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Fourth-ranked SCSU looks to continue hot run as it faces Miami to close out first half

St. Cloud State goes into the NCHC series riding a five-game winning streak

Rinkside with Brooke Purowitz.PNG
The Rink Live's Mick Hatten (left) with Husky Productions ice-side reporter Brooke Purowitz.

OXFORD, Ohio — The No. 4-ranked St. Cloud State men's hockey team is riding a five-game winning streak as it gets ready to play Miami in the last NCHC series before the holiday break.

The Huskies (6-2 NCHC, 13-3 overall) play the RedHawks (1-6-1, 5-9-2) at 6 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday (NCHC.tv) at Steve Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio.

Miami is 1-8-1 in its last 10 games. SCSU is off to its best start since going 13-1-2 to start the 2018-19 season and is coming off a home series sweep of North Dakota.

In that series, the Huskies trailed in both games before reeling off six straight goals to pick up wins over the Fighting Hawks. But UND's goaltenders have the worst save percentage (.861) in NCAA Division I. Miami junior goaltender Ludvig Persson was an All-NCHC Second Team pick as a freshman and is 5-8-2 with a 3.06 goals-against average and .905 save percentage this season.

"Their goaltender has been really good," Huskies coach Brett Larson said. "(The RedHawks) compete, are well-coached and they'll be prepared coming off a bye week.

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"I'd love to feel really good about where we are after the break. We want to end up strong."

Miami is led offensively by junior forward Matthew Barbolini (team-leading six goals, eight assists, 14 points). Junior defenseman Hampus Rydqvist, senior forward Joe Cassetti and freshman forward Red Savage all have eight points. Savage, a Detroit Red Wings draft pick, is one of 32 players named to the USA preliminary roster for the IIHF World Junior Championships.

The RedHawks are 52nd in the nation in offense (2.2 goals-per-game), 56th on faceoffs (45.8%), 44th on the power play (16.2%) and 46th on the penalty kill (45.8%).

St. Cloud State is sixth in offense (3.7 gpg), tied for first in defense (1.8 gpg), 20th on faceoffs (51.8%), 10th on the power play (24.2%), tied for 11th on the penalty kill (84.6%) and are tied for first in short-handed goals (6).

READ MORE ST. CLOUD STATE HUSKIES COVERAGE:
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Last weekend, St. Cloud State became the latest top-ranked college hockey team to learn its lofty perch was temporary at best. But many coaches say the polls are the least of their concern.
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Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com
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