ST. CLOUD – There wasn’t much difference between Friday and Saturday night in the minds of the spectators. In fact, the only differences were penalties taken and goals scored by each side.
Other than that, the script was pretty much the same.
For the second straight night, #4 St. Cloud State got all different goal scorers and overwhelmed Northern Michigan with their speed and skillset to win 5-0 on Saturday night at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center and complete the nonconference sweep.
The Huskies (4-0-0, 0-0-0 NCHC) displayed their tremendous scoring depth once again as five different players lit the lamp and 12 registered at least one point, including goaltender Jeff Smith. That makes for a pretty good homecoming weekend for the team.
“We’ve seen that right away in captain’s practice – these forwards are highly skilled,” said defenseman Jimmy Schuldt. “They can skate. Not fun to play against for other teams.”
SCSU also cut down on penalties taken from Friday, getting whistled for only three and giving NMU just one power play on the night.
“It was really big. Coach just talked about keeping our sticks down and staying out of scrums after whistles,” Schuldt said.
“Composure was a big part of the game tonight for sure,” Huskies coach Brett Larson said. “It was really fun finally to play a lot of 5-on-5 hockey, which gave us an opportunity to use our speed and use our pressure and use the parts of our game which make us successful.”
The Wildcats (1-3-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) simply had no answer for the Huskies all weekend, generating just ten shots on goal for the game and 31 for the series, netting only one goal.
“We didn’t really let them have any Grade-A chances,” Easton Brodzinski said.
Atte Tolvanen took the loss in net for NMU for the second straight night, making 26 saves.
Just as they did on Friday night, St. Cloud State got off to another hot start with two first-period goals. Patrick Newell, who already has seven points through four games, got the scoring started when defenseman Luke Jaycox popped a puck to center ice, where Newell scooped it up, skated in and beat Tolvanen low for his fourth goal. Then Schuldt doubled the advantage less than two minutes later, getting his first of the year on a one-time blast from the high slot eight seconds into the team’s first power play.
Brodzinski added to the advantage with his second goal of the year late in the second period, and a bad-angle goal by Kevin Fitzgerald and a tip-in goal by Jacob Benson six minutes apart in the third period completed the scoring. It turns out all they needed was one for the night, and with a team expected to make noise in the WCHA again this season, that’s a good accomplishment.
“I thought [it was] really good,” Schuldt said. “With the firepower that Northern Michigan has, they did a really good job of shutting it down.”
Smith needed just ten saves to win his second game of the year for SCSU.
Northern Michigan heads home to begin conference play next weekend against Bemidji State, while St. Cloud State heads out east to face Boston College on Thursday and Northeastern on Saturday.
SCSU goal at 7:15: Patrick Newell (4). Assisted by Luke Jaycox (1).
SCSU power-play goal at 8:57: Jimmy Schuldt (1). Assisted by Ryan Poehling (3) and Robby Jackson (2).
SCSU goal at 16:21: Easton Brodzinski (2). Assisted by Jackson (3) and Ryan Poehling (4).
SCSU goal at 1:36: Kevin Fitzgerald (2). Assisted by Jack Ahcan (7) and Jeff Smith (1).
SCSU power-play goal at 7:51: Jacob Benson (2). Assisted by Nick Perbix (2) and Nolan Walker (3).
Power plays: NMU 0-1, SCSU 2-3.
Shots on goal: NMU 10, SCSU 31.