The Runner Sports

Two NCHC Teams Combine For 16 Goals Over Weekend

On Saturday both (20) Western Michigan and (9) St. Cloud State put on a goal scoring frenzy for their respective fans. Wilfrid Laurier opened the scoring at the Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich. The University of Regina endured a heavy shutout performance from all three Husky goalies in St. Cloud. Many people misinterpret exhibition hockey to be less important.

That was not the case for Western Michigan and for head coach Andy Murray, who saw scoring potential from seven different players. The Broncos received seven votes this week in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

Coach Murray on what it takes to win in the NCHC, and also specifically for Western Michigan:

“Our team will go as far as our goaltending. You need those goalies that have a high save percentage to keep pucks out of the net. And that’s a combination of goaltender and overall play away from the puck. For us, I think special teams are going to be important. Reducing the number of power plays we give up since we’ve always been a highly penalized team.”

Western Michigan are a catch with special teams. In fact, last year they had the most penalties in the league and also the most power plays. If it were not a trend enough, four of the eight goals on Saturday were on the power play while also conceding a shorthanded goal. Special teams is pivotal for Western Michigan. Even though they finished No. 3 in the NCHC last season, Murray strongly believes a harmony of good patience and fundamental sense are good measures of success for the current campaign.

“We need patience on the part of our coaching staff since we have nine freshmen in the line up, keeping the number of shots against down, we also really track turnovers all over the ice and we really need to make sure that we maintain a strong balance of possession and low shots against.”

St. Cloud State erupts with eight, leading scorer out:

St. Cloud State steamrolled the University of Regina and did not concede a single goal despite a trio of goalies and junior leading scorer Mikey Eyssimont out with illness. Scoring chances were abundant for St. Cloud who posted 52 shots on goal—over 50% more than Regina. No other team in the NCHC had a shutout this past weekend. NCHC represented well in the opening round of exhibitions with five-of-six team winning.

Easton Brodzinski debuted for the Huskies and is carrying the torch that was handed to him by older brother Jonny Brodzinski of the Los Angeles Kings. The team is hoping for Brodzinski to be a supreme addition for the Poehlings. It was so after he assisted Jack Poehling on the season’s first goal following a neutral zone turnover by Regina.

“Nothing is really going to prepare you for your first college hockey game,” said Brodzinski. “You work your whole life all the way up until this moment, its a great feeling.

Coach Bob Motzko informed the media that he is confident the younger guys will fill the cracks of the team’s core by continuing to excel. And these words resonate with the freshmen of the team through their play. Blake Lizotte scored his first collegiate goal after Brodzinski assisted the first goal. Two season-opening goals cultivated from the youth of the pack.

“We are really happy with our young players. They had an impact in the game. We also saw guys take steps from a year ago and that’s what you want to see. You want [to] see your guys playing at a higher level.”

Around the NCHC
  1. North Dakota 6-2 Manitoba
  2. Minnesota Duluth 3-4 Alberta
  3. Colorado College 4-1 Lethbridge
  4. Denver 3-1 Lethbridge

 

NCHC Regular Season

Welcoming back the NCHC regular season are five teams who see action on October 6.

  1. Colorado College at Vermont, 7:05 p.m.
  2. Ferris State at Western Michigan, 7:05 p.m.
  3. Providence at Miami, 7:35 p.m.
  4. Minnesota at Minnesota-Duluth, 7:37 p.m.
  5. North Dakota at Alaska Anchorage, 7:07 p.m.

    *All times in ET.

Special Note: My heart goes out to the families suffering from the tragic terrorist attack in Las Vegas on Monday. There are no athletic seasons that can overshadow these events, but we can continue to exemplify the beauty of the human experience through the narratives we provide.

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.