ST. CLOUD – Layover? What layover?
You never would have known the 6th ranked St. Cloud State Huskies were off for three weeks after the way they played this weekend.
One night after ten different goal scorers contributed to an 11-1 victory, six different goal scorers led the way Saturday night to lead SCSU to an 8-0 thrashing of the Miami RedHawks, sweeping their NCHC series in convincing fashion.
Most head coaches often find one thing to improve on after victories like this, but even St. Cloud head coach Brett Larson had a hard time naming one after his team outscored Miami 19-1 over the weekend.
“I just like that they stuck to the gameplan all weekend,” he said. “They never got off script. We didn’t force things. We controlled things down low. Definitely our best two games back-to-back all year.”
Kyler Kupka had three assists and seven different SCSU players each had two points. David Hrenak made 14 saves to pick up his 13th career shutout.
“I thought [Hrenak] showed a lot of mental strength by being ready when being called upon,” Larson said.
The Huskies surged to a big lead after the first period for the second straight night. Miettinen started things off with a power play goal, showing some good patience from the right circle before firing a well-placed wrister past RedHawks goaltender Ludvig Persson. Miettinen added another one just two and a half minutes later and Kevin Fitzgerald capped off the period’s scoring with a beautiful tic-tac-toe sequence between him, Kyler Kupka and Micah Miller.
The Huskies added three more goals in the second from Easton Brodzinski on a penalty shot, their third shorthanded goal of the weekend on a Josh Luedtke goal off a 2-on-1 rush, and a Sam Hentges goal in which he dangled many Miami players near the goalie crease before putting the puck away.
Miller and Fitzgerald added a third-period goal each to cap a very high-scoring weekend for the Huskies.
“We had a lot of energy. We were so excited to come back,” Miettinen said. “We were just having fun out there.”
Despite not having played since beating Bemidji State 5-2 at home on New Year’s Day, St. Cloud didn’t miss a beat. But the going only gets tougher; the Huskies go to North Dakota, go to Denver, host Western Michigan and go to Omaha over the next four weeks.
“Winning doesn’t come easy in this league. I think we should enjoy it tonight,” Larson said. “I don’t have any problem with them enjoying a good weekend like this for a little bit.”
Per SCSU play-by-play radio announcer Jim Erickson, Larson, Nick Perbix and Hentges will be heading to Beijing for the Olympics on January 30 after St. Cloud State completes their series next weekend at North Dakota.
SCSU power play goal at 7:20: Veeti Miettinen (6). Assisted by Nick Perbix (17) and Sam Hentges (7).
SCSU goal at 9:54: Miettinen (7). Assisted by Zach Okabe (9).
SCSU goal at 16:46: Kevin Fitzgerald (10). Assisted by Kyler Kupka (8) and Micah Miller (4).
SCSU penalty shot goal at 4:49: Easton Brodzinski (11). Unassisted.
SCSU shorthanded goal at 13:35: Josh Luedtke (2). Assisted by Chase Brand (3).
SCSU power play goal at 15:50: Sam Hentges (6). Assisted by Perbix (19) and Brodzinski (9).
SCSU goal at 3:21: Miller (7). Assisted by Jack Peart (11) and Kupka (9).
SCSU goal at 8:28: Fitzgerald (11). Assisteed by Peart (12) and Kupka (10).
Power plays: MU 0-5, SCSU 2-3.
Shots on goal: MU 14, SCSU 44.