It was a tightly contested season opener for the St. Cloud IceBreakers that ended in disappointing fashion. Last Thursday, the IceBreakers dropped their opening game of the season, on home ice, 5-4 to the Hutchinson Tigers.
The IceBreakers got off to a hot start early on with a goal by Taylor Holm just under five minutes into the game, but after that, things went downhill quickly. A five minute major penalty to Holm in the first period lead to two Maddie Seifert goals for Hutchinson, and then less than two minutes into the second, she completed the natural hat-trick. By the end of the second, the IceBreakers found themselves down 5-2 and with little hope.
It was in the final moments of the third period though, that the IceBreakers had a glimpse of hope at how special this team could be if they put everything all together. Sophomore Katherine Bell and senior Taylor Mathiasen scored two goals just a minute and 48 seconds apart to draw the IceBreakers within one. A late flurry of opportunities with the goalie pulled proved to be too little too late for St. Cloud.
Thankfully for the IceBreakers and head coach Marc Chamernick, there’s still 24 more games to go and plenty of positives to take away from their season opening loss.
Coming off of an 11-14 season and a 5-0 loss in the first round of the section 8AA playoffs in 2018-19, the IceBreakers find themselves with an abundance of talented underclassmen to compliment their strong group of seniors.
Leading the way up front for St. Cloud is the talented Gabbie Rud, who entered this season with 158 career regular season points already. She already tacked on three assists in the first game. Rud is committed to attend Division 1 powerhouse, Cornell, after her senior year. Rud will be flanked by fellow senior Taylor Mathiasen who is coming off of a 15 point season (6 goals, 9 assists) and talented sophomore Katherine Bell. Bell had a tremendous second season for the IceBreakers as a freshman in high school with double digit goals and assists to total 24 points.
The IceBreakers second forward group is full of promising youth that could prove to be the true difference makers for this team. The all-second year line features Holm down the middle with speedsters Ava Schmidt and Cailey Davidson on her wings. The line combined for 27 points a year ago and will be tasked with taking a large step forward this year to bring St. Cloud to the next level.
On the back end, St. Cloud will need their younger blue-liners to continue to take more steps forward. The group is led by a first pairing of Jordann Swingle and Dorothy Benson. Both girls played large rolls for the IceBreakers last year and will be asked to play heavy minutes this season. Swingle was excellent for the IceBreakers last season, especially on the power play where she recorded 8 of her 20 points. The rest of the defense corps will be comprised of numerous younger girls competing for minutes.
Patrolling the crease for the IceBreakers will once again be senior Ashlea Arvidson. Arvidson started all 25 games for St. Cloud last season and posted a respectable 2.91 goals against average and an .898 save percentage. She will be backed up by Kailee Falconer who saw very limited action last season. Arvidson struggled in the opener allowing 5 goals on 34 shots, however her defense struggled in front of her and gave up several rushes for Hutchinson.
The IceBreakers will look to get into the win column on Friday when they take on rival Sartell-Sauk Rapids at the Bernicks Pepsi Arena with puck drop set for 7:15 p.m.