Lines, updated statistics, some added notes going into Friday’s WCHA men’s game between SCSU and Minnesota

 

St. Cloud State goalie Ryan Faragher makes a save against Denver at the National Hockey and Event Center. Photo by Dave Schwarz, dschwarz@stcloudtimes.com

NO. 8/10 ST. CLOUD STATE (14-5-1 WCHA, 17-10-1 OVERALL)

The Huskies are No. 8 in the PairWise Rankings going into Friday’s game with Minnesota. St. Cloud State is 8-0-1 in its last 9 WCHA games and is three points ahead of Nebraska-Omaha for the conference lead in the standings.

“Everybody knows the importance of this weekend,” Huskies sophomore forward Brooks Bertsch said. “We’ve got to worry about our process and getting better every day.

“This is a big opportunity in front of us for our team, to keep building on what we have. After our hiccups against RPI and Northern Michigan, I think we’ve responded really well. Hopefully, we can keep climbing and moving forward to where we want to be.”

So what concerns the Huskies about the Gophers?

“They move the puck well and can play all four lines,” Bertsch said. “They have a great power play. They’re a high speed, high offense team. There’s a reason why they’re the No. 1 team in the country.”

“Our main focus is to watch their speed,” Huskies sophomore defenseman Andrew Prochno said. “As a ‘D’ core, the best way to defend that is to take gaps away. If you don’t know much about hockey, you’d think that you’d want to back off and give them space. That’s actually the last thing you want to do. If you give them space, they’ll be able to dipsy doodle and get right around you. You want to get in their face … If we keep hitting them and bodying them (with checks), we’re going to try to physically wear them down.”

Huskies coach Bob Motzko said that the Huskies need to try to generate some offense against the Gophers, who are giving up fewer than 24 shots per game.

“They’re a very, very good defensive team and can really shut you down in their end, limit your time,” Motzko said. “We have to try to establish all four lines of play and we’ve got to not turn pucks over and get pucks deep (in the offensive zone). That’s going to be a critical factor in the series.

“Sometimes, you’ve got to fight like heck to put a dent in somewhere, so later in the game you might have a chance.

“It really becomes a series of little things like faceoffs,” Motzko said. “You want to at least stay even. You want the advantage, but you don’t want to be behind and always starting on the defensive side. That will make for a long night.”

ODDS AND ENDS:

* Senior left wing Ben Hanowski has 66 points (35 goals) in 62 games played the last 2 seasons.

* Senior center Drew LeBlanc needs one point to tie his career best in a season. LeBlanc has 38 points (30 assists) this season. He had 39 points (26 assists) in 2010-11, his last full season. LeBlanc continues to lead Division I in assists and is 2 points behind Nebraska-Omaha’s Ryan Walters for the national lead in points.

* Freshman wing Jonny Brodzinski has at least one point in 13 straight games (9 goals, 6 assists). Brodzinski also leads the nation in plus/minus (plus-23) and his 13 goals are the most for a freshman in the nation. Right behind him is freshman teammate Kalle Kossila (12 goals). 

* Junior center Nic Dowd has career-bests in goals (12), assists (17) and points (29). Dowd’s previous bests were all last season: 11 goals, 13 assists, 24 points in 39 games.

* Junior defenseman Nick Jensen is 2nd among Division I defensemen in assists with 18.

* The Huskies did not have a penalty in the series sweep last weekend at Bemidji State. St. Cloud State is the least penalized team in Division I.

LW C RW
10-Ben Hanowski 19-Drew LeBlanc 11-Kalle Kossila
16-Jimmy Murray 26-Nic Dowd 22-Jonny Brodzinski
9-Joey Benik 8-Cory Thorson 13-David Morley
17-Joey Holka 37-Joey Rehkamp 21-Brooks Bertsch
LD RD Goalies
28-Andrew Prochno 14-Nick Jensen 29-Ryan Faragher
7-Kevin Gravel 12-Ethan Prow 33-Joe Phillippi
40-Tim Daly 4-Taylor Johnson 35-Rasmus Reijola 

 

NO. 1 MINNESOTA (10-4-4 WCHA, 18-4-4 OVERALL)

The Gophers are No. 2 in the PairWise Rankings going into Friday’s game. The Gophers have not played since a home-and-home series Jan. 25-26 against MSU-Mankato. The Mavericks got a 2-1 win at Mariucci Arena and then the Gophers came back for a 4-1 win in Mankato.

“We definitely took advantage of the bye week and got rested,” Gophers defenseman Brady Skjei said.

What concerns the Gophers about the Huskies?

“We keep hearing about how good their forwards are,” Skjei said of the Huskies forwards, who have scored 83 of the team’s 93 goals. “The emphasis for the ‘D’ core will be shutting those guys on the top two lines down. It should be a good series.

“The week off helped. There was a little bug going around (the team) and that week off helped us get healthy.”

“They’ve got guys who make plays, their goaltending is going well, they’re 8-0-1 in their last nine WCHA games in a league where there’s a lot of splits,” Gophers associate head coach Mike Guentzel said. “They’re in good shape.

“I’m assuming that they look at us how we look at them. Same firepower up front … Both teams have active defensemen and both are goaltending well.”

The Gophers are the defending McNaughton Cup champions and see this as a big series to try to close the gap. Minnesota trails the Huskies by 5 points (with 2 fewer games played) and is in a three-way tie for third place with Denver and North Dakota.

“You’re getting down to the final couple series and it’s tough to sweep,” Guentzel said. “The best chance to make up some ground is when you’ve got the team ahead of you right in front of you … Our schedule down the stretch is tough.

