ST. CLOUD – There’s probably a lot to be thankful for in the upcoming holiday season if you’re a member of the Huskies or if you’re a fan.
SCSU hasn’t missed a beat since the season – and new coaching regime – began, and now with 11 wins in 12 games to start 2018-19, they’ll all be enjoying some turkey during some well-earned time off.
Jimmy Schuldt and Kevin Fitzgerald each had a pair of goals as #2 St. Cloud State outlasted Bemidji State 7-4 on Saturday night to complete the nonconference sweep at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. The Beavers showed a ton of grit for the second straight night and pushed the Huskies time and time again with their tough defense, but they just couldn’t match their offensive output. SCSU coach Brett Larson was quick to give credit where it was due.
“I can say honestly they’re one of the hardest teams to play against in the country. There’s no doubt about it,” Larson said. “For us, it was a great test.”
Four different Beavers lit the lamp on the night, but Zach Driscoll had a less than stellar game in net against his former team, giving up four goals on just 18 shots before giving way to Jack Burgart, who didn’t fare much better with 11 saves on 14 shots.
The Huskies (11-1-0, 4-0-0 NCHC) jumped out on top first as high-scoring defenseman Jimmy Schuldt sniped one home from the slot, but the Beavers (5-4-1, 3-1-0 WCHA) got the reply they needed just 51 seconds later as Connor Brown-Maloski forced a turnover in the SCSU zone and fed it to Nick Cardelli in the slot for the team’s first goal of the weekend. St. Cloud responded strongly as Kevin Fitzgerald and Patrick Newell scored 41 seconds apart to go up 3-1 after 20 minutes.
“We bounced back really well,” Fitzgerald said. “We put a good first period together.”
The Huskies pushed their advantage to three goals as Robby Jackson somehow connected from a terrible angle near the red line, and that was enough to chase Driscoll from the Beavers net. But that also woke up the Beavers offense, and they scored twice in 41 seconds not long after the goaltending change on goals by Adam Brady and Alex Ierullo.
“Right before they scored the two, we hit a crossbar that could have put us up 5-1, so all of a sudden we’re looking at 4-3,” Huskies coach Brett Larson said. “It was a huge change of events.”
SCSU needed a spark to get some much-needed breathing room back, and that came with the first goal of the season by Jon Lizotte with four minutes left in the period. Fitzgerald and Schuldt each added their second goals of the game in the third to put the game out of reach, and David Hrenak made 20 saves to improve his record on the season to 8-0-0.
How smooth is this start for the Huskies? SCSU is now 11-1 on the season, including three consecutive sweeps (Colorado College, Denver and now Bemidji State). Now they will enjoy a week off over Thanksgiving break with plenty to be thankful for.
“It’s a nice way to go into the break,” Larson said. “That’s for sure.”
SCSU goal at 10:34: Jimmy Schuldt (3). Assisted by Blake Lizotte (7) and Patrick Newell (6).
BSU goal at 11:25: Nick Cardelli (2). Assisted by Connor Brown-Maloski (1).
SCSU goal at 14:58: Kevin Fitzgerald (5). Assisted by Jack Poehling (1).
SCSU goal at 15:39: Patrick Newell (8). Assisted by Easton Brodzinski (3) and Blake Lizotte (8).
SCSU goal at 7:00: Robby Jackson (3). Assisted by Nolan Walker (8).
BSU power-play goal at 10:18: Adam Brady (3). Assisted by Charlie Combs (2) and Justin Baudry (4).
BSU goal at 10:59: Alex Ierullo (2). Unassisted.
SCSU goal at 16:00: Jon Lizotte (1). Assisted by Kevin Fitzgerald (3) and Jack Poehling (2).
SCSU goal at 2:42: Kevin Fitzgerald (6). Assisted by Jake Wahlin (1) and Micah Miller (1, first collegiate point).
SCSU goal at 8:28: Jimmy Schuldt (4). Assisted by Newell (7) and Brodzinski (4).
BSU goal at 9:19: Jay Dickman (2). Assisted by Darby Gula (2) and Brendan Harris (6).
Power plays: BSU 1-2, SCSU 0-3.
Shots on goal: BSU 24, SCSU 32.