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SCSU notebook: Josh Luedtke to be evaluated for his return, Magness Arena losing streak

Sophomore defenseman Josh Luedtke has been out since suffering a concussion in the season-opening game of the season.

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St. Cloud State sophomore defenseman Josh Luedtke is taken off the ice after he hit his head into the glass after taking a check in the first period of a nonconference game against St. Thomas on Oct. 1, 2022, at St. Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota Heights, Minn.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — St. Cloud State's Josh Luedtke is making progress in his return from a concussion he suffered in the season-opening game against St. Thomas on Oct. 1.

"Lueds is improving," Huskies men's hockey coach Brett Larson said. "He's got an appointment this week with the doctors and they will let us know when he'll be ready.

"He's getting better every day, which we are excited about. We look forward to him being evaluated to let us know when he will be ready."

Luedtke, a sophomore defenseman from Minnetonka, Minnesota, took a clean check into the boards in the first period of the game against the Tommies. But his head hit into the Plexiglass and he ended up being taken off the ice on a stretcher and taken to the hospital.

Luedtke has been skating on his own the last two weeks. Last season, he tied for the team lead in plus/minus (plus-17) and had nine points, 44 shots on goal, 16 penalty minutes and 17 blocked shots in 33 games for the Huskies.

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Basse honored again

One day after being named the NCHC Goaltender of the Month for October, Dominic Basse received another honor for his play in the month.

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St. Cloud State goalie Dominic Basse (31) deflects a shot by Bemidji State forward Jere Vaisanen (16) with help from Huskies defenseman Ondrej Trejbal (5) in the first period Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, at the Herb Brooks National Center in St. Cloud.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

Basse, a junior and transfer from Colorado College, was named the Hockey Commissioners Association National Goaltender of the Month.

Basse, a junior from Alexandria, Va., is 4-0-0 in four starts with a 1.25 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. His save percentage and GAA both lead the NCHC. His GAA is third in the nation, while his save percentage is tied for fourth nationally.

His four-game winning streak is the longest in the college career of Basse, a transfer from Colorado College and a Chicago Blackhawks draft pick. Basse has been splitting time with senior Jaxon Castor in goal.

To this point, Castor has played the first game of the first four series the fourth-ranked Huskies (7-1) have played and Basse has played the second game. St. Cloud State plays second-ranked Denver (2-0 NCHC, 6-2 overall) at 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday at Magness Arena (both on NCHC.tv).

Denver plays UMass Lowell in regional semifinal game in Loveland
Denver forward Carter Mazur (34) gains control of the puck against UMass Lowell during the NCAA regional semifinal game on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

8-game losing streak at Magness

Playing against the Pioneers never seems to be an easy task, particularly when they are playing at home.

St. Cloud State has struggled at Magness in recent years and have not won a game there since a 6-2 victory on Dec. 12, 2015. The Huskies have dropped eight straight in Denver, are 2-11 in their last 13 games there and 4-12 at Magness since 2011.

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Oh yeah, the Pioneers are the defending national champions and have 12 NHL Draft picks on their roster.

"Every weekend brings a different challenge and this one is a big challenge and we know it," said Larson, whose team got swept last season at Magness when he was with the US Olympic team. "It's a great test to see where we're at early in the season."

Statistically, Denver is behind SCSU in several categories, but keep in mind, the Pioneers have played a tougher schedule. Denver opened with a home game against Notre Dame (currently ranked 14th), dropped two road games at Massachusetts (No. 5) and swept a home series against Providence (No. 14).

St. Cloud State has played one opponent that was ranked when the Huskies played them (MSU-Mankato, currently ranked No. 6) and split a series against Bemidji State, which is ranked No. 20 this week.

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The Huskies have dealt with a fair number of injuries this season to key players. The latest challenge is how to handle the loss of the team's leader in minutes played.

"They're loaded and their top line with (Carter) Mazur, (Casey) Dornbach and (Massimo) Rizzo might be one of the best lines in the country," Larson said of the Pioneers. "They've also got depth and their 'D' are extremely mobile and talented. They've got a really good goalie coming back (in Magnus Chrona).

"They lost some big names," Larson said of Denver players who signed pro deals after last season. "But they kind of reloaded."

So what will it take for the Huskies to pick up a road win this weekend?

"It's going to take a total team effort," Larson said. "It's going to take discipline, big time. Sometimes, playing at Denver, you can get so amped up that you take too many penalties and that's what will burn you out there.

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"We need a combination of compete and discipline. That's going to be really important for us."

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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