Huskies to Host Boston College in St. Cloud this Weekend

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#2/3 St. Cloud State University Huskies (3-0-0 | 0-0-0 NCHC) vs #13/15 Boston College (1-1-1 | 1-0-0 Hockey East)

TV: Fri: SCSU Sports Network (Charter 426|823) Sat: Fox Sports North | Fox College Sports

Live Stats: SCSU Athletics

Video: NCHC.TV($)

Radio: 96.7 FM The River | KVSC 88.1 FM 

Tickets: SCSU Athletics

Where: Herb Brooks National Hockey Center – St. Cloud, MN

When: Friday, October 20 – 7:37 P CT | Saturday, October 21 – 7:07 PM CT

Last Time Out:

Boston College faced off against the Big Ten’s Wisconsin on Friday, October 13th and lost 5-2. Tied 1-1 after one period, Wisconsin rattled off three straight goals for a 4-1 lead from which the Eagles could not recover. Joseph Woll stopped 17 of 21 shots on goal in the loss. On Sunday, October 15th, Boston College defeated Providence 4-3 in overtime. Despite being outshot and falling behind by a 3-0 score, the Eagles got their act together and scored four straight goals including the overtime winner by Casey Fitzgerald. Joseph Woll stopped 31 of 34 SOG in earning the win.

The Huskies played a very entertaining non-conference weekend series with the Alaska Nanooks of the WCHA.  The SCSU Huskies overcame a dismal start to Friday’s game falling behind 3-0 vs the visiting Alaska Nanooks  to score six consecutive goals and earn a 6-3 win at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. Junior captain and defenseman Jimmy Schuldt once again provided the offensive spark with two power play goals and sophomore forward Nick Poehling added two of his own in the impressive comeback for the Huskies. Jeff Smith stopped 22 of 25 shots on goal overcoming an early shaky start by the Huskies for his second win of the season. The Huskies had a number of players with multiple points including Jimmy Schuldt (2-1-3), Robby Jackson ( 1-2-3), Jack Ahcan (0-2-2), Ryan Poehling (0-2-2), Judd Peterson (0-2-2) and Nick Poehling (2-0-2).

In the Saturday rematch, the lead changed four times before the Huskies nailed down a 5-4 overtime win on a Nick Poehling goal at 2:06 of the extra session. To top things off, the goal was assisted by twin brother Jack Poehling for a fitting end to this non-conference weekend.  And, younger brother Ryan, scored the game tying goal late in the third period to place them into the position to earn the OT game winner. First-year goaltender David Hrenak registered his first win as a Husky stopping 22 of 26 shots on goal. Mikey Eyssimont (0-2-2), Robby Jackson (1-1-2) and Jimmy Schuldt (1-1-2) all had multiple points in the game for SCSU.

Last Time They Met:
The two teams have had limited contact in the Division One era. They last met on December 29, 2004 in the Florida College Classic in Estero, Florida. Boston College earned a 2-1 two-overtime win in that contest.

Scouting the Boston College Eagles: 

Despite tying for first in the tough Hockey East conference, the Eagles did not qualify for the NCAA tournament in 2016-17. Following the season, they were hit hard by graduation losing five top scoring players and a sophomore departure accounting for a loss of 68 goals and 179 points. Key losses included their top five scorers including Ryan Fitzgerald, Austin Cangelosi, Matthew Gaudreau, Colin White and Scott Savage. However, Jerry York and his coaching staff always seem to rebound and they’ve done a nice job rebuilding his team for 2017-18. It all starts in goal with returning sophomore Joseph Woll considered one of the top goaltenders in college hockey. As a freshman, Woll started 34 games compiling a 2.64 GAA and .913 SV%.

Leading returning forward Chris Brown (9-17-26), a Buffalo Sabres draft pick and power forward and sophomore David Cotton (10-14-24) will be counted on heavily to provide offensive leadership this season. At defense, Casey Fitzgerald and two-way defenseman Michael Kim will lead the defensive unit. The offense should also be solidified by top-flight newcomers Jacob Tortora, Casey Carreau and Logan Hutsko. Tortora had 61 points for the USA Team Development program in 2016-17.

Scouting the SCSU Huskies: 

Experience, depth and improved goaltending should lead the Huskies to success in 2017-18. The Huskies were picked to finish 2nd in the tough NCHC conference in the preseason coaches poll. In particular, the junior class consisting of eight returning players will be expected to carry a heavy load both on offense and defense.

