then followed the play and got his own rebound on the right side of the net. Eyssimont’s shot effort hit teammate Blake Lizotte, who had been tripped into the net, but video review confirmed that Fitzgerald’s shot clearly crossed the goal line.
8:33 Mikey Eyssimont from Jacob Benson and Blake Winiecki (power play) 3-0 St. Cloud State
Benson took a shot from the left circle and Eyssimont was in position to pick up the rebound in front of the net for the goal.
19:59 Cole Smith from Gabe Bast and Johnny Simonson 3-1 St. Cloud State
Late in the period, Simonson won a draw back to Bast for a quick shot. Smith was able to knock the rebound back in front of the net.