Tickets: Ample tickets are currently available for this game through the SCSU ticket office
TV: SCSU Sports Network – Charter 426|823
Video Stream: NCHC.TV
Radio | Audio Stream: This game will be broadcast on REV 96.9 FM with play by play announcer Jim Erickson and Dave Reichel doing color commentary.
St. Cloud, MN – The 2017-18 edition of the St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team begins its formal team practice on Saturday, September 30th with a two-hour session in preparation for an exhibition game that same evening with The University of Regina Cougars. This is a rematch with the same team SCSU defeated 6-2 a year ago in St. Cloud. The Huskies are coming off a 16-19-1 2016-17 season, their lowest number of wins since the 2010-11 season.
The 2017-18 squad has added seven first-year players after losing four to graduation and two others (Driscoll and Chowlowski) who have moved on to play elsewhere. The Huskies have added goaltender David Hrenak, defensemen Tyler Anderson and Lucas Jaycox and forwards Easton Brodzinski, Blake Lizotte, Will Hammer and Kevin Fitzgerald.
University of Regina Cougars
SCSU faces the University of Regina for the second time in a year and third time since October 7, 1995. The Huskies have won both games – 6-2 last season and prevailed in the earlier encounter by the score of 11-2. The Regina Cougars participate in the Canada West Division of Canada Interuniversity Sport (CIS). They finished in the bottom of the Canada West standings in 2016-17 with a 3-22-3 record. The Cougars are coached by Todd Johnson who is entering his sixth season as head coach. Johnson was a five-year member of the University of Calgary in his collegiate playing days. The Cougars have played four games thus far – splitting a series with the University of Manitoba (4-2/2-3), losing to the University of Calgary 7-0 and defeating the University of Saskatchewan 4-3. Regina will travel to Mankato to take on WCHA member MSU Mankato on Sunday, October 1 in another exhibition match.
The leading returning scorer for the Cougars is forward Ian McNulty who had 9 goals and 8 assists in regular season play in 2016-17. the Cougars also return five other fifth year players including forwards Cody Fowlie (5-6-11), Christian Magnus, Stephen Langford (2-2-4) and defenseman Brody Luhning (0-7-7) and Austin Bourhis (0-1-1).
St. Cloud State University Huskies
The Huskies return a deep and talented defensive corp including juniors Jimmy Schuldt, Will Borgen and Jon Lizotte (+10). Senior, Mika Ilvonen is coming off a red-shirt year as is junior Clark Kuster. Both look to insert themselves into the lineup this season. First-year defenseman, Jack Ahcan was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team and led the defensive unit in scoring with 5-16-21 . Add to this newcomers Tyler Anderson and Lucas Jaycox and you have an embarrassment of riches at defense. All will be vying for ice time early in the season.
At forward lost to graduation are three senior forwards (Storm, Tedesco and Papa) who combined for 19 points in 2016-17. Returning are seniors Judd Peterson and Blake Winiecki who combined for 23 goals in 2016-17. However, Judd Peterson was hampered by a bad hip which has been repaired in the off-season and he should be primed for a stellar senior campaign. The junior class consisting of Jacob Benson, Mikey Eyssimont, Robby Jackson and Patrick Newell have been lineup regulars since they were freshman and are expected to have a huge impact this season. This group of juniors contributed 37 goals and 96 points last season and the numbers can only go up this season. Sophomores Ryan Poehling, Nick Poehling and Jack Poehling were an impressive group of brothers last season, got stronger and gained more confidence as the season wore on and combined for 15 goals and 36 points. Ryan Poehling, still just an 18 year-old was a first round draft choice of the Montreal Canadians and is certain to be a member of the Team USA World Junior team this winter. Add to this group sophomore Jake Wahlin (6-6-12) and you have a highly effective sophomore class that will contribute more to the offense this season.
Newcomers Easton Brodzinski, Blake Lizotte, Kevin Fitzgerald and Will Hammer are all seasoned junior players and will be relied on to contribute this season. Brodzinski finished in the top twelve in scoring in the USHL and Lizotte finished second in USHL scoring.
With the departure of Zach Driscoll to junior hockey for another season the Huskies will rely on junior Jeff Smith and Freshman David Hrenak to carry the load in goal. Smith was solid following Christmas break last season and Hrenak comes to the Huskies as one of the top goaltenders in the USHL. Both will compete for the starting position in goal. Junior, David Zevnik will back up Smith and Hrenak.
It is expected the SCSU coaching staff will rotate all three goaltenders and insert all 25 healthy players into the lineup vs the Cougars. Keep an eye on first-year players Blake Lizotte and Easton Brodzinski. Both were effective scorers in the USHL and will be counted on to help the offense this season. Sophomore forward Ryan Poehling is still just 18 years old but was selected in the first round by the Montreal Canadians of the NHL in the 2017 NHL entry draft. He’s played a lot of high level hockey since last season and his game will be much more polished and confident since last season. Keep an eye on the SCSU goaltenders as both Smith and Hrenak will be battling for the starting goaltender position to start the season.
The University of Regina already has four games under their belt so they will have an advantage in game situations. The Huskies will be going from their first formal practice of the season to this exhibition game on the same day. I anticipate the SCSU coaching staff will experiment with their lines and do a fair amount of rotating during the game.
The bottom line is this exhibition will give the team a break from skating against their teammates and allow them to compete against a real opponent. It’ll be a good preparation for a non-conference game with MSU-Mankato the following weekend.
Based on practice this week you may see the following forward lines vs Regina (in no particular order):
Winiecki – Lizotte – N Poehling
Jackson – R Poehling – Newell
Wahlin – Fitzgerald – Benson
J Poehling – Peteson – Brodzinski (Hammer)
(Eyssimont was not at practice today)