The Runner Sports

St. Cloud State Battles WCHA Rival In Hockey Day Preview

St. Cloud State posts a second consecutive shutout win edging Minnesota State University, Mankato 4-0 at the Verizon Center in Mankato, Minn. Goalie Jeff Smith had 42 saves to keep a clean sheet for the night.

The Huskies opened the regular season versus a familiar in-state foe. For Bob Motzko and company, they hoped it was not reminiscent of last year’s two-game sweep suffered from Minnesota State at the helm.

Flashback

Minnesota State outworked and out-skated the Huskies to a 4-1 victory in the season opener last year. On the second night of the series, the Huskies showed a lot of promise but were not able to maintain their lead. The team ultimately lost, enduring a four-goal second period performance that concluded 6-4 in Mankato; the trend that series was a seemingly faster Mankato team.

This year, especially after the first round of exhibition play, a lot has been emphasized on the speed that the Huskies bring to the table. What should be of note is that Mankato also achieved an 8-0 win versus the University of Regina who played against the Huskies the following night.

The win Saturday proved to be significant because it tells us one thing: The Huskies have a goalie.

Although St. Cloud ran away with the win, Minnesota State mustered up almost 50% more shots. They generated more opportunities when the Huskies failed to be precise.

“There is a lot of positives we can take out of this, but there is a lot we have to work on as well,” said captain Jimmy Schuldt. “First game of the season was a little rusty. We can catch passes better and be more crisp but the compete level is there, the guys are there.”

Mankato owns the ultimate series between these two teams with a 75-54-10 record dating back to the 1969-1970 season. Although that may be the case, at the Division I level the Huskies own the series record at 30-17-7.

Hockey Day Minnesota

In Minnesota, the State of Hockey, a full day is dedicated to their beloved frozen sport. From every lake, pond or rink, parents and children flock to the designated host city whether it is Baudette Bay, Moorhead, St. Paul or this year’s host St. Cloud.

They have only one objective in mind: To watch as much outdoor hockey as they can. For some, like Ryan Poehling of St. Cloud State, it will be remembering the moments that made their love of the game tenfold.

The 2017-2018 regular season opener versus the Mavericks was much more than just a season opener. The two teams will meet again on January 20 for Hockey Day Minnesota. The match will be headlining college and high school hockey games in production with Fox Sports North and the Minnesota Wild. This will be the first time the Huskies play in a televised home game for Hockey Day. The game will be at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

Ask any player or coach and they will tell you to take things one game at a time. But one thing is for sure; avoiding a loss to Minnesota State is huge, especially in the latter half of the series.

Manuel Brizuela

A native of Los Angeles, Manny is a graduate student at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Since sports is ultimately where Manny would like to end up as a digital media producer, particularly with the sport of hockey, he felt it necessary to make connections in the state of hockey. Thus, moving across the country and landing opportunities to dabble with NCAA Division 1 hockey.