The Huskies take the first three games in the Omaha pod. Photo credit: Mark Kuhlmann
St. Cloud State Vs. Denver
The SCSU Huskies defeated the fourth-ranked University of Denver Pioneers 4-3 on Dec. 5 in the Huskies’ second game of the NCHC pod in Omaha, Neb..
The game got off to a fast start with SCSU’s Sam Hentges scoring, with his first goal of the season, 33 seconds into regulation. The goal was Hentges’ first in 15 games and was assisted by Zach Okabe and Kevin Fitzgerald.
“It felt good to get that monkey off my back,” said Hentges.
After a cross-checking penalty by Sam Hentges, Denver would capitalize on the ensuing powerplay as Carter Savoie scored his fourth goal in three games.
Near the end of the first period Micah Miller took a tripping penalty that carried over into the second period. Denver’s Cole Guttman added their second powerplay goal, 58 seconds into the second period of the game, making it 2-1 Pioneers.
Kevin Fitzgerald then scored his second goal of the season at 4:23 of the second assisted by Ondrej Trejbal and Sam Hentges. Three minutes later senior captain, Spencer Meier scored his first goal of the season, and transfer Seamus Donahue tallied his first point in a Huskies uniform by assisting Meier, Okabe also recorded his second assist of the game.
With the Huskies leading 3-2 halfway through the third, Easton Brodzinski made an incredible pass to a wide-open Nolan Walker out front of the net who then scored his first goal of the young season making it 4-2. Brady Ziemer also added an assist, his first point in an SCSU sweater.
At 15:06 of the third period, Denver’s Brett Stapley found the back of the net, making the score 4-3. Where it would remain as the Huskies held on to win bringing them to 2-0 on the season.
Denver outshot the Huskies 33-28 and were 2/8 on powerplays, while the Huskies were 0/3.
The winning goaltender was senior David Hrenak who picked up his second win of the season and made 30 saves in the victory.
Omaha Vs. St. Cloud State
The SCSU Huskies defeated the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 5-3 in Omaha on Dec. 6 in the Huskies’ third game of the NCHC pod and second game in as many nights.
The Huskies wouldn’t get on the board first, for the first time in the pod as Omaha’s Matt Miller beat SCSU’s Jaxon Castor at 4:53 of the first making it 1-0 Mavericks.
A few shifts later SCSU’s Finnish freshman, Veeti Miettinen, scored his first goal as a Husky at 6:39 of the first to make it 1-1, the goal was unassisted.
Moments later Omaha would add their second goal of the game as Brock Bremer would take the pass off a give and go and netted the Mavericks second goal of the game to make it 2-1.
It would stay 2-1 until midway through the second when the third line for St. Cloud, Miettinen-Kranilla-Brodzinski, would have the best shift of the night. At 9:00 of the second, Easton Brodzinski tallied his first goal of the season and tied up the game at 2-2. The goal was assisted by line mate, and Finn, Jami Kranilla.
A minute later Kranilla would add a goal of his own, his first of the season making it 3-2 Huskies midway through the second. The goal was assisted by Brendan Bushy and fellow Finlander Veeti Miettinen.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve played with another [Finlander] … it’s awesome we have great chemistry and it’s almost like we read each other’s minds,” said Kranilla.
The lead, however, would be short-lived as a minute and a half later Omaha scored their third goal of the game on a scrum in front of the net that may have been goalie interference, however after an official review, the goal stood and was credited to Taylor Ward making it 3-3.
At 18:45 of the second period, freshman defenseman Brady Ziemer scored his first goal of the season and his first collegiate goal, breaking the tie and making it 4-3 Huskies. The goal was assisted by Veeti Miettinen, giving him three points on the game, and six total for his line. Alternate captain Luke Jaycox also had an assist, his first point of the season.
“The way our team is built any line is our top line on any given night, but I love the chemistry between [Easton] Brodzy and the Finns [Jami Kranilla and Veeti Miettinen],” Brett Larson, the Huskies Head Coach, said.
SCSU was not done there either, at 14:59 of the third Colgate transfer Jared Cockrell scored a circus-like goal to make it 5-3 Huskies and would ultimately conclude the scoring for the game. The goal was Cockrell’s first for SCSU and was assisted by Kyler Kupka.
The Huskies outshot Omaha 35-27 and were 0-2 on the powerplay.
Jaxon Castor started his first game of the season and made 24 saves en route to his second career collegiate win.
The Huskies will continue their season from the pod in Omaha on Dec. 9 at 3:35 p.m. against the Western Michigan Broncos, for the second time this season.