Call this a notebook clearing of odds and ends:
LINDGREN’S COLLEGE DEBUT, HOW HE FARED VS. FORMER TEAMMATE
Charlie Lindgren made his college debut Saturday for St. Cloud State in the 2-2 tie with Bemidji State at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. Lindgren was last season’s USA junior goalie of the year when he played for Sioux Falls in the United States Hockey League.
Lindgren stopped 19 of 21 shots. The goals he gave up were a shot from the blue line that went off forward Phil Brewer’s knee and a breakaway goal by Nate Arentz, which gave the Beavers a 2-0 lead.
“I felt really good,” Lindgren said. “This was a moment I had been waiting for for a long time. I grew up watching St. Cloud and to be able to come in and play tonight was pretty surreal. To hear those fans and to be on the ice really felt good and I felt into it right from the get-go.”
Giving up the goal to Arentz was a bit tough for the freshman from Lakeville to take, though. Arentz and Lindgren were youth hockey and high school hockey teammates at Lakeville North, which made two straight state tournament appearances.
“I saw him coming down and you never want one of your best friends to score (on you),” Lindgren said. “I was thinking of old plays that he might do and he opened me up with a nice move, but I don’t like my friends scoring on me.”
Lindgren’s biggest save came early in the third period when he made a pad save on a 2-on-1 rush. The save actually started a rush the other way that led to Kevin Gravel scoring a goal to cut the lead to 2-1 and changed the outlook of the game.
“He made a big-time save and then Kevin Gravel makes a great play,” Motzko said. “(Lindgren) really didn’t have to make too many saves until that 2-on-1.
“But he gave us a chance and made the big-time save on a 2-on-1 back door play in the third period. He’s very athletic.”
HILL-MURRAY COACH LECHNER ON SCSU RECRUIT SLATTERY
Bill Lechner is about to begin his 17th season as Hill-Murray’s head boys hockey coach and has coached in the program “33-34 years.” Lechner knows how fans talk about Hill-Murray recruiting athletes, but said that St. Cloud State recruit Mitch Slattery landed on his team before he knew who he was last season.
Slattery played his first two high school seasons for Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Faribault. Slattery, who grew up in the Centennial school district, said that he decided to transfer last season because of cost.
In those two seasons at Shattuck, Slattery played defense because “that was all they had. They were booked up on forwards.”
When he transferred to Hill-Murray, he wanted to go back to forward. He was second on the team in goals (25), assists (33) and points (58) in 30 games, including playoffs.
“I didn’t know anything about him until he showed up for tryouts,” Lechner said. “He’s got great hands, great feet.
“He’s a different kind of player and I’ve been at this 33-34 years. He’s very coachable and he’s a very nice kid.”
When Lechner said that Slattery is a different kind of player, he means that in a couple different ways.
“When he came here, he had some habits he could get away with, but those type of things were not transitioning into what we need to do to have team success,” Lechner said. “He needs to learn to play without the puck. We want to see him be a more complete player.
“If he gets rid of some of those (bad) habits, he could end up being the pick of the century.”
One of the habits that Lechner said that they are trying to move out of Slattery’s game is handling the puck when his feet aren’t moving.
“If he does that at the college level, the defensemen are going to knock him on his rear,” Lechner said. “If he has one year of juniors, he has the skill level to jump to college the next year. Physically, he’s got the size and quickness to play at that level. It’s just a matter of does his brain and his heart want to do the things necessary to do it. It’s going to be interesting to see.”
Lechner, who is the school’s athletic director, said that he has not seen Slattery or any of his players play in the Elite League. Slattery is second in the Elite League in goals (17) and third in points (28) in 19 games.
STATISTICS, OBSERVATIONS ON OPENING WEEKEND
* Special teams was a mixed bag for the Huskies against the Beavers. St. Cloud State scored on its first power play of the season and then went without a goal in its next eight opportunities (before finally getting the game-tying goal). Then again, the Huskies were 6-for-6 killing penalties and held Bemidji State to two shots with the man advantage.
“Our penalty kill was outstanding and I don’t think they got any good looks on their power play,” Motzko said. “I really liked our penalty kill all weekend.
“We’ve got to tweak some things on the power play. A lot of times, it’s the personnel. Maybe we don’t have the right guys in the right spots and we’ve got to figure that out.”
* The Huskies saved some of their best hockey of the weekend for the third period. St. Cloud State outshot Bemidji State 28-7 in the third period of the two games.
* Take a look at St. Cloud State’s statistics and you will see something you may not see again. Defensive-minded defenseman Kevin Gravel leads the team in shots on goal with nine. He had 57 shots in 42 games last season, 37 shots in 37 games as a sophomore and 24 shots in 36 games as a freshman.
* Sophomore Joey Benik’s two goals on opening night is a marked improvement to his start to last season. Yeah, he missed the first 18 games after he broke his leg in the first official practice. But when he came back, he got off to a slow start. How slow? How about
one assist in his first 10 games. He scored his first goal in his 11th game and his second goal in his 14th game.
* Sophomore Jonny Brodzinski had three assists in the series against Bemidji State. Brodzinski had one goal and two assists in his first nine games last season before taking off to lead the team in goals (22).
* In the early going, people have a tendency to ask me how the freshmen look in practice and in games. Outside of Lindgren on Saturday, the freshman who looked solid all weekend was defenseman Ben Storm. He covered up some miscues by teammates, looked calm and handled the puck pretty solidly. I hate to go too big with my superlatives, but he looks like he has a chance to be a special player.
* Sophomore Kalle Kossila had one assist, six shots on goal and was a plus-1 in his first weekend as a center. He was 22-14 on faceoffs. Sophomore David Morley, who played right wing, was 8-1 on faceoffs. He played center nearly exclusively before coming to college and his prowess winning faceoffs was utilized throughout last season.
* The tinkering with the lines, I get the feeling, is going to go on quite a bit in the early going. There were some changes to the offensive lines from what everyone saw Saturday in Tuesday’s practice. Here’s how the Huskies were lined up on offense:
Joey Benik-Kalle Kossila-David Morley
Jimmy Murray-Nic Dowd-Jonny Brodzinski
Ryan Papa-Cory Thorson-Daniel Tedesco
Nick Oliver-Joey Rehkamp-Brooks Bertsch
Garrett Milan-T.J. Belisle-Joey Holka
* Thanks to those who have picked up the iPad app that has all the key stories, photos and graphics from the 2012-13 season. If you have not downloaded it or want to check it out, visit http://www.sctimes.com/section/hockeyapp.