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St. Cloud State Rebounds with a 2-1 to Earn Weekend Split

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One night after seeing their home winning streak that stretched over an entire season snapped, St. Cloud State rebounded with a 2-1 victory over Northeastern to earn a split in their non-conference series against the Huskies.

St. Cloud got off to a fast start coming off the loss, firing ten shots on goal in the game’s first 10 minutes, while not allowing a single shot against. But Northeastern goalie Craig Pantano was excellent for the second consecutive night, stopping every St. Cloud State attempt on the net to keep St. Cloud State off the board.

Meanwhile, Northeastern scored on just their second shot of the game when Tyler Madden’s wrist shot from the left circle on the power play beat St. Cloud State goalie David Hrenak, giving Northeastern a 1-0 lead after a period of play.

But the Huskies rebounded in the second period. Sam Hentges won a battle for a puck behind the Northeastern net over two opponents and slid a pass to Jack Poehling in the slot. Poehling’s shot high over the blocker of Pantano evened the score at 4:59 of the second period.

At the 8:27 mark of the second period, Northeastern’s Zach Solow appeared to score a goal, taking a puck that bounced off the back glass and jamming it into the net as the net was pushed off of its’ moorings. The goal was immediately waved off by the officials, and a video review confirmed that Solow did not score before the net came off.

On the ensuing face-off in the St. Cloud State zone, SCSU won the draw, broke the puck out of the zone, and scored on the rush, with Sam Hentges finishing off a nice pass from Chase Brand.

A steady defensive effort in the third period from St. Cloud State would ensure that Hentges’ goal would stand as the winner. Northeastern earned a power play with 3:53 remaining in regulation, for the best chance at tying the game, but could not convert with the man advantage.

The win was St. Cloud State’s first of the season, moving them to 1-1-2 on the year, while the loss was also Northeastern’s first, giving them a 4-1-1 overall record.

Notes and Thoughts:

-This was a gutsy win for St. Cloud State, and while it’s too early to call it a turning point, it’s certainly easy to imagine things going in a much different direction for them.

A night after not being to break the puck out of their zone in the first period, St. Cloud State was much more crisp and dominated the early stages of the game. Northeastern went over half a period with a shot on goal.

So it was a really heavy blow when St. Cloud State controlled play for so long, and still ended up going behind 1-0 late in the first period. It was almost a blessing that the goal came with less than three minutes left in the period because St. Cloud State was really outplayed after that goal, and if Northeastern had more time, they may have added to their lead.

Instead, St. Cloud State was able to get back to the locker room and regroup. After the intermission, they played much stronger again.

-The third period was something that St. Cloud State may be able to build off as well. They were able to hold their one-goal lead and didn’t give up much in the way of major chances. For this year’s St. Cloud State to be good, they’re probably going to have to grind out a lot of quiet third periods like this one because they don’t have the offensive depth to blow people out of the water like they did last year.

-Despite taking the loss, I can’t say enough about how well Craig Pantano played in goal for Northeastern this weekend. His performance during St. Cloud State’s first period onslaught was the type of performance that could have stolen a win on a different net. The thing that stood out was how calm and collected he remained on second chance opportunities or scramble situations. Northeastern has 14 goals in six games now, so they’ll need Pantano to carry them sometimes.

-St. Cloud State’s Sam Hentges was arguably the best player on the ice again tonight. He had a goal and an assist—the assist was a fantastic individual effort to win the puck—and had numerous other chances again. He has six points through the first four games(on just nine total goals for the Huskies so far this season), and his line, with Easton Brodzinski and Chase Brand on the wings looks like it is emerging as St. Cloud State’s top line.