St. Cloud, MN – Season opening exhibition games are generally meant to shake off the rust and do a little experimenting with the lineup. Facing a team that was already into it’s 10th game of the season, the Huskies scored four power play goals – two by junior Easton Brodzinski and dispatched the University of Alberta Golden Bears by a 4-2 score at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
The Golden Bears from Edmonton, ALB started their long road trip with a solid 5-3 win over the defending national champ UMD Bulldogs on Saturday, October 5th. However, they didn’t have the legs nor the discipline to stay with the Huskies on Saturday. With ten first-year players in the Huskies lineup, this was the type of game to have your veteran players lead the way and that they did with captain and senior Jack Ahcan scoring the first goal and junior Easton Brodzinski scoring the next two.
Ahcan got the Huskies on the board first off a nice individual unassisted effort at 13:55. Ahcan collected the puck at center ice and raced into the Alberta zone uncontested and let loose a strong wrist shot from the top of the left circle that beat Matt Berlin glove side. It appeared as though the Huskies would get out of the first period with a one goal advantage but Alberta knotted the contest with 35 seconds left in the period on a goal by Lucas Nickles who had a four point night against the Bulldogs. Jared Freadrich placed the puck on goal from the top of the left circle and Nickles won the battle for the rebound and punched it past Joey Lamoreaux to knot the game at 1-1. The Huskies outshot Alberta 16-6 in period one.
Alberta gained a one -goal advantage at 3:54 of period two on a goal by Tyler Soy. Soy beat Lamoreaux glove-side with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle for a 2-1 Alberta lead. Undisciplined play by the Golden Bears led to a flurry of penalties and the Huskies capitalized. Concurrent penalties at 14:26 gave the Huskies a 5 on 3 and they cashed in 48 seconds later on Brodzinski’s (Ahcan | Meier) first goal of the evening. Ahcan found Brodzinski all alone in the high slot and he beat Berlin with a quick one-timer to tie the contest at 2-2. Alberta’s Steve Owre was whistled for slashing at 19:07 and again the Huskies capitalized quickly and one second before the horn sounded to end period two. Sam Hentges carried the puck from the left side wall and pitched the puck towards the goal from the top of the slot and Brodzinski tipped it and it leaked past Berlin for a 3-2 SCSU advantage. Once again the Huskies outshot the Golden Bears 13-8.
Period three began as the second ended with more penalties on the Golden Bears placing them on the defensive once again. An interference call on Noah Philp just expired as Braydyn Chizon was whistled for cross-checking at 4:09. This time it was two first-year players combining for the final goal of the game. On a nice three-way play, Nick Perbix connected with Zach Okabe at center ice and he drove the zone and dropped a pass to Jami Krannila who beat Berlin with a strong wrist shot from the high slot and a 4-2 final. SCSU had a 11-5 shot advantage in period three.
The Huskies outshot Alberta 40-19 in a game with a huge penalty differential. Alberta had 9 penalties for 18 minutes while the Huskies had 3 for 6 minutes. Matt Berlin stopped 36 of 40 shots on goal while the Huskies tandem of Joey Lamoreaux and Jaxon Castor turned aside 17 of 19 shots. The Huskies were 4 for 9 on the power play (.444) while the Golden Bears were scoreless in three power play opportunities.
SCSU had two players with a multi-point game with Easton Brodzinski (2-0-2) and Jack Ahcan (1-2-3).
Said coach Larson “We are no where near where we have to be. We showed flashes of how good we can be. It’s going to take a lot of work and we’ve got a ways to go.” On Brodzinski’s play tonight he commented ” In addition to the goals I thought Easton was playing the right way . He was making smart decisions.”
Easton Brodzinski felt good about the game. “We played really well” he said. “It was a good game all around by everyone. We knew if we got the penalties we needed we knew we could capitalize. We worked on our power play all week and felt good about it.”
Stars of the Game: #1 Brodzinski (SCSU) #2 Ahcan (SCSU) #3 Krannila (SCSU)