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SCSU scores twice in third for tie with UMD, gets shootout win

Huskies get extra-attacker goal by Spencer Meier with 59 seconds left to pick up 2-2 tie. Veeti Miettinen gets shootout winner, David Hrenak makes 28 saves for SCSU

College Men's hockey players compete on Olympic size ice sheet
St. Cloud State defenseman Seamus Donohue (3) blocks a shot against Minnesota Duluth forward Quinn Olson (15) on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

ST. CLOUD, Minn. β€” The St. Cloud State men's hockey team picked a good time to find a way to pick up their first point when trailing after two periods.

The Huskies had lost all seven games that it trailed going into the third period going into Tuesday's NCHC game against Minnesota Duluth.

St. Cloud State got third-period goals from defenseman Seamus Donohue and an extra-attacker goal from defenseman Spencer Meier with 59 seconds left in regulation to pull out a 2-2 tie with the Bulldogs at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. It took a bit, but the Huskies added the extra point by winning the shootout, 3-2.

St. Cloud State went into the game after getting swept in a series over the weekend at Denver, including a 2-0 loss on Saturday. Then the Huskies went the first two periods without scoring against UMD before Donohue scored at 2:51 of the third period to cut the deficit to 2-1.

"It was like a balloon popped," SCSU associate head coach Dave Shyiak said of Donohue's goal. "We just took a deep breath and that third period ... we told our guys, we take our team against anybody if we play like we did in the third period.

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"We started playing on our toes, we were attacking, we kept them hemmed down," said Shyiak, whose team outshot the Bulldogs 13-6 in the third period. "You could see the buildup where we were getting better as the period went on. It was just a question of time to score that second goal."

After a neutral zone turnover by UMD, Donohue's goal from the top of the faceoff circle seemed to wake up the Huskies, who had been outshot 16-9 in the second period.

"That was the turning point when that went in," Meier said. "When the (goal) horn went off, you could feel the atmosphere come alive and the fans really helped us out."

SCSU's second goal came from Meier, a senior captain from Sartell. He scored on a rebound off a shot by Kevin Fitzgerald with 59.3 seconds left to tie the game at 2.

"You just try to get in your power-play setup and go from there," Meier said. "Just get pucks to the net. Fitzy got the shot on net and lucky rebound kicked right to me on my stick."

The Huskies and Bulldogs were playing in an unusual situation. This was the first SCSU home game played on a Tuesday since Dec. 5, 1989, when the Huskies played Denver. But SCSU and UMD had a series that was originally scheduled to be played on Jan. 7-8 postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Bulldogs were coming off a bye week. The Huskies got back from a road trip to Denver at 5 p.m. Sunday. The players who played in both games against the Pioneers were given practice off on Monday.

The Huskies then played Tuesday, trailed 1-0 after the first period after a power-play goal by Tanner Laderoute. Then UMD took a 2-0 lead when Quinn Olson came out of the penalty box and scored on a breakaway at 7:28 of the second period.

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"At the start, we were trying to find our legs and find our energy," Meier said. "Finally, in the third, we found it. You saw how we can play when we found it. We've just got to get there faster.

"This league, you're going to be in these positions a lot," he said of the NCHC. "You've got to learn how to win these tight games. We just had that belief in the room and we went out and did it."

College Men's hockey players compete on Olympic size ice sheet
Minnesota Duluth forward Dominic James (17) and St. Cloud State defenseman Brendan Bushy (18) tangle near the puck during the first period on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Destined to play 3, 6 more times?

The Huskies (5-6-2 NCHC, 14-9-2 overall) moved within five points of the fourth-place Bulldogs (7-4-3, 14-10-3). The top four teams at the end of the regular season will play host to a best-of-three NCHC playoff series.

This was the first of four games the teams will play against one another. The next meeting is scheduled to be played at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Brooks Center and the two teams finish the regular season with a series on March 4-5 at Amsoil Arena.

