St. Cloud, MN – After a frustrating loss to Hockey East’s Northeastern Huskies on Friday, SCSU needed a much better effort Saturday, October 26 to salvage a split and nail down their first win of the season. Maybe it was the unveiling of the Herb Brooks statue in the plaza outside the building in a pre-game ceremony that willed this team to a successful evening on the ice. Whatever it was, this was the polar opposite of the team that hit the ice on Friday. Dominating the NU Huskies in the first period, they set the tone with a gritty, blue collar effort that lasted the bulk of the sixty minutes and earned SCSU a hard-earned bounce-back 2-1 win in the rematch of this non-conference series.
The resolve of the SCSU Huskies was evident from the drop of the puck and throughout a period in which their opponent was unable to get a shot on goal until the 10:46 mark of the first period. In addition to keeping their feet moving SCSU also threw a lot of rubber at NU’s Pantano who was credited with the win on Friday. Helped by two power play opportunities in the period, SCSU attempted 19 shots on goal with seven of them off the sticks of Jack Ahcan and Nick Perbix from the blue line. However, Pantano turned them all aside and in a period dominated by the Huskies it was Northeastern that got on the board first. With the Huskies penalized for too many men on the ice at 15:37 NU’s Tyler Madden netted his third goal of the weekend on the man-advantage at 17:11. He did a spin move in the left circle and fired a shot from the dot that may have deflected off SCSU defenseman, Luke Jaycox and past Hrenak for a 1-0 NU lead. SCSU outshot Northeastern 11 to 6 in the period yet found themselves down by a goal.
Period two was SCSU’s best period of the evening outshooting Northeastern 15 to 4 and placing shots on Pantano from nearly every conceivable angle in the NU zone. They finally beat Pantano 4:59 into the period on a goal by Jack Poehling ( Hentges | Brodzinski) his first of the year. On an strong play by Sam Hentges, who rivaled Tyler Madden for player of the weekend, he fended off two Northeastern defenders on the back wall and made a backhand pass to Poehling in the slot who beat Pantano with a quick wrist shot to tie the game at 1-1. SCSU added another at 8:37 by Hentges (Brand| Brodzinski) who played a role in every St. Cloud goal over the weekend. Brand captured a puck that deflected off the skate of NU’s Jayden Struble and backhanded the puck back to Hentges who one-timed it past Pantano from the left slot for a 2-1 SCSU lead. A flurry of penalties in the last eight minutes of the period had SCSU on the power play twice and NU once but nether team was able to convert.
Northeastern came out in the third period and made a strong push in the first five minutes of play and attempted 24 shots in the period but between continued strong play by Hrenak and 10 blocked shots by the SCSU defense were able to maintain the one goal lead. NU pulled Pantano for an extra attacker with a minute to play and had several shots on goal but Hrenak held firm in earning his first win of the season. Northeastern outshot SCSU 8-7 in the period.
For the game, SCSU outshot Northeastern 33-18 with Hrenak stopping 17 of 18 shots on goal and Pantano turning aside 31 of 33 shots. Northeastern converted one of three power play opportunities while SCSU was unsuccessful in four attempts. SCSU was outdueled in the faceoff circle 29 to 24. Easton Brodzinski (0-2-2) and Sam Hentges (1-1-2) both had a multi-point game for SCSU.
“We really got the response we were looking for against a really good team” said coach Brett Larson. “Tonight you could tell they wanted the puck and that’s the first time we outshot a team this year and it’s a step in the right direction.”
On David Hrenak’s play Larson commented ” You saw the pushes they made and when they made those pushes David Hrenak was really good.”
“I loved the fourth line out there tonight.” said Larson . “I really trusted them. The gave us momentum and energy. I thought the fourth line gave us some shifts and energy when we needed it.”
Sam Hentges, who had a two-point game said ” (After last night) the coach got on us rightfully so. We didn’t play that well last night. I think the guys responded great.”
In the other locker room, Northeastern coach Jim Madigan commented “We didn’t have the start we needed. We knew St. Cloud was going to come out hard tonight. We didn’t answer the bell and didn’t respond from the start. (After the first goal) We played inconsistent throughout the rest of the game. Tonight, St. Cloud was better than us plain and simple. They are a good hockey club and we have to learn that you have to bring it every night.”
Stars of the Game: #1 Sam Hentges (SCSU) #2 Easton Brodzinski (SCSU) #3 Jack Poehling (SCSU)