Minnesota and St Cloud State arrived at the National Hockey Center Friday in St. Cloud without a single season meeting in 2012-13. That was about to change, as Adam Wilcox received the night’s start for the Gophers while the Huskies sent out Ryan Faragher.
The first minute and change in St. Cloud was spent figuring the opponent’s weaknesses out. Minnesota’s defense was tested early, as Andrew Prochno leveled the first shot for the Huskies. The pace of play early on was very fast, and on Minnesota’s next possession, Ben Marshall would put a shot on Faragher to even up that stat in the early going.
Shots were 3-1 in St. Cloud State’s favor through the first four minutes, but neither team was on the scoreboard nor had a penalty recorded on the books. At 4:52, Minnesota’s Zach Budish thought he had the game’s first goal, only for it to be waved off by the helmet of Ryan Faragher falling before the puck went in.
At the first television timeout, shots on goal favored the Huskies by a lone shot, 3-2. Five different combined players recorded the shots on the ice. At 7:10, Zach Budish had another sure goal waved off as the puck clanged the crossbar. At the 8:45 mark, Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad finally popped the goal-scoring cherry, scoring an even strength goal with Kyle Rau and Christian Isackson getting primary and secondary assists.
At 9:52, St. Cloud State gave Minnesota its first power play when Jonny Brodzinski went in the box for interference. Seconds later, Minnesota’s Zach Budish thought he lit the lamp on the power play at 10:09 with help from Kyle Rau and Erik Haula. The goal was reviewed but later taken away, with a reason not given on the television broadcast. Minnesota earned two shots on their power play after all the madness concluded.
St. Cloud State’s Joey Benik lit the lamp at 14:48 on even strength to tie the game. Benik was assisted by Joey Thorson in the game-tying effort. As the end of the first period loomed, there was a two-minute minor assessed to Jake Parenteau for boarding. The SCSU power play came up empty, giving completed power play numbers at the end of twenty 0-1 for each team. Shots at the end of twenty favored Minnesota 9-7. At 19:58, SCSU’s Nic Dowd was called for hooking.
The second period started with 1:59 of Minnesota power play from the Nic Dowd hooking call. Minnesota’s power play had some chances, but the score was still even at one after the third combined power play of the night.
In the early part of the second period, the possession was shared almost evenly by both teams, and at 4:31, Minnesota finally took control of the game. On even strength, Erik Haula scored his twelfth goal of the year on even strength with the only help coming from Mark Alt and a phantom assist going to an extra offensive move by who looked to be Kyle Rau.
Minnesota had the first six shots of the second period, and there weren’t any additional penalties given in the first 7:03. Shots to the 10:27 mark had Minnesota up 8-4 in the period, and 17-11 overall through 30:27 of total time.
As the second period ticked towards its conclusion, each team had its chances on offensive rushes. There were three total penalties called through thirty-five minutes as well as a combined thirty-five shots on goal.
As forty minutes fell in St. Cloud, Minnesota still led 2-1, but St. Cloud was hanging by a thread despite offensive lapses. Power plays had Minnesota at 0-2 with SCSU at 0-1. Shots were 25-11 in Minnesota’s favor.
At 3:21 of the third, Minnesota’s Seth Helgeson drew a hooking penalty, and the penalty led to a power play goal by SCSU’s Drew LeBlanc that tied the game at 3:59. LeBlanc was helped by Kalle Kosila and Nick Jensen.
At 8:47 of the third period, coincidental minors were called against Minnesota’s Seth Ambroz and SCSU’s Taylor Johnson for roughing. Soon thereafter, at 9:32, Minnesota’s Erik Haula puts a forehand shot past Faragher with help from Nate Schmidt on even strength. Fifty-eight seconds later, at 10:30, Minnesota’s Nate Schmidt gave the visitors a two-goal lead. He pocketed a shot through Faragher with help from Brady Skiej and Kyle Rau on the same even four on four exchange.
Total shots with fifty-four minutes played favored Minnesota by a 40-21 count. At 17:19, SCSU boss Bob Motzko pulled Faragher in hopes of cutting the two goal deficit that the Huskies faced.
As the end of the game came, shots had Minnesota finish ahead 42-24. Power plays had Minnesota at 0-2 and St. Cloud State at 1-2.
Minnesota and St. Cloud State get together again at 7pm on Saturday. FOX Sports North Plus will have the game.
Geoff Discher is Examiner.com's Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner as well as the National College Hockey Examiner. Leave a comment below, or feel free to reach him at Disch61@hotmail.com with comments, story ideas, or any general talk surrounding college hockey. You can find him on Facebook as well by clicking here as well as here and joining the conversation from the social media side as well. He's always chock full of fact and opinion. I’m also on Twitter @GophHkyExmnr. Check it out!
Until next time, I'll see you at the rink!