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Miettinen gets even-strength goal as SCSU tests out its new lines in scrimmage

Huskies played an intrasquad scrimmage that included about 25 minutes of 5-on-5 play, 20 minutes of special teams play Sunday at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. Fans also got a look at the new scoreboards and got to hear the new sound system a week before the season opens.

2022 scrimmage photo.jpg
The red and white teams for the St. Cloud State men's hockey team line up for the national anthem before their intrasquad scrimmage on Sept. 25, 2022, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn.
Mick Hatten / The Rink Live

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The new scoreboards are a lot bigger and brighter.

But for the first 25 minutes of an intrasquad scrimmage for the St. Cloud State men's hockey team on Sunday, there was only one goal to put on it.

The last 20 minutes of the scrimmage, the Huskies worked on the power play and penalty kill and there were eight goals scored on special teams.

The lone goal during even-strength play was by wing Veeti Miettinen. Miettinen scored off a faceoff and his speed and shot were noticeable during the scrimmage.

"I feel really good, everything is going good with school and with things on the ice, off the ice," Miettinen said. "Hopefully, I can keep that up the next week and the week after that and the week after that ... I feel really good and I can't wait to play again.


"It was a good play for us, a set play," he said of his goal. "We knew what we were doing and executed it perfectly."

Veeti Miettinen
Contributed photo

Miettinen, a junior from Espoo, Finland, has impressed the coaching staff with what he has done in preseason practices.

"I liked Veeti's jump again," Huskies head coach Brett Larson said. "He's shown up this year with something to prove. So far, the way he's been practicing, if he can translate that into games, I think we're going to see the Veeti Miettinen we all believe can be there."

A 2020 sixth-round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Miettinen had 10 goals and 23 points in 37 games for the Huskies last season. In his first season with the Huskies, he had 11 goals and 24 points in 31 games and was named the NCHC Rookie of the Year and was named to the All-NCHC Second Team.

Last season, he led the Huskies in shots (114), tied for third on the team in power-play goals (5) and tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (3). But he also had one goal in his first 10 games and three goals in his first 17 games last season.

Miettinen said he spent a lot of time working with his skating coach in Finland during the summer. He also got an opportunity to attend his first Maple Leafs prospects camp. It sounds like his time in Toronto has also added something to his game.

"I had a lot of fun there and learned a lot," he said. "We had a lot of battle drills and you learn a lot of little things about what to do there.

"We had a lot of corner battles and small area games and 3-on-3s. I'm going to try to be better with those things and take a couple of those things to games."


Miettinen's biggest goal for the season is to avoid any long scoring droughts.

"For me, it was kind of a hard season," he said of 2021-22. "I had a rough start and it didn't go like I was wanting it to go.

"Maybe I got a little frustrated at the start. I talked with the coaches and they just told me to keep it going and it will come. It was kind of a rollercoaster. I would have a good game and then a worse game. I'm going to try to be more consistent and have more good games than bad games."

Cruikshank glad to be back at center, playing special teams

The scrimmage also gave fans an opportunity to see the three new transfers for the Huskies: fifth-year senior forward Grant Cruikshank (Minnesota), senior defenseman Dylan Anhorn (Union) and junior goalie Dominic Basse (Colorado College).

Cruikshank played center on a line with senior Kyler Kupka and fifth-year senior Micah Miller. He also got an opportunity to play on one of the top power-play units and one of the top penalty kill units.

Grant Cruikshank
Contributed photo

"I think I can use my speed a lot more in the middle (at center) and with Micah and Kup, certainly helps," he said. "Both guys can skate really well and I feel like all three of us are real heavy down low. I feel like we can be a really tough line to play against and use our speed to our advantage."

Cruikshank saw a lot of special teams play in his first three college seasons at Colorado College. Last season with the Gophers, he played wing and did not see much special teams play. On Sunday, the power-play unit Cruikshank was on scored three goals and he spent time on the penalty kill with Miller.


"I feel like we were snapping it around pretty well tonight and we were able to make some plays tonight," Cruikshank said of the power play. "I think Micah and I can certainly use our speed to our advantage. We have a really aggressive kill and there's definitely some things we can clean up.

"That will come with time and with watching video, too. But I think we can be a really strong duo with our speed and the ability to shut things down really fast. I love penalty kill. I have a lot of passion for it."

Cruikshank was a captain at Colorado College before transferring to play for the Gophers last season. Larson can see why he wore a letter for the Tigers.

"The first thing I notice is how he comes to work every single day," Larson said. "He's extremely focused, detailed and hard working. He's always trying to get better every single day.

"I've been really impressed with his approach to the game. On the ice, he never takes a shift off, he competes, can make a play when he gets it and he's gonna continue to help the Huskies be a really fast team because he brings that element as well."

First lines

Larson said that there are going to be tweaks and adjustments early in the season. He also wants to make sure all the players get some play in the early part of the season.

But here were the lines from Sunday:

Miettinen-Jami Krannila-Zach Okabe
Joe Molenaar-Adam Ingram-Chase Brand
Aidan Spellacy-Mason Salquist-Jack Rogers
Grant Ahcan-Ryan Rosborough-Ethan AuCoin


There were nine defensemen in the lineup, but roughly the first round through of pairings included:

Jack Peart-Spencer Meier
Brady Ziemer-Dylan Anhorn
Ondrej Trejbal-Cooper Wylie
Brendan Bushy-Josh Luedtke
Mason Reiners

The top three power-play units were:




Cruikshank's power-play unit had three goals, including one for him and two for Kupka.

St. Cloud State led the nation in power-play efficiency (31%) last season and Miller led the nation in short-handed goals with four.


The Huskies open the regular season with a nonconference, home-and-home series against St. Thomas. The teams play at 6 p.m. Saturday at St. Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota Heights and then at 4 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Brooks Center.

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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

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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