With a great deal of depth and experience at defense this will be a position of strength for the Huskies and one of the top units in college hockey. Led by junior and captain, Jimmy Schuldt, a preseason NCHC All-Conference team pick, the Huskies will have an impressive top four unit averaging close to 33 games last season. This unit also contributed well to the offense adding 19 goals and 43 assists for 62 points last season. Sophomore Jack Ahcan was named to the All-NCHC Rookie team and led the defense with 5 goals and 16 assists for 21 points. The unit is rounded out by junior Will Borgen, a Buffalo Sabres draft pick (2-10-12) and junior Jon Lizotte(4-6-10) who continues to play at a high level. Veteran players Clark Kuster and Mika Ilvonen both took a red-shirt year in 2016-17 but look to insert themselves into the lineup this season.The unit will also be pushed by newcomers, Tyler Anderson (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and  Lucas Jaycox (Warroad, MN). Both of these players should see time in the defensive rotation this season.

There is a lot of excitement at forward with the return of six upper classmen (4 juniors | 2 seniors) to provide leadership and experience to this squad. Seniors Judd Peterson and Blake Winiecki are proven goal scorers and 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.

An intriguing group of junior hockey veterans and rookies round out the group of forwards.  Easton Brodzinski (Blaine, MN) carries on the legacy of the Brodzinski family at SCSU following in the footsteps of his father Mike who was a prolific scorer for the Huskies from 1984 to 1987 compiling 146 points and brother Jonny, who netted 64 goals and added 48 assists for 112 points in just three seasons from 2012 to 2015. Blake Lizotte (Chisago Lakes, MN) was one of the top offensive stars in the USHL last season  finishing second in the USHL in scoring with 65 points (19G, 46A) and in 56 games. His 46 assists also ranked second in the league, and he was fifth among all players with an average of 1.16 points/game. The Huskies have bolstered their depth at forward with the addition of veteran NAHL forward Kevin FitzgeraldThe 6′ 180 pound left-shooting forward from Hinsdale, IL most recently played for the Aberdeen Wings of the North American Junior Hockey League. Fitzgerald led the Wings in scoring with 22 goals and 37 assists for 59 points in 60 games. SCSU added a big body and seasoned junior hockey player in St. Cloud native Will Hammer.The St. Cloud Cathedral graduate put in three years and 169 games in the NAHL between the Aberdeen Wings and Minnesota Magicians prior to committing to the Huskies. The 20-year-old should assume his role as a big, strong forward that can help the Huskies offense and should immediately see some ice time for the Huskies in 2017-18.

There’s been a shake-up in the goaltender position since last season. 2016-17 part-time starter Zach Driscoll has opted to return to junior hockey for another season leaving juniors Jeff Smith and David Zevnik and newcomer David Hrenak to battle for playing time. With a year under his belt and nearly 1500 minutes of playing time in 2016-17 Jeff Smith should have the inside track as the #1 goaltender to start the season. His final numbers in 2016-17 included a 10-13-0 record, 2.77 GAA and .905 SV%. Numbers that will need to be improved upon if the Huskies are to have success this season. The Huskies solidified their goaltending position with the addition of David Hrenak, a 19 year-old from Povazska, Bystrica, Solvakia. Hrenak was a teammate of fellow recruit, Easton Brodzinski with the  Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL).  In 33 games he was 15-14-1 with a 2.24 GAA and .923 SV% including four shutouts. He should provide strong competition to Smith at the goaltender position. David Zevnik will remain the third goaltender and provide added depth to the position.

Game Prospectus:

This will be one of the marquee games in the world of college hockey this weekend. A true traditional hockey power, this will be a great opportunity for the St. Cloud fans to see a non-conference opponent they rarely see outside of NCAA play. Both teams are similar with their style of play and you’ll see a lot of north/south hockey and outstanding speed possessed by both teams. The key for the Huskies is to be able to solve Boston College’s top goaltender, Joseph Woll. Coach Motzko is very familiar with this goaltender as Woll was a member of the Motzko coached World Junior team in 2017.

The Huskies Jimmy Schuldt has had a torrid start to the season. Currently he’s tied for fourth in the country in points (4-3-7) and tied for first in power play goals. Robby Jackson has also had a solid start to the season with 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points. Junior Jeff Smith has had a good start to the season with a 1.50 GAA and .955 SV%.

The Huskies team offense is currently ranked 2nd in the country scoring an average of 5 goals per game while the defense is 22nd allowing 2.33 goals per game. The Eagles have had their difficulties on offense thus far ranked 38th in offense at 2.33 while the defense is 32nd allowing 3.00 goals per game. However, don’t let these numbers fool you. It is early and the Eagles will get their offense back on track. Both teams are converting in excess of 25% of their power play opportunities.

There are may ways to stay connected to Husky Hockey. The following are some suggested connections:

CenterIceView Web Site: www.centericeview.com

CenterIceView Twitter : @centericeclub

SCSU Men’s Hockey Twitter: @SCSUHUSKIES_MH

St. Cloud Times Hockey Reporter Mick Hatten Twitter: @MickHatten

SCSU Athletics Twitter: @SCSUHUSKIES

Husky Productions Twitter: @hphky

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