It’s difficult to put into words the 2015-16 St. Cloud State men’s hockey season. Many records were written into the books, league championships won, memories made, but it all came to a heartbreaking end at the first round of the NCAA tournament in a 5-4 OT loss to Ferris State. Going into the tournament as the second overall seed, no one could’ve predicted the outcome.
The 2016 senior class raised the bar of excellence for the SCSU hockey program on and off the ice. Leading the team to three championship titles this season and a fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance, the strong presence of these players was undeniable.
By the Numbers:
9 Freshman (Clark Kuster, Patrick Newell, Jon Lizotte, Jacob Benson, Mikey Eyssimont, Will Borgen, Jimmy Schuldt, Robby Jackson, David Zevnik)
5 Sophomores (Nathan Widman, Judd Peterson, Mika Ilvonen, Blake Winiecki, Patrick Russell)
5 Juniors (Ben Storm, Daniel Tedesco, Niklas Nevalainen, Ryan Papa, Charlie Lindgren)
7 Seniors (Joey Benik, Kalle Kossila, Ethan Prow, David Morley, Jimmy Murray, T.J. Belisle, Rasmus Reijola)
St. Cloud State played 41 games in the regular season
31-9-1 overall record; 17-6-1 conference record
SCSU tied for 2nd place in the NCHC with Denver at the end of the regular season, 53 points each
Average Goals Per Game – 4.27
Goals Against – 2.20
Power Play Percentage – 29.5
Penalty Kill Percentage – 83.1
Goals by Period: 1st Period – 45, 2nd Period – 67, 3rd Period – 62, OT-1
175 total goals in the 2015-16 season
Led the NCHC in Goals Scored – 175 and Total Points-489
41 Power Play Goals
7 Short handed goals scored
Highest number of goals scored in a game – 11, vs. Western Michigan 11/14/15
Highest number of shot attempts in a game – 55, vs. Colorado College 3/4/16
Highest number of saves in a game – 38, vs. Minnesota Duluth 1/16/16 (Lindgren)
Highest number of goals allowed in a game – 7, vs. Omaha 12/05/15
2nd overall NCAA team offense – 4.27 AVG/GM
11th overall NCAA team defense – 2.20 AVG/GM
2nd overall NCAA power play – 29.50 PCT
This year marked SCSU’s fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
The 2015-16 Huskies tied the program record for most wins in a season with 31 (the last team to reach this mark was in 2000-01)
Kendall Hockey Classic Tournament Champions
2016 North Star College Cup Champions
2016 NCHC Frozen Faceoff Champions
Individual Player Achievements:
SCSU goalie Charlie Lindgren 1st in NCHC Goalie Win Leaders with 30 wins.
He was 3rd in NCHC Goalie Save Percentage leaders with .925.
Lindgren was 5th overall in NCAA goaltender minutes played with 2342:58 in 40 games played.
Lindgren was named NCHC Goalie of the Year, as well as a top five finalist for the 2016 Mike Richter Award.
Charlie Lindgren now owns the SCSU team record for most goalie wins in a season (26).
Lindgren had 5 shutouts in the 2015-16 season.
Ethan Prow and Charlie Lindgren were both NCHC All-Conference First Team picks.
Prow was a top 10 finalist for the 2016 Hobey Baker Award, and named to the Senior CLASS Award First Team All-American list.
Prow was named NCHC Player of the Year, Defenseman of the Year, and the league’s Offensive Defensemen of the Year.
Prow set the program record for assists by a defenseman in a career (80).
Kalle Kossila is 1st in NCHC Player Assist Leaders with 40 assists this season, and is in 2nd for NCHC Player Point leaders with 54 points.
Kossila led the team with 54 points (14 goals, 40 assists). He owns the team record for most assists in a single season.
Kossila is 6th overall in NCAA Scoring leaders (54), and 2nd in assists (40).
Kalle Kossila and Joey Benik were named to the 2015-16 NCHC All-Conference Second Team.
Benik led the team in goals scored with 23.
Benik is tied for 4th in NCHC Player Point leaders with Denver’s Danton Heinen with 48 points, and is tied for 2nd for NCHC Player Goal Leaders.
Benik set a team record for most game winning goals in a season with seven.
David Morley, Benik, and Kossila all had over 100 career points at SCSU.
Morley was named MVP at the Kendall Hockey Classic.
SCSU’s Mikey Eyssimont was named to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff All-Tournament team, named the NCHC Frozen Faceoff MVP, and North Star Cup Tournament MVP.
Will Borgen and Jimmy Schuldt were named to the 2015-16 NCHC All-Rookie Team.
Borgen played for Team USA at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Finland in December and helped Team USA bring home a bronze medal.
2016 NCHC All-Academic Team: Joey Benik, Mika Ilvonen, Kalle Kossila, Charlie Lindgren, David Morley, Jimmy Murray, Niklas Nevalainen, Ryan Papa, Judd Peterson, Ethan Prow, Rasmus Reijola, Patrick Russell, Ben Storm, Daniel Tedesco, Nathan Widman, and Blake Winiecki
2016 NCHC Scholar Athlete Award: Mika Ilvonen, Kalle Kossila, Patrick Russell, and Nathan Widman
Moving on from SCSU:
Five of the St. Cloud seniors have signed pro contracts since the end of the season on March 26th.
Ethan Prow signed an entry-level deal with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
Joey Benik signed with the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL, affiliate team to the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
David Morley and Jimmy Murray get to remain teammates, both signing deals with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL.
Kalle Kossila signed a two-year deal with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.
Junior goaltender Charlie Lindgren decided to bypass his senior season for the chance to sign and play pro hockey. He signed a two-year, two-way deal with the Montreal Canadiens. Lindgren joined Montreal March 30th and was in uniform as the Habs backup the next day in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Lindgren made his NHL debut April 7th vs. the Carolina Hurricanes and got his first NHL win in the 4-2 game.
Per Lindgren’s Twitter account, reflecting on the evening, “Last night was the best night of my life. That was truly a dream coming true. Thanks to everyone who watched and supported me #1stNHLWin”
SCSU Hockey Will Live to Fight Another Day
For those who have played, those who have loved and lost in the sport know, hockey is more than just a game. It’s physical and mental preparation that cannot be measured. It’s a community of people connected by a common passion. It’s so much more than ever could be put into words.
This season, despite the outcome, will be one to remember. A senior class leaves behind a great legacy. A hockey team comprised of 26 young men became a family; it truly was a special group.
Stats found on NCHChockey.com, SCSUhuskies.com, and uscho.com