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New Era of SCSU Hockey Brings Early Success

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It’s been great to be back! We have three new coaches that bring a tremendous amount of experience from their previous coaching and playing days and we are very happy to have them. We have already played six games this season and have a record of 2-3-1. We started off the season in a showcase that had St. Cloud, Minnesota, Boston University and Penn State held at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. We started our first game against the #6 nationally ranked Boston University Terriers at the time and were tied 2-2 late in the third until the Terriers scored three quick goals to win the game 5-2. Being able to be tied with a nationally ranked opponent with five minutes left in the game certainly helped our confidence. We still gave up three goals in the last five minutes though, which needs to be cleaned up. Saturday’s game was a little different in that we didn’t bring our effort that we had Friday night and it cost us on the scoreboard as we loss to Penn State 3-2. Obviously we weren’t happy with our first weekend. On the bright side, one of our junior transfers Molly Illikainen scored her first goal as a Husky on Friday and picked up another on Saturday. Freshman Mackenzie Johnson tallied her first point as a Husky after she assisted on sophomore Kelsey Saelen’s goal Friday night.

Our second weekend into the season we had a home series against the Lindenwood Lions. It was a weekend of mixed emotions to say the least. Friday we took it to the Lions and managed 47 shots on goal. Unfortunately we only got two goals past Lindenwood’s goalie, Nicole Hensley, who is a good friend of mine and is a great goaltender. Two goals would turn out to be enough as we won the game 2-0. We went 2 for 6 on the power play during the game getting goals from junior transfer Lexi Slattery and sophomore Payge Pena. Having only scored a total of 12 power play goals last year and already having scored three this year, we are hopefully on route to destroy that number. Our second game against Lindenwood was the disappointing game of the two. Breakdowns early allowed the Lions to carry the momentum throughout the game to put us away. We did score another power play goal from Payge Pena and senior Amanda Arbogast scored her first two goals of the season in the third period, but Lindenwood sealed their victory with an empty net goal with 55 seconds left in the third to win the game 5-3. We got our first win of the season that weekend and we were looking for our second and third when we started our play in the WCHA the next weekend against the Mankato Mavericks.

What a great first weekend of WCHA play! We got five out of six points with a win on Friday night and shootout win Saturday. We played a home and home series, something that we have not done before. We took a two and a half hour bus ride to Mankato and our offense exploded right when we hit the ice. We scored three goals in the first period from seniors Audrey Hanmer and Amanda Arbogast and sophomore Lauren Hespenheide after outshooting the Mavericks 18-5. The Mavericks scored in the second to make it 3-1, but that proved to be the closest they would get at catching our lead. We added two insurance goals from Hanmer and senior Abby Ness in the third period that solidified a 5-1 win. Our coaches were happy with our offensive production that we had all night throwing 54 pucks on net. Generating more offense is something we have been focusing on this year, as we averaged just 1.33 goals a game last year. Our second game at home in St. Cloud was a more even game. After regulation that game was tied 1-1 after two shorthanded goals were scored. Molly Illikainen picked up her 5th point as a Husky when she scored on a feed from Audrey Hanmer midway through the second period. After a scoreless overtime the Huskies found themselves in a shootout. Lauren Hespenheide scored the lone goal for the Huskies and the Mavericks were stopped on all three of their attempts by junior goaltender Katie Fitzgerald. A great weekend getting five points, which is already a third of what we got last year. We have next weekend (October 25 & 26) off and then we travel to Ohio State to take on the Buckeyes the next weekend. It’s already been an eventful and exciting year for the Huskies here at St. Cloud and we are excited to see what the future holds for our team!

Go Huskies!

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