#13 SCSU Huskies Travel to Colorado to Face the CC Tigers

(Photo Prout)

(Photo Prout)

#13 SCSU HUSKIES  VS  CC TIGERS

The #13 St. Cloud State University Huskies (4-4-0 | 0-2-0 ) hit the road for a NCHC conference series with the Colorado College Tigers ( 3-5-0 | 1-1-0 ) on Fri., Nov. 11 and Sat., Nov. 12. Game times are 8:35 PM CT Friday and 8:05 PM CT Saturday. Both games are at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, CO. Tickets are available online through the Colorado College Ticket Office or in person at the Broadmoor World Arena ticket office

TV: The Friday game will be broadcast live on American Sports Network where available | Channel Information

Video Stream:  NCHC.TV

Radio | Audio Stream: Both games on  REV 96.9 FM with play by play announcer Jim Erickson

The Colorado College Broadcast is aired on  KRDO 105.5 FM and KRDO 1240 AM

HEAD TO HEAD

Colorado College leads the all-time series at the Division I level 49-41-7. Bob Motzko has a 20-13-4 record vs the Tigers. SCSU is 4-1-0 in the last 5 and 8-1-1 in the last 10. In Colorado Springs the Huskies lead the series 27-23-2. The Huskies last faced the Tigers on March 9, 2016 at the World Arena winning 9-3. Colorado College last defeated SCSU on January 9, 2016 in St. Cloud by a score of 5-2. SCSU has scored 38 goals in the last six games played at the World Arena averaging 6.3 goals per game.

LAST SERIES

The Tigers traveled to Omaha and split the weekend series at Baxter Arena winning Friday 2-1 and dropping the Saturday rematch 6-4. On Friday, first period goals by Mason Bergh and Kade Kehoe was all the scoring needed as they held on for the 2-1 win. Jacob Nehema put forth a strong effort in goal stopping 31 of 32 Maverick shots on goal. Omaha turned the table on the Tigers Saturday racing to a 5-1 lead and then turning back a Tiger rally for a 6-4 win. Mason Bergh and Luc Gerdes both scored twice for Colorado College in the Saturday loss. Jacob Nehema turned aside 27 of 34 shots on goal.

The Huskies had a disappointing weekend hosting the #1 ranked UMD Bulldogs getting swept and losing by identical 5-3 scores. Both games were a mirror image of each other with the Huskies carrying a 3-2 lead into the third period each contest only to see UMD rally for a 5-3 win. On Friday, Robby Jackson scored 32 seconds into the game and  Mikey Eyssimont and Ryan Poehling stretched the SCSU lead to 3-1 before the Bulldogs rallied for three third period goals (including an empty net goal)  for a 5-3 win. Jeff Smith turned aside 26 of 30  shots on goal in the loss. On Saturday, Jackson again gave the Huskies an early lead scoring 53 seconds into the game and Jacob Benson and Blake Winiecki added two more for another 3-2 lead heading into period three. But, once again, the Bulldogs came roaring back with three third period goals (including an empty netter) for another 5-3 win and sweep of the Huskies. Zach Driscoll’s fate was no different than Jeff Smith’s from game one stopping 27 of 31 shots on goal in the loss.

COLORADO COLLEGE TIGERS

It’s been a tough stretch for former NHL assistant coach Mike Haviland as he tries to steer the Tiger program back to respectability. This is a program that averaged 27 wins a season from 2000 to 2005 but has only won 19 games total over the past three seasons. Haviland’s record for his first two seasons was 12-55-4 but in winning three games thus far in 2016,  they’ve already won half the number of games his teams have won in each of the past two years. Additionally their offense has improved from 1.97 goals per game in 2015-16 to 2.88 thus far this season.

The offseason was not kind to the Tigers roster with senior Zach Aman deciding not to return to the ice due to concussion issues. He had played 50 career games for the Tigers. Additionally, last seasons part-time starter in goal, Tyler Marble and defenseman Jake Emilio decided not to return to the team in 2016-17. Emilio played 24 games last season and had five assists. Marble played in 40 games over the past two seasons. On the positive side Westin Michaud, a forward from Esko, MN has returned to the lineup after missing the entire 2015-16 season due to injury. He was a 73 point scorer in the NAHL for Corpus Christi.

The Tigers have brought in 10 recruits for the current season and they have contributed nicely with Alex Berardinelli (2-4-6), Branden Makara (2-2-4), Nick Halloran (4-0-4), Bryce Van Horn (1-2-3) and Cole Josefchak (1-2-3) all in the top ten in scoring currently.

The defense is anchored by Junior Teemu Kivihalme, the only NHL drafted player on the Tiger roster who is currently third on the squad in scoring.  Of note, Teemu’s father Janne was a high school coach of SCSU first-year defenseman Jack Ahcan. Senior leadership at forward is provided by Luc Gerdes (2-1-3) and Sam Rothstein (1-2-3). Leading scorer and sophomore Trey Bradley (0-6-6) suffered a broken collarbone in the teams recent Omaha series and will be out of the lineup for two months.

