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St. Cloud State's big question: Who will replace Hrenak in goal?

The Huskies will utitize several metrics, including keeping track of goalie records in small area games.

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St. Cloud State goaltender Jaxon Castor (40) eyes the puck