The #7 St. Cloud State Huskies (12-3-0, 6-1-0 NCHC) defeated the #6 Omaha Mavericks (11-4-0, 3-3-1 NCHC) 4-1 Friday night in a battle of momentum throughout the game.
With the win, the Huskies remain tied at the top of the NCHC with North Dakota.
Robby Jackson had a big night for the Huskies, tallying two goals, including one late in the third period to seal a three-goal victory for St. Cloud State.
St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko feels good about Jackson starting to find his role with the team. “His talent is undeniable…he’s gotta stay consistent,” said Motzko.
After nearly 15 minutes of scoreless play, Jackson notched the first goal of the game, beating Omaha goaltender Kirk Thompson with a high, glove side shot assisted by Kalle Kossila. Omaha turned the puck over while trying to breakout of their zone, giving up a quick 2-on-1 where Jackson elected to shoot after the Omaha defender playing to block the pass, giving the freshman his fourth goal of the season and a one-goal lead for the Huskies.
St. Cloud State carried its momentum into the second period, capitalizing just 44 seconds in on a goal from sophomore Judd Peterson after a tic-tac-toe play, giving the Huskies a two-goal lead. After catching a drop pass from senior Jimmy Murray, Peterson tapped the puck over to teammate Daniel Tedesco who gave a one-touch pass back to Peterson for the goal.
Peterson was injured late in the second period after taking a hit into the boards by the goal line. He is expected to be out until after Christmas break. Peterson leads the Huskies with 10 goals this season.
St. Cloud State struggled on the power play, going 0-3 and allowing a shorthanded goal after scoring six power play goals in their sweep against the University of Minnesota last week.
Later in the second period, just 11 seconds into a Huskies power play, Omaha captain and NCHC point leader, Jake Guentzel, buried a shorthanded goal on a near breakaway, edging out the St. Cloud State defender on the right side of the ice and beating Lindgren on a shot glove-side for the goal following a pass from teammate Justin Parizek.
Coach Motzko admitted to making a lot of sloppy passes throughout the game, but paid credit to his goaltender and defensemen for the win.
Both goaltenders made some very acrobatic saves, including a phenomenal sliding stop by Huskies goaltender Charlie Lindgren on a 2-on-1 in the second period to maintain a one-goal lead. Lindgren is ranked first in the NCHC in save percentage, followed closely by Omaha freshman Evan Weninger, whom did not play in Friday night’s game. Weninger was voted the NCHC’s rookie of the month in November.
“Charlie Lindgren gave us a chance to stay in that game…our defensemen tonight were really solid,” said Motzko.
After a back and forth second period, a breakaway goal from Murray with just over three minutes remaining in the second period gave the Huskies a two-goal lead heading into the third period. Murray caught a pass from captain Ethan Prow at the blue line and skated in all alone, making a quick move to his backhand and beating Thompson low on the glove side.
The Huskies would go on to tack on one more goal late in a relatively uneventful third period, giving them a decisive 4-1 victory over the Mavericks.
This was the first of four match-ups between the two teams. The Huskies will face Omaha, again, Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.