In goal, the Tigers have rotated all three netminders including freshman Alex Leclerc (1-4-0) 5.51 GAA | .787 SV%, senior Derek Shatzer (1-0-0) 1.68 GAA | .950 SV% and sophomore Jacob Nehema (1-1-0) 3.52 GAA | .892 SV% who returned after off-season hip surgery.

The Tigers are ranked 32nd in offense at 2.88 goals per game and 55th in defense allowing 4.12 goals per game. The power play is ranked 42nd converting 7 of 53 for 13% and the penalty kill is 54th out of 60 teams at 75.5%.

 

 ST. CLOUD STATE UNIVERSITY HUSKIES

The Huskies return a talented defensive corp including junior, Nathan Widman and sophomores Jimmy Schuldt, Will Borgen and Jon Lizotte. All  were outstanding in 2015-16. Senior, Niklas Nevalainen was a key defensive and offensive component to this unit last season. Both Jimmy Schuldt and Will Borgen were both named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team following the 2015-16 season. Add to this unit first round Detroit Red Wings draft choice Dennis Cholowski and USHL Defenseman of the Year Jack Ahcan and you have one of the deepest defensive units in all of college hockey. Early season statistics have first-year defenseman Jack Ahcan (1-6-7) and tied for the team scoring lead. Sophomore Will Borgen has 6 assists and fellow sophomore Jimmy Schuldt has 5 assists and is +4. Dennis Cholowski, another first-year player is 0-5-5 and fourth on defense in points. All of these players are in the top ten in scoring for the HUskies. Both Ahcan and Cholowski have already worked their way onto the special teams units.

At forward, between graduation and an early pro signing, the Huskies have lost 219 points of offense. That’s a lot of ground to make up with the responsibility falling primarily on junior forwards Judd Peterson and  Blake Winiecki and a strong group of sophomores including Mikey Eyssimont, Robby Jackson, Jacob Benson, and Patrick Newell. Peterson and Winiecki have accepted the challenge with both players tied for the team lead in points with seven. Peterson leads the squad in goal scoring with six. Sophomore Patrick Newell has had a solid start to the season and is tied for the team lead in points with 2-5-7. First-year forwards and brothers Nick, Jack and Ryan Poehling have outstanding chemistry with a history of strong offensive production, and they’ve already combined for 4 goals and 3 assists for 7 points. Another first-year forward, Jake Wahlin has been an early season surprise with 3 goals and 3 assist including the game-winning overtime goal vs Minnesota. Sophomore Jacob Benson has been another surprise adding 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points. Mikey Eyssimont continues his success on the power play with 2 goals and 5 points. In all, twelve players have notched at least one goal. The Huskies “fourth line” of Ben Storm, Daniel Tedesco and Jacob Benson has been gritty and reliable chewing up ice-time and adding some key goals.

Goaltending continues to struggle for the Huskies with sophomore transfer Jeff Smith and first-year Zach Driscoll sharing duties. It’s unlikely that will change until a clear leader emerges at that position. Both rotated in the series with each goaltender allowing 4 goals in their contests. Zach Driscoll is currently 3-2-0 with a 3.41 GAA and .867 SV%. Smith is 1-2-0 with a 3.61 GAA and identical .867 SV%. Both are ranked in the bottom third of the country in goaltender statistics.

Statistically, SCSU is #12 in the country in offense at 3.75 goals per game and 51st on defense allowing 3.75 goals per game. The power play is ranked 26th converting 6 of 34 for 18% and the penalty kill at 28th is 21 for 25 at 84%.  As always, the Huskies spend little time in the penalty box and are the least penalized team in the country ranked #60 out of 60 teams.

GAME PROSPECTUS

It continues to be a work in progress for the Tigers despite making progress in the win column and offense. However at 2.88 goals per game, the offense continues to be rather anemic. Add to that the loss of key player Trey Bradley to injury and the Tigers are relying on a roster of youngsters for success. Much like the Huskies, both squads are loaded with freshman and sophomores and that creates issues with consistency in play from game to game. Goaltending has been an issue on both teams with no clear-cut go to netminder surfacing as of yet. As a result, both teams have struggled on the defensive side of game allowing over 3.5 goals per game. For the Huskies that’s particularly disturbing as they have great depth and talent on defense but allowed way too many turnovers last weekend vs the Bulldogs. And, with the goaltending at 87% if there is a defensive breakdown, the goaltenders have not been winning the one on one battles. Although the penalty kill has performed well for the Huskies the power play is lagging and has only scored once in the last 20 opportunities. Special teams play has been sub-par for the Tigers which should create opportunity for SCSU this weekend. This is a key weekend for both teams as neither team wants to lose any more ground in the NCHC standings this early in the season. The Huskies have won the last nine games at the World Arena thus it has been a successful venue on the road. With so many youngsters in the lineup for the Tigers it’s hard to predict how they’ll respond against a team that has pretty much owned their rink for several years.   

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

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