The St. Cloud State men’s hockey team (9-3-0, 5-1-0 NCHC) defeated no. 4 University of North Dakota in decisive fashion Saturday night at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center after a heartbreaking 3-4 loss the night before.
With 5:49 remaining in the first period, it was St. Cloud State freshman Patrick Newell who broke open the scoring for the Huskies, boosting their momentum for a moment after having just two shots on goal leading up to the goal. As the North Dakota defender laid down in an attempt to block a saucer pass from Newell to David Morley, the puck deflected off his skate and snuck past the near side leg pad of goaltender Matt Hrynkiw.
After a battle of momentum continuing into the start of the second period, a fast-break opportunity gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead with a goal from junior Daniel Tedesco following a beautiful display of passing from teammates Nathan Widman and Patrick Russell. Russell dropped the puck to Widman at the top of the circle of the right side and Widman then found Tedesco cutting in back door who made an excellent move to the backhand to find the back of the net.
Moments later, with 11:14 remaining in the second period, it was senior Morley scoring again for the Huskies, this time coming off a defelction in front of the net with assists credited to freshman Jon Lizotte and senior Joey Benik. This gave the Huskies a 3-0 lead midway through the second period, causing North Dakota to place Cam Johnson in net for Hrynkiw.
The Huskies would come close to scoring again soon after their third goal, hitting the post twice before North Dakota junior Troy Stecher was able put the Hawks on the scoreboard with 5:39 remaining in the period. North Dakota’s Brock Boeser was carrying the puck into the offensive zone as he hit Stecher who was trailing entering the zone, Stecher then carried the puck into the high slot before beating St. Cloud State goaltender Charlie Lindgren on a low, glove-side shot.
Nearly two minutes later, the Huskies answered right back with a power-play-goal from defenseman Niklas Nevalainen on a shot taken from from the slot following a backhand pass from teammate Blake Winiecki from the goal line. The puck found it’s way through traffic as it bumped off the North Dakota defender before sneaking through the five hole of Johnson to give St. Cloud a 4-1 lead going into the third period.
After a slow third period, a North Dakota power play in the final six minutes of the game gave the Hawks a chance, however they were unable to convert before giving St. Cloud State a power play of their own. St. Cloud, on the other hand, was able to capitalize. Huskies captain Ethan Prow scored a power play goal with just over three minutes remaining in the game, moments later, St. Cloud State’s Jacob Benson tallied his first collegiate goal off of an assist from Jimmy Murray, sealing a 5 goal victory for the Huskies.
Lindgren played huge for St. Cloud State, stopping all but one of the Hawks’ 24 shots on goal after letting in four Friday night. North Dakota’s goaltenders finished with a combined 14 saves on 19 shots for the Huskies.
With this win, the Huskies will join North Dakota at the top spot in the NCHC standings with 15 points each. The Huskies will travel to Marriuchi Arena next weekend as they face the University of Minnesota in a two-game weekend series. The Huskies are now 5-1 at home this season.