The Huskies probably had a few of their fans fidgeting in their seats this past weekend vs The University of Alabama-Huntsville in a non-conference series at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. After all, the #10 Huskies were highly favored against a team that was 0-11-0 vs the Huskies in their Division I history. However, it wasn’t easy and the Huskies needed rallies in both games to defeat the stubborn Chargers of the WCHA.
On Friday, UAH goaltender Jordan Uhelski stonewalled the Huskies for two periods turning aside 31/32 shots on goal until the Huskies finally wore the Chargers down in the third period. SCSU finally took the lead for good at 3:22 of the second period on Ryan Poehling’s first collegiate goal. Jack Ahcan placed a shot on net that was deflected by Poehling for a lead the Huskies never relinquished. To follow, Judd Peterson scored his fifth goal in five games, Patrick Newell added a back door tally and Blake Winiecki a rebound goal for the 5-1 final. All in all, the Huskies dominated on the stats sheet outshooting Huntsville 53-16, winning 39 of 68 faceoffs and requiring the Chargers to block 48 shots. Jeff Smith did not see a lot of rubber stopping 15/16 SOG in gaining his first win as a Husky.
Saturday’s contest was much of the same requiring another rally by the Huskies in period two to erase an early 1-0 Charger lead. An early characteristic of this team is to score in bunches and that was the modus operandi once again on Saturday. The rally began at 2:07 of the second with a breakaway goal by Patrick Newell and continued for the balance of the period. Blake Winiecki added a shooters goal beating Uhelski high and glove side at 11:05 followed by Jack Ahcan’s first collegiate goal at 13:23. Ahcan ripped a shot that beat the goaltender blocker side for the first of what will be many goals in his career as a Husky. Fellow first-year player Ryan Poehling finished the rally in the period on his second goal in as many games assisted as was his first collegiate goal by Jack Ahcan. Ahcan who spotted Poehling just outside the blue paint slid a perfect pass to Poehling who promptly fashioned a textbook redirection past Uhelski for a 4-1 lead. Judd Peterson finished off the Huskies scoring in the third period for his sixth goal of the season. In a strong defensive effort, the Huskies limited the Chargers to 12 shots on goal and turned back all four man-advantage opportunities for UAH in the contest. Zach Driscoll picked up his third win stopping 10/12 shots on goal.
- The Huskies outshot the Chargers 82-28 and outscored them 10-3 in the series
- SCSU was successful killing all 8 Charger man-advantage opportunities over the weekend
- The Huskies extend their record to 13-0-0 all-time vs UAH
- SCSU’s power play struggled converting only one of eleven opportunities for a 9% conversion percentage
- Jack Ahcan’s coming out party included 1 goal, 3 assists and 5 points with 9 shots on goal and +4. As a result, he was named NCHC Rookie of the Week. Ahcan has six points in six games.
- Judd Peterson added two more goals and leads the squad with 6 goals in 6 games.
- Blake Winiecki scored each game and has three goals on the season.
- Patrick Newell was 2-1-3 for the weekend.
- Ryan Poehling added a goal each night and is beginning to show Husky fans why the 17-year-old is coveted by the NHL for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. His size, skating ability, two-way work ethic and skill will make him one of the top rookies in college hockey in 2016-17.
- Nick Poehling returned from injury and joined brothers Jack and Ryan on a line for the weekend series. The threesome showed the grit, skill and great chemistry that earned them a state high school hockey championship. Motzko commented they have “tremendous energy, jump on the puck and forecheck. It’s promising to watch these three guys.”
- First-year forward Jake Wahlin added a goal and an assist vs UAH to improve his totals to 3-2-5 – good for fourth on the squad in points.
- Dennis Cholowski left Saturday’s game with an injury but should be back in the lineup this weekend.
- Ryan Papa injured his foot Friday and looks to miss this weekends series with UMD.
- First-year forward Garrett Forster was required to miss 6 games due to NCAA rules and is eligible for the lineup this weekend.
- After an 0-2 start, the Huskies have won four consecutive non-conference games to improve their record to 4-2-0.
The #8 Huskies will face #1 University of Minnesota – Duluth to begin their NCHC conference play.The Huskies defeated UMD in the Frozen Faceoff Championship game in March at the Target Center in Minneapolis. However, the Bulldogs have won four straight at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud. A weekend preview will be posted later this week.