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St. Cloud State Prevails Over A Depleted Western Michigan

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st. cloud bench (Bob Motzko)

A back-and-forth NCHC conference thriller between St. Cloud State and Western Michigan ended with St. Cloud State’s Easton Brodzinski scoring the game-winning goal with just under five minutes left in regulation to give the Huskies a 4-3 victory, and earn a split in their weekend series with the Broncos.

Some quick notes on the game:

Notes and Thoughts

-The biggest story of this game was that Western Michigan Hobey Baker candidate Wade Allison left tonight’s game before the first media timeout with a lower body injury and did not return. The Broncos were already missing his set-up man in Colt Conrad, who left Friday’s night with an apparent head injury. No word on how long Allison will be out, but Conrad is expected to miss at least next week. Those are major, major losses for Western Michigan if they’re out an extended period of time.

The Broncos are overall short on forwards due to injury. Once Allison left the game, the Broncos were missing 36 goals out of their line-up on a total of 77 goals coming into tonight.

Even with all those injuries, they still came very close to stealing a point or two tonight, and already had a great result for the weekend after stealing a tough road win on Friday. The Broncos are in great shape to make it back into the NCAAs in a year very few thought they would.

-The Huskies managed to stop a two-game losing skid tonight, but still don’t seem to firing on all the cylinders they were in the first half of the year. They didn’t score on their first five power play attempts—though not for lack of shooting, they attempted 16 shots on four power plays in the second period—until finally breaking through on a 5-on-3 in the third period.

-If there is a positive for St. Cloud State’s offense right now, it’s that their freshman are starting to come around. A goal and assist tonight gives Blake Lizotte nine points in his last 10 games, compared to just four points in his first ten games. Easton Brodzinski is now quietly up to eight goals as well.

-A scary play in the third period when St. Cloud State goalie David Hrenak came out of his net to play a loose puck and Western Michigan’s Cam Lee ran him over while racing for the puck. Hrenak had to leave the game, though it sounds as if he won’t miss any additional time. I don’t think Lee was intending anything malicious, but was rightly assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct on the play. That’s a very dangerous play. It looked very similar to Patrick Eaves running over Joe Exter in 2003, a play which nearly killed Exter.

Final Scoring

First Period

19:53 Dawson DiPietro from Corey Schueneman and Luke Bafia (power play) 1-0 Western Michigan

Schueneman had the puck at the top of the point on the power play and fired a waist-high wrist shot into traffic that deflected off DiPietro, among others and just barely past Hrenak for the goal.

Second Period

8:32 Blake Lizotte from Jon Lizotte and Mikey Eyssimont 1-1 Tie

Blake Lizotte picked up the rebound off a Jon Lizotte shot in front of the net, and on his backhand, flipped the puck over Blacker, who was slightly interfered with by Eyssimont and a WMU defender.

14:22 Paul Stoykewych unassisted (short-handed) 2-1 Western Michigan

Stoykewych stole the puck at his own blue line and raced down the right wing on a 2-on-1. He held the puck and beat Hrenak with a wrist shot.

17:47 Ryan Poehling from Jack Poehling and Will Borgen 2-2 tie

On a rush, Jack made a nice cross-ice pass to his brother on the left wing, and Ryan one-timed the pass into the net.

Third Period

5:50 Mikey Eyssimont from Robby Jackson (5-on-3 PP) 3-2 St. Cloud State

Jackson took a shot on Blacker, and the rebound kicked to Eyssimont on the right side of the net, who put the rebound back in for the goal.

11:14 Corey Schueneman from Jade McMullen (power play) 3-3 Tie

McMullen won the puck in the right corner and fed the puck out to Schueneman in the high slot. His high wrist shot beat St. Cloud State goalie Jeff Smith for the goal.

15:32 Easton Brodzinski from Mikey Eyssimont and Blake Lizotte 4-3 St. Cloud State

Lizotte forced a turnover to Eyssimont along the left boards, creating a mini-2-on-1. Eyssimont dished the puck over to Brodzinski in the slot and Brodzinski put a wrist shot past Blacker for the goal.