Huskies to Face UMD in Frozen Faceoff Finale

NCHC_FF_UMD_2016 (2)

FROZEN FACEOFF MATCHUP – SCSU HUSKIES vs UMD BULLDOGS

Saturday, March 19, 2016 – Target Center | Minneapolis, MN

TV: CBS Sports Network

RADIO | Stream: KCML 99.9 HERE KVSC 88.1 FM HERE

With the NCHC Frozen Faceoff Championship on the line,  #4 ranked SCSU Huskies face NCHC pre-season favorite #16 UMD Bulldogs for the Frozen Faceoff Trophy. The Huskies (17-6-1 conference | 30-8-1 overall) look to at least maintain their #2 Pairwise ranking in this tourney finale. The Bulldogs (11-10-3 conference | 18-14-5 overall) appear to have earned a spot in the NCHC tournament but a win would solidify that. The #2 Pairwise Huskies have already secured a top four position for the NCAA tournament starting next weekend.

This game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.

HEAD TO HEAD

The Bulldogs carry a 2-1-1 edge in head to head meetings this season. They last met in St. Cloud on February 26/27 with UMD getting a sweep winning the Friday game 4-1 on a 49 save effort by Kasimir Kaskisuo and a 2-1 win in the Saturday rematch. In the all-time series, SCSU has a 59-41-8 advantage. In the past 22 games, SCSU carries a 10-8-4 edge and a 6-5-1 advantage in the last 12 games. In their first meeting this season in Duluth on January 15/16 in Duluth, the Huskies earned a 3-1 win on Friday and the squads skated to a 1-1 overtime tie in the Saturday rematch. For the NCHC extra point, Patrick Russell scored with 33 seconds left in the second overtime 3 X 3 session for the win.

LAST GAME 

UMD earned a thrilling 4-2 win on Friday in the Frozen Faceoff vs North Dakota. Dominic Toninato scored twice and Austin Farley added the game -winning goal to advance to the Frozen Faceoff Championship game.

The Huskies prevailed in the evening session of the Frozen Faceoff defeating Denver University 4-2. Joey Benik and Kalle Kossila each had a two-point night and Mikey Eyssimont scored the game-winning goal in a hard-earned win for the Huskies.

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA-DULUTH BULLDOGS  

The Bulldogs, who were the pre-season favorite in the NCHC seem to have righted the ship and have won seven straight games entering tonights contest. Their defense and goaltending has been solid and they are beginning to get the leadership and scoring from their upperclassmen.The offense has been lead by Tony Cameranesi (10-25-35), Austin Farley (14-15-29) and Dominic Toninato (15-6-21).Defenseman,  Andy Welinski has been a horse on defense and much like SCSU’s Ethan Prow is solid on both ends of the ice. Welinski is +14 with 6-13-19. Goaltending has been a bright spot all season with sophomore Kasimir Kaskisuo a key to the solid defense of the Bulldogs. His 1.90 GAA and .924 SV% place him close to the top of the league in the NCHC.  The penalty kill, currently at 86.4% is a good counter balance to the potent power play of SCSU. Their defense is allowing only 2.03 GPG good for 6th in the country.

ST. CLOUD STATE UNIVERSITY HUSKIES

Overall, there are very few facets of the SCSU game that are not performing well including the offense – 4.31 GPG (2nd in the country) defense – 2.15 GAPG (10th) and Power Play – 29.5% (2nd). Even the penalty kill that was struggling for the first half of the season has turned things around allowing only 2 goals in 34 opportunities (94%) since February 1.

Offensively, Kalle Kossila is tied for 6th in NCAA scoring with 50 points. Senior, Ethan Prow, leads all defensemen in the country in scoring with 8-28-36. Five seniors, Benik, Kossila, Murray, Morley and Prow have combined for 202 of the squads 462 points (43%). Sophomores Judd Peterson, Blake Winiecki and Patrick Russell have combined for 85 points. First-year forwards Mikey Eyssimont, Patrick Newell and Robby Jackson have combined for 68 points and have become key components of the SCSU offensive machine.

The defense of the Huskies is anchored by senior Ethan Prow who has also added to the offense with 8 goals and 28 assists and a +31 rating. And, he’s doing this with only 2 penalty minutes all season. He’s backed up by a solid core of young defenseman including sophomore, Nathan Widman (+21), Jimmy Schuldt (+32), Will Borgen (+18) and Jon Lizotte (+9). Junior Niklas Nevalainen has been a key defensive and offensive component to this unit with 23 points in 37 games and a +18 ranking. The Huskies are ranked 10th nationally in team defense allowing 2.15 GPG. The penalty kill has been improving and is currently ranked 30th at 82.4%. As always, SCSU is one of the least penalized teams in the country currently ranked 59th out of 60 teams.

First-year defenseman, Jimmy Schuldt and Will Borgen were both recently named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team. Senior defenseman Ethan Prow and junior goaltender Charlie Lindgren were named to the All NCHC first team and Joey Benik and Kalle Kossila to the second team.

At the recent NCHC Awards Banquet Ethan Prow was named NCHC Player of the Year, Defenseman of the Year and Offensive Defenseman of the Year. Charlie Lindgren was named NCHC Goaltender of the Year.

Charlie Lindgren’s exemplary play continues compiling a 29-8-1 record with a .926 SV% and 2.08 GAA. His 5 shutouts rank him 6th in the country in that category and 29 wins the most of any goaltender in college hocke

THE GAME 

This should be a great matchup. The Bulldogs did a did a nice job defending the Huskies offense in the February series allowing only 2 goals against all weekend. The Bulldogs will need a similar effort if they are to have success in the championship game. The Bulldogs play outstanding defense and now their scoring seems to have turned the corner as well. And, with Kasimir Kaskisuo in goal, they have a goaltender who can outright win games for them. Dominic Toninato always seems to play well against the Huskies and that will be a key in this game.

As the higher seed SCSU will get last change so once again in this contest, the Huskies will have that advantage. The key to this game is whether the prolific offense of the Huskies can get to UMD goaltender Kaskisuo.The Bulldogs have an excellent penalty kill so that should be a good matchup vs the Huskies 2nd ranked power play. SCSU will need another strong effort by Charlie Lindgren if they are to prevail in this game. I expect a physical game out of the Bulldogs and it’ll be interesting to see if the Huskies offensive depth can take advantage of the Bulldogs.

As always, all the pertinent links for this weekends games can be found HERE

Enjoy the games!

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