The St. Cloud State University Huskies (1-2-0) defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-1-0) 3-2 Saturday night at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
Sophomore Mikey Eyssimont proved to be the hero, scoring the game-winning goal late in the third period, capping off the Huskies second consecutive come-from-behind victory. With over 5,000 fans in attendance, home-ice advantage played a key role in this one-goal victory for the Huskies.
The Gophers jumped out to an early one-goal lead after Jack Ramsey netted his first goal of the season just two and a half minutes into the game. After controlling the puck in the Huskies zone, Darian Ramanko passed the puck from the sideboards over to Ramsey in the high slot for a quick one timer.
The Huskies were able to regain some momentum throughout the rest of the first period; however, that momentum was shut down late in the period after a power-play goal from Minnesota’s Taylor Cammarata. Just seconds after getting a goal called back due to goalie interference, the Gophers were able to control the puck in the Huskies zone as Cammarata walked in and fired a snap shot from the top of the circle, beating Husky goaltender, Zach Driscoll, near-side with just 1:01 remaining in the period.
With the second period came a lot of action right from the start, as both teams had breakaway opportunities within the first three minutes. Minnesota goaltender, Eric Shierhorn, made a phenomenal, sprawling glove save as Huskies forward Eyssimont made a quick move to his backhand. On the other side, Gopher forward Vinni Lettieri fired a snap shot from the top of the circle that went past Driscoll, but hit the crossbar.
The Gophers maintained control throughout most of the second period, despite being on the penalty kill for four minutes. Late in the period, the Huskies started finding their stride, as they were finally able to crack Shierhorn and score a pair of goals in the closing minutes of the period, tying the game at 2 goals a piece, and recapturing all of the momentum heading into the third period.
The Huskies first goal came from freshman Jack Poehling, who picked up a loose puck at the top of the circle and beat Shierhorn with a low, far-side shot, giving him his first goal of his collegiate career with 5:20 left to play in the second period. Linemates Ryan Papa as well as Jack’s brother, Ryan Poehling, were credited with assists on the play. Just 67 seconds later, the Huskies struck again, with an eerily similar goal from Jacob Benson. Husky forward Daniel Tedesco carried the puck through the neutral zone and crossed the blue line before finding Benson at the top of the circle, who beat Shierhorn low-blocker side, once again.
After a slow start to the third period, action started to pick back up at the midway point, as the Huskies were able to keep the puck in the Gopher end for the majority of the period. After a minute and a half of 4-on-4 play, the Huskies went on the power play for a short period of time before forward Eyssimont netted his second goal of the season. Eyssimont picked up the puck after exiting the penalty box and rifled a shot that hit the crossbar. Seconds later, he received a pass from Dennis Chalowski near the goal line and skated the puck near the faceoff dot and was able to blast a shot past Schierhorn off the post and into the back of the net. The goal ultimately ended up being the game-winner, as the Huskies were able to hold off late efforts from the Gophers, giving them their first home win of the regular season, and their second in a row.
The Huskies have not lost to the Gophers at home since Feb. 8, 2013. With the win, the Huskies should expect to improve in the national rankings.
The Huskies look to continue their winning streak next weekend as they face the University of Alabama-Huntsville next Friday and Saturday at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
Photos by Maddie MacFarlane