Due to the pandemic, SCSU and UMD played six times during the regular season in 2020-21 and then met in the semifinals of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff with the Huskies winning five of those games, including 3-2 in the conference semifinals.

Incidentally, with the tie, the Huskies remained at No. 10 in the PairWise Rankings, while the Bulldogs dropped one spot to No. 8. The PairWise try to mimic the criteria used by the NCAA Division I committee to pick the 16-team national tournament field after the conference playoffs.

College Men's hockey players compete on Olympic size ice sheet
St. Cloud State goaltender David Hrenak (34) makes a save against Minnesota Duluth on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

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Video review in the shootout

Add another oddity to an unusual game. There was a long video review on a goal in the shootout.

In the shootout, it is a best-of-three shots to gain the extra point. UMD led 2-1 after a goal by Kobe Roth.

Jami Krannila was the last shooter for the Huskies with a chance to tie the shootout. Krannila went in, made a move and stuffed in a shot. The play was challenged and it went to a long video review by the officials.

After the review, Krannila's goal counted.

"They thought Jami had pushed his pad in with the stick prior to (the puck) crossing the goal line," Shyiak said. "They called a good goal on the ice. We rated it up top and it was a good goal.

"It's out of our control," he said of the long review by the officials. "Jami was pretty confident that he had scored. We have our hockey ops guy upstairs (R.J. Enga) radioing it down and he said it was good. You'd have been a little nervous if he said it wasn't a goal ... We weren't worried too much about it."

That goal only pushed the shootout to a fourth round. Miettinen scored to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead. Then David Hrenak stopped Kobe Bender's shot to seal the win.

"I knew I had it, but I just couldn't stop sliding back," said Hrenak, who jumped up in jubilation after he saw the puck skid to the outside of the post. "Good that it didn't go in.

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"You're just trying to stop the next one," said Hrenak, who made 28 saves before the shootout. "Obviously, I didn't on the first two. Third one hit the post and the fourth one β€” finally β€” I was able to stop."

No. 10 SCSU 2, No. 7 UMD 2
(SCSU wins shootout, 3-2)

UMD 1-1-0-0β€”2

SCSU 0-0-2-0β€”2

First period scoring β€” 1. UMD, Tanner Laderoute 7 (Koby Bender 10, Wyatt Kaiser 10) 16:09 (pp). Penalties β€” SCSU, Zach Okabe (hooking) 1:43; UMD, Carter Loney (high-sticking) 5:42; SCSU, Jami Krannila (slashing) 15:39; UMD, Jesse Jacques (slashing) 18:41.

Second period scoring β€” 2. UMD, Quinn Olson 6 (Luke Loheit 3) 7:28. Penalties β€” SCSU, Ondrej Trejbal (embellishment) 1:55; UMD, Olson (tripping) 5:20.

Third period scoring β€” 3. SCSU, Seamus Donohue 1 (Josh Luedtke 5, Nolan Walker 10) 2:51; 4. SCSU, Spencer Meier 3 (Kevin Fitzgerald 16, Krannila 10) 19:01 (ea). Penalties β€” SCSU, Fitzgerald (hooking) 13:44.

Overtime scoring β€” None. Penalties β€” None.

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Shootout goals β€” SCSU, Kevin Fitzgerald, Jami Krannila, Veeti Miettinen; UMD, Quinn Olson, Kobe Roth.

Goalie saves β€” UMD, Ryan Fanti 6-9-11-4β€”30 (2 GA). SCSU, David Hrenak 5-15-6-2β€”28 (2 GA).

Penalties-minutes β€” UMD 3-6; SCSU 4-8.

Power plays (shots) β€” UMD 1-4 (4 shots); SCSU 0-3 (7 shots).

Faceoffs β€” SCSU 35-28.

Referees β€” Tom Sterns and Brandon Schmitt.

Linesemen β€” Dana Penkivech and Tony Aronson.

Three stars of the game β€” 1. Miettinen (SCSU), 2. Meier (SCSU), 3. Hrenak (SCSU).

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Attendance β€” 3,842.

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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