“It wouldn’t matter if St. Cloud was in first or ninth or we were in first or ninth, it would still be a competitive series. People get riled up. It doesn’t matter who is in what place. (Drew) LeBlanc didn’t play against us last year and they played us tough. They ended up going to the (WCHA) Final Five and could have won that game against North Dakota.”

ODDS AND ENDS:

Nate Schmidt, the junior and St. Cloud Cathedral graduate, leads Division I defensemen in scoring (25 points).  

* The Gophers are 51-27-12 all-time against St. Cloud State, including 17-14-6 on the road. The Gophers were 3-1 last season against St. Cloud State and were 1-1 at the National Hockey and Event Center. St. Cloud State won the first game at the NHEC (4-3) and the Gophers won the second game (3-2).

* The Gophers are 7-2-3 against ranked opponents this season.

* Minnesota leads Division I in offense (3.77 goals per game), fourth in defense (1.85 gpg), third in the nation in power play (24.8 percent) and sixth on the penatly kill (89.2 percent).

* Junior forward Erik Haula is the team’s active leader in career points. Haula has 104 points (37 goals) in 100 career games.

* Haula is from Pori, Finland, which is on the west coast of the country. St. Cloud State’s Kalle Kossila is from Kauniainen, Finland, which is on the southern coast.

* There are four players from outside the state on the Gophers’ roster: Haula, Nate Condon (Wausau, Wis.), Tom Serratore (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Sam Warning (Chesterfield, Mo.).

* Freshmen triplets Mike Reilly (D), Ryan Reilly (F) and Connor Reilly (F) were teammates with St. Cloud State freshman forward Joey Benik last season with Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League. 

LW C RW
7-Kyle Rau 27-Nick Bjugstad 19-Erik Haula
11-Sam Warning 16-Nate Condon 24-Zach Budish
14-Tom Serratore 22-Travis Boyd 12-Justin Holl
6-Jake Parenteau 26-Christian Isackson 17-Seth Ambroz
LD RD Goalies
4-Seth Helgeson 10-Ben Marshall 32-Adam Wilcox
5-Mike Reilly 20-Mark Alt 1-Michael Shibrowski
2-Brady Skjei 29-Nate Schmidt  
     

 

 

SCSU STATISTICAL LEADERS

Player GP G A Pts PM +/-
Drew LeBlanc 28 8 30 38 8 +15
Nic Dowd 28 12 17 29 22 +7
Kalle Kossila 26 12 13 25 6 +18
Jonny Brodzinski 28 13 9 22 8 +23
Ben Hanowski 23 12 10 22 10 +6
Nick Jensen 28 3 18 21 10 +13
David Morley 25 9 7 16 10 +2
Andrew Prochno 27 2 13 15 12 +11
Cory Thorson 28 8 4 12 6 -5
Ethan Prow 26 2 9 11 2 +7
Jimmy Murray 28 3 7 10 10 +5
             

 

Goalie GP W-L-T Save% GAA
Ryan Faragher 26 16-9-1 .918 2.08
Rasmus Reijola 3 0-1-0 .804 5.14
Joe Phillippi 1 1-0-0 .842 3.00

 

MINNESOTA STATISTICAL LEADERS

Player GP G A Pts PM +/-
Erik Haula 23 11 20 31 8 +9
Kyle Rau 26 13 15 28 16 +10
Nick Bjugstad 26 13 12 25 22 +6
Nate Schmidt 26 6 19 25 12 +12
Zach Budish 26 9 15 24 10 +12
Nate Condon 26 9 15 24 6 +13
Sam Warning 17 5 11 16 6 +10
Christian Isackson 26 3 12 15 16 +6
Seth Ambroz 26 7 7 14 20 +11
Travis Boyd 26 3 9 12 4 +3
Ben Marshall 26 5 6 11 12 +11
Mike Reilly 24 2 9 11 12 +4
             

 

Goalie GP W-L-T Save% GAA
Adam Wilcox 25 17-3-4 .926 1.70
Michael Shibrowski 3 1-1-0 .881 3.18

St. Cloud State’s Nick Oliver (27) and Jonny Brodzinski (22) try to get control of the puck in front of North Dakota goaltender Clarke Saunders (33) and Corban Knight (10) and Nick Mattson (5) during the Nov. 10 game at the National Hockey and Event Center in St. Cloud. Photo by Dave Schwarz, dschwarz@stcloudtimes.com

 TEAM STATISTICAL COMPARISON

 
  SCSU UM
Shots per game 29.5 32.5
Opponent shots per game 25.2 23.3
Goals per game 3.3 3.8
Opponent goals per game 2.3 1.8
Power play % 17.9 24.8
Penalty kill % 83.5 89.3
Short-hand goals for 2 2
Short-hand goals against 6 2
Penalty minutes per game 8.5 10.7
Opponent penalty minutes 12.5 17.1
Faceoffs 850-791 (.518) 890-761 (.539)

 

 

Mick Hatten

About Mick Hatten

I cover St. Cloud State hockey and I am a general assignment reporter for the sports department at the Times. 2012-13 was my third season covering the Huskies hockey programs. My wife Kristin and I have two boys (Luke, 5, and Josh, 3) and we live in St. Cloud. I have had two stints working at the Times. I worked here from 1986-91 as a part-time sports reporter and intern. I have been back since Aug. 1999. I spent one year as the prep sports coordinator, six years as the St. Cloud State reporter (football, men's and women's basketball and everything else but hockey) and spent four years as the Citizen Times editor. The last two years, I was also the editor of the Rocori Times and Sauk Rapids-Rice Times sections, which are mailed directly to people in those two school districts. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MickHatten or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sctimesmick. I do online chats about college hockey during the season from 1-2 p.m. Thursdays at www.sctimes.com.
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