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Healthier SCSU will play Quinnipiac in 1st round of NCAA regional in Allentown

Huskies are the No. 3 seed in the region, the Bobcats are the No. 2. SCSU's lineup looking closer to recovered from illness, injuries.

St. Cloud State vs Boston University
St. Cloud State's Kevin Fitzgerald (28) carries the puck in front of teammate Sam Hentges (19) and Boston University's Jay O'Brien (18) during the NCAA Division I Northeast Regional semifinals game on March 27, 2021, in Albany, N.Y.
Robert Simmons / NCAA

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — On Saturday afternoon, the St. Cloud State men's hockey team got away from the rink and did some team bonding at Topgolf in Brooklyn Center, hitting some golf balls and having some dinner.

On Sunday afternoon, the Huskies found out their opponent and where they will play them in the NCAA Division I men's hockey tournament field.

St. Cloud State (18-14-4) will be the No. 3 seed and will play No. 2 seed Quinnipiac (31-6-3) at 7 p.m. Friday (ESPNews) at PPL Center, Allentown, Pa. The other semifinals game in the regional has top overall seed Michigan (29-9-1) playing No. 16 overall seed American International College (22-12-3) at 3 p.m. Friday (ESPNU).

The regional championship game will be played at either 3 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 27 (ESPN2). The winner of that game will advance to the Frozen Four, which will be played April 7-9 at TD Garden in Boston.

The Huskies will be looking to get back to the national championship game after losing to Massachusetts in the title game last year.


St. Cloud State gathered in the Husky Den on Sunday at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center to watch the announcement of the 16-team field on TV. The Allentown Regional was the first one to be announced, so there was little suspense for the Huskies, who are No. 10 in the PairWise Rankings.

"We didn't have wait long — seemed like it was the first 30 seconds of the show and we knew who we were playing and where we were playing," said Brett Larson, whose team will be making its third NCAA tournament appearance in his four seasons as head coach. "We were just all excited to know where we're going and see who we will be playing against. I think the guys are just excited that it's a new season and a second chance."

Because Minnesota Duluth swept St. Cloud State in an NCHC quarterfinals series March 11-12, the Huskies had an off week during the NCHC Frozen Faceoff.

"It sucks having to watch, no fun watching," SCSU captain Spencer Meier said. "We would have loved to have been playing last week and trying to win that NCHC title.

"That being said, we did have a lot of guys banged up, bruised up, sick — it's a good weekend to sharpen some things up in practice and also get healthy and ready to go for this week."

St. Cloud State defenseman Spencer Meier (9) takes the puck past Western Michigan defenseman Drew Warrad (13) during the first period Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

Meier, Donohue, Hrenak all doing better

St. Cloud State will likely have three players back who missed time during that series. Meier and fifth-year goalie David Hrenak both missed time due to illness and graduate student defenseman Seamus Donohue missed the second game of the series with an upper body injury during the UMD playoff series.

Meier missed the first game of the series, felt a bit better and played the second game against the Bulldogs.


"I was down bad, the stomach flu bug and it was not treating me well," Meier said Sunday. "It was nice being able to sleep a little and get some fluids and now I feel great and should be ready to go."

But he paid a price for it after the game he played.

"That Saturday, I felt good, got some fluids in me and I was able to eat a little bit," Meier said. "Throughout the game, whether it was the adrenaline rush or whatever it was, I was just like, 'Next shift, just give it all you got.'

"After the game, my body was like, 'All right. I did what you needed me to do. Now I need you to do something for me ... now we've got to get to the toilet,'" Meier said with a laugh. "I was throwing up after the game. That game set me back a little bit and the fever came back and I took the next couple days off to reset. Now I feel good."

St. Cloud State defenseman Seamus Donohue (3) make a pass against North Dakota in the third period Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

Donohue played in the first game against UMD with an upper body injury. It was a game-time decision in the second game as to whether or not to play Donohue or Meier. Meier basically insisted that he was going to play and, being the captain, Larson let that make the decision for him.

The week off also helped Donohue, who is an alternate captain.

"Much better," he said of how he is feeling. "I didn't feel like I could do everything I wanted to do (in the game). There wasn't a lot of pain, so I was optimistic that I could be myself. But it was good to get some rest and heal up."

Hrenak, who was the NCAAA regional MVP last year, did not play in either game against the Bulldogs. He was back with the team this weekend and looking to get back on the ice for practice this week.


"I think, for all our guys, physically, the week off was good," said Larson, whose team played 18 games from Jan. 21-March 12 due to makeup games because of COVID-19 protocols on two straight weekends in January.

"We also had some guys sick ... The week off was great that way. But I think mentally, having to watch those other teams play (in the Frozen Faceoff) leaves a tough taste in your mouth, for sure. I'm hoping that the combination of rest and also being extremely motivated is really going to push this group."

The last time that SCSU was not a part of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff was in 2014 when the Huskies, the conference regular season champions, were upset by Miami in the quarterfinals. St. Cloud State went on to beat Notre Dame (4-3 in overtime) in the West Regional in St. Paul that year and then lose to Minnesota (4-0) in the championship game.

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SCSU NCAA Division I Regional Tournament History


Northeast Regional (at Albany, N.Y.)
Boston University, W, 6-2
Boston College, W, 4-1


West Regional (at Fargo, N.D.)
American International College, L, 2-1


West Regional (at Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Air Force, L, 4-1


West Regional (at St. Paul, Minn.)
Ferris State, L, 5-4, OT



West Regional (at Fargo, N.D.)
Michigan Tech, W, 3-2, OT
North Dakota, L, 4-1


West Regional (at St. Paul, Minn.)
Notre Dame, W, 4-3, OT
Minnesota, L, 4-0


Midwest Regional (at Toledo, Ohio)
Notre Dame, W, 5-1
Miami, W, 4-1


West Regional (at St. Paul, Minn.)
Northern Michigan, W, 4-3, 2 OTs
Wisconsin, L, 5-3


East Regional (at Albany, N.Y.)
Clarkson, L, 2-1


East Regional (at Rochester, N.Y.)
Maine, L, 4-1


Northeast Regional (at Worcester, Mass.)
New Hampshire, L, 5-2


West Regional (at Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Michigan, L, 4-2



West Regional (at Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Michigan, L, 4-3


East Regional (at Albany, N.Y.)
Boston University, L, 5-3


East Regional (Best-of-three, at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)
Lake Superior State, L, 6-3 and L, 4-2

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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