SCSU finally breaks through after 10-round shootout with Miami
Senior forward Micah Miller scores the lone goal in the shootout for the Huskies in victory over last-place RedHawks
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — It took 10 rounds in the shootout, but there was finally a winner.
Fifth-year senior wing Micah Miller scored the lone goal in the shootout to help the fifth-ranked St. Cloud State men's hockey team to a 4-3 NCHC win Friday at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. For PairWise Rankings, the game goes down as a tie, but the Huskies picked up two points in the NCHC standings. The two teams play again at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Brooks Center (FOX 9+).
"I just told Micah, 'I'm sorry I didn't believe in you more than that,'" Huskies head coach Brett Larson said after the game. "I should have put him out there earlier, I guess."
For his career statistics, it does not go down as a goal. But Miller, a fifth-year senior wing from Grand Rapids, Minn., has gone 16 games without a goal. So when he made a move and scored on a wrist shot past Ludvig Persson, there was some relief.
"It feels good, for sure," said Miller, whose last goal was Nov. 11 against Western Michigan. "I'd rather score in the actual game, but I'll take it."
Perhaps the most impressive part of the game was the goaltending in the shootout. Teams are given three chances to score and the team with the most after those three chances win. But if it is tied after those three chances, it goes to sudden death. Persson stopped nine of 10 in the shootout and junior Dominic Basse, a Chicago Blackhawks draft pick, stopped all 10 he faced.
"Credit to Dommer — he made so many big saves," Miller said. "I think once we got through the first couple rounds, both sides were gripping the stick a little bit tight. But glad to pull it out."
In the 🔟th round! 😱— The NCHC (@TheNCHC) February 4, 2023
Micah Miller earns @SCSUHuskies_MH the extra point in the longest shootout in #NCHChockey history!
🎥: FOX9+ // #HuskyHockey pic.twitter.com/mjHYook4KG
Rough stretch continues
Larson praised the last-place RedHawks (2-13-1 NCHC, 7-17-2 overall) with how they played. Miami led 1-0 to open the game and 3-2 after freshman center William Hallen scored on a 3-on-2 rush at 3:24 of the third period and the RedHawks were 8-for-8 on the penalty kill, allowing the Huskies two power-play shots in the game.
"There's these points in a year when you're challenged as a team," said Larson, whose team was coming off getting swept the previous weekend at Minnesota Duluth. "I'll be honest with you: last weekend rattled us a little bit. That was our first real set of adversity where we didn't play well on a Saturday night and we weren't able to get the comeback game like we had done all year.
"I thought we lacked confidence early," Larson said of Friday's start, in which, the Huskies were outshot 11-9 in the first period. "I thought we were playing — for a lot of the game — not to lose. You can't play that way. We weren't our typical attack team. We weren't on our toes. Plays were off. It wasn't a lack of effort, but there's a big-time difference between playing not to lose and playing to win.
"But what the guys showed in the end, finding a way to get those two points, hopefully that gets us back on track to playing the right way and playing Husky hockey. I thought we played really tentative for parts of that game."
Perhaps an exclamation point on Larson's assessment was how the Huskies played on the power play. SCSU went into the game sixth in the nation on the power play at 26%. Not only did the power play manage just two shots, but on a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 1 minute, 57 seconds, the Huskies managed two shot attempts — neither of which made it on net.
"We had one really good (power play) where we missed two or three Grade A (scoring chances) right around the net," Larson said. "From there on, it was tentative. It was kind of how our game was. Guys were gripping the stick. Guys were afraid to make a mistake.
"That's a big mental hurdle coming off of last weekend, seeing it was the first time we'd dealt with that all year. You could feel it in practice early in the week. I did think it got better as the week went on and we were getting our confidence and mojo back. Every group has to go through different things every year and it's how you respond to it."
Miller, an alternate captain, was not pleased with his team's overall performance.
"There wasn't a lot of good, honestly, out there," said Miller, whose team avoided its third straight loss. "The last three games, we just haven't been able to get to our game.
"We've just got to play our game, play better right from the start. We, obviously, got outcompeted in the first (period) and the first 10 minutes. That can't happen, especially not in our own building."
Salquist gets short-hander to tie it
In regulation, the Huskies (10-6-1 NCHC, 18-8-1 overall) had to get a short-handed goal by center Mason Salquist with 6:31 left in the third period to tie the game 3-3.
It was the second goal of the season for Salquist, a sophomore from Grand Forks, N.D. The play started in the neutral zone with a steal from senior center Jami Krannila. Krannila carried the puck up the boards along the left side and then skipped a pass over a Miami defender and hit Salquist on the stick for a redirect.
What a goal! 🤯— The NCHC (@TheNCHC) February 4, 2023
Krannila and Salquist combine short-handed to tie it for @SCSUHuskies_MH with the #NCHCTopPlay
📺: FOX9+ // https://t.co/ZyUdpPaF0J #NCHChockey // #HuskyHockey pic.twitter.com/dh7qsQ627A
"Jami definitely made a nice play and I was able to capitalize on it," Salquist said. "Jami forced a turnover in the neutral zone and I was fresh on the ice. I just saw a lane to the net and beat my guys up the ice and Jami made a great play on the back door and I ended up burying it."
It was the 99th career point for Krannila and it helped turn the momentum of the game a bit.
Basse made 27 saves, including four in the overtime, and then stopped all 10 in the shootout to help the Huskies to two points.
With the two points, the Huskies moved within one point of idle Denver (11-4, 20-7) in the race for first place in the conference. SCSU, though, is one point ahead of both Western Michigan (10-6-1, 18-10-1) and Nebraska Omaha (9-6-1, 14-10-2). UNO is idle this weekend. The Pioneers play Colorado College (6-8-1, 10-14-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Colorado Springs. Western Michigan pulled out a 3-2 overtime win on Friday at Minnesota Duluth (7-10, 12-14-1).
Salquist's goal is the seventh short-handed goal of the season for the Huskies, who are second in the nation in that category behind Ohio State's nine. The school record for short-handed goals in a season is 14 in 1993-94. Last season, the Huskies had 10 short-handed goals.
St. Cloud State's Cooper Wylie, a freshman defenseman from Stillwater, Minn., picked up his first college assist. He got the primary assist on a goal by Aidan Spellacy off a faceoff at 6:22 of the first period to tie the game at 1-1.
Basse picked up his first college assist on a goal by Veeti Miettinen at 13:44 of the second period that gave the Huskies a 2-1 lead.
With the tie, Larson remains one win shy of his 100th as head coach of the Huskies.
No. 5 SCSU 3, Miami 3
SCSU wins shootout, 1-0. Micah Miller scores in 10th round.
First period scoring — 1. M, P.J. Fletcher 3 (Zane Demsey 3, Joe Cassetti 4) 4:34; 2. SCSU, Aidan Spellacy 4 (Cooper Wylie 1, Jack Rogers 3) 6:22. Penalties — SCSU, Mason Reiners (tripping) 3:43; M, Matthew Barbolini (hooking) 4:12.
Second period scoring — 3. SCSU, Veeti Miettinen 7 (Ondrej Trejbal 7, Dominic Basse 1) 13:44; 4. M, Axel Kumlin 3 (Ryan Savage 3, Frankie Carogioiello 3) 16:31 (pp). Penalties — SCSU, Zach Okabe (tripping) 2:24; M, Hampus Rydqvist (interference) 2:36; M, William Hallen (cross-checking) 8:57; M, John Waldron (hooking) 11:39; SCSU, Ethan AuCoin (slashing) 14:35; M, Carogioiello (boarding) 16:47; M, Zane Demsey (interference) 16:50.
Third period scoring — 5. M, William Hallen 3 (Max Dukovac 10, Jack Clement 3) 3:24; 6. SCSU, Mason Salquist 2 (Jami Krannila 17, Jack Peart 19) 13:29 (sh). Penalties — SCSU, Cooper Wylie (holding the stick) 1:32; M, Barbolini (interference) 1:32; M, Ludvig Persson (delay of game) 7:07; SCSU, Kyler Kupka (interference) 12:19.
Overtime scoring — None. Penalties: M, Barbolini (cross-checking) :20; SCSU, Adam Ingram (hooking) :54.
Goalie saves — M, Ludvig Persson 8-9-12-1—30 (3 GA). SCSU, Dominic Basse 10-8-5-4—27 (3 GA).
Penalties-minutes — M 9-18; SCSU 6-12.
Power-play goals-opportunities (shots) — M 1-5 (4 shots); SCSU 0-8 (2 shots).
Faceoffs — SCSU 38-31.
Referees — Daniel Dreger, Nathan Wieler.
Linesemen — Elliott Bucholz, Justin Hills.
Three stars of the game — 1. Miller (SCSU), 2. Salquist (SCSU), 3. Hallen (M).
Attendance — 3,685.