Series Preview - St. Cloud State Huskies

Overview:

The St. Cloud State Huskies are coming off their week of rest, but split with North Dakota the weekend before while playing in St. Cloud.  The Huskies were shutout the first night 3-0 before coming back on Saturday winning 5-2.  SCSU is 4-2-0 in the WCHA and 6-4-0 overall.  The Huskies are ranked 12th in the nation.

The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs managed only 1 point in Grand Forks last weekend, but put in a fair fight against the 6th ranked North Dakota, pushing both games into Overtime.  UMD is 0-4-2 in the WCHA and 2-6-2 overall.  The Bulldogs fell out of the national rankings last week and did not receive any votes to be placed back in.

(Photo: Dave Harwig - viewthroughmylens.com)

Offense:

In 10 games the Huskies have scored 36 goals, averaging 3.6 goals per game.  Kings prospect Nic Dowd leads the team in goals with 6 and is tied with Drew LeBlanc in points with 14.  Kalle Kossila leads the freshman in scoring with 8 points and Nick Jensen leads all defenseman with 8 points as well. Captain Ben Hanowski has 3 goals and 2 assists in the 5 games he has played but has been injured; he is cleared to play this weekend.

In 10 games the Puppies have scored 26 goals, averaging 2.6 goals per game.  Senior Mike Seidel leads the Bulldogs in goals with 7 and points with 12.  Freshman Tony Cameranesi and Austin Farley both have 4 goals, the upper hand going to Tony who has 2 more points then Austin with 10.  Caleb Herbert is still scoreless this year but has exhibited much aggression toward finding the back of the net.  I would imagine he'll find it this weekend, maybe more than once.


Defense:

The Huskies are allowing 2.5 goals per game, on average, in their 10 games thus far this season, with most of their goals being scored against them in the 3rd period.

The Huskies have used 2 goalies this year, Ryan Faragher and Joe Phillippi, both sophomores.  Faragher has had the most playing time this year, by far, playing 82.9% of SCSU's minutes between the pipes.  He has a remarkable 1.87 goals per game average and stops 93.5% of the shots he has faced.  But most of his exceptionally played games have been at home.


The Bulldogs, on the other hand, have the disadvantage, allowing 3.1 goals per game.  Most of the goals they give up are in the first period, with 12, and then have allowed 9 in both of the last 2 periods.

Both goalies, freshman Matt McNeely and junior Aaron Crandall have seen a decent amount of playing time thus far this year, although McNeely leads in minutes, playing 59.6% of the time.  McNeely averages 2.95 goals per game and has stopped 88.8% of the shots he has faced.  A. Crandall averages 3.23 goals against per game and has stopped 89.3% of the shots he has faced.  Both goalies have played very well so far and I would assume would both get an opportunity this weekend.


Special Teams:

The Huskies have had some luck with their penalty kill, chewing away 82.1% of the penalties they've taken.  Their power play, on the other hand, is what struggles.  SCSU has only been able to convert on 8 of the 48 chances they've had a man up, sitting at 16.7%.

The Bulldogs have had some decent luck with their power play this year, with the exception of last Saturday, but still converting 23.5% of the time.  Penalty kill is at 82.4% which is pretty decent as well. Seidel leads the Dogs in power play goals with 4, followed by Cameranesi with 3, Farley with 2 and Welinski and Basaraba with one each.

(Photo: Dave Harwig - viewthroughmylens.com)

The Verdict:

After coming from Grand Forks with only 1 point, when 3, at least, was easily within grasp, the Puppies are going to be more angry and hungry than ever before.  Many coaches, players and college hockey guru's (like myself :)) know this team is a hell of a lot better then what their record shows.  And with December hockey starting soon and the season slowly ticking away, this team needs to find the traction and move forward.  This week might just be the week.

Why?  Well, St. Cloud is actually 1-4-0 on the road overall and 0-3-0 after being down after the first period, which just so happens to be tUMD's favorite period to score.  The Dogs are going to have to skate 6 whole periods this week.  We're going to have to play disciplined and smart, but a sweep is not out of the question.

If you're at home in the cities this weekend, like myself, tune in to 94x online to listen to Bruce Ciskie call the game.  And if you're going to be at the game tomorrow night, I'll see ya there!!


GO DOGS!!

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