St. Cloud, MN – Fans of St. Cloud State University Hockey have been treated to a lot of success the last several seasons at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. Not so in the early going this season as the Huskies have now lost 4 of 6 games after the Colorado College Tigers completed a weekend sweep with a 5-2 win on Saturday, November 16. They fell behind early and never closed the lead to closer than two goals while being swept for the first time at home by the Tigers in close to a decade. Despite cleaning up their act on the penalty kill, defensive play continued to be sketchy at best as they fell to 0-2-0 in conference play.
Much like Friday, they were victimized in the first period by one of the NCHC’s most dynamic players, Nick Halloran at 17:14 of the period. Halloran carried the puck from blue line to blue line and then torched SCSU first-year defenseman Ondrej Trejbal with a spin-o-rama before backhanding the puck stick side top shelf past David Hrenak for a 1-0 lead. The period ended with a five-minute spearing penalty to the Tiger’s Josiah Slavin offset by a two-minute penalty for slashing to SCSU captain Jack Ahcan. Colorado College outshot the Huskies 13-8 in period one.
It didn’t take the Tigers long to tack on another goal early in period two as Yale graduate transfer Andrew Gaus scored his second goal of the season at 1:30. The play started with Alex Berardinelli placing a soft shot on goal through traffic that was stopped by Hrenak but the rebound ended up on the stick of Gaus who slid a weak shot under Hrenak for a 2-0 lead. The Tigers added to their lead at 6:49 on a heady play by Ben Copeland. Copeland slid a pass from the side wall across ice to Brady Smith who was parked in the right circle and he snapped off a wrist shot that beat Hrenak for a 3-0 lead. That spelled the end of the night for Hrenak who was replaced by Joey Lamoreaux. The Huskies finally got on the board midway through the period on a nice effort by Easton Brodzinski with CC’s Sam Renlund in the box for holding the stick. Brodzinski battled hard for the puck high in the slot in traffic and did a spin move wristing a low shot that beat Vernon short-side to narrow the lead to 3-1. But, it was short-lived as Kristin Blumenschein scored at 15:09 just as a penalty to Huskies for too many men expired. Blumenschein launched a shot from the left circle that deflected past Joey Lamoreaux for a 4-1 lead. SCSU outshot the Tigers 12-10 in period two and had a five-minute major to Chris Wilkie for cross-checking carry over to the start of period three.
With a 2:56 man-advantage to work with to start the third period, the Huskies converted at 2:21 on a goal by Chase Brand, his second of the year. Brand carried the puck from below the goal line and beat Vernon with a wrist shot short-side to again narrow the lead to two goals at 4-2. But, the Huskies lack of discipline caught up with them again as Brand was penalized with a five-minute major for a check from behind at 4:18 and then Ahcan at 9:09 for elbowing. The penalties obviously ate up valuable time as the Huskies were on the penalty kill. Once back at even strength, the Huskies did their best to get shots on Vernon and attempted 21 shots in the period with 12 hitting its mark. In a last ditch effort to get back into the game they pulled Lamoreaux with 2:49 to play but were unable to beat Vernon and ultimately yielded an empty net goal to Christiano Versich, his third of the weekend. Versich launched a shot from inside his blue line that found the net for the 5-2 final.
Colorado College outshot SCSU 32 to 29. David Hrenak stopped 13 of 16 shots while replacement Joey Lamoreaux stopped 14 of 15. Matt Vernon who earned victories both games turned aside 27 of 29 shots on goal.
The Huskies had the advantage on special teams killing all four Tiger power plays while the Huskies had success on two of five. The Huskies also had success in the faceoff circle winning 40 while losing 25.
The Huskies record falls to 2-4-4 overall and 0-2-0 in the NCHC while CC’s record improves to 4-3-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the NCHC. The Huskies travel to North Dakota for another conference series next weekend.
Stars of the Game: #1 Blumenschein (CC) #2 Copeland (CC) #3 Halloran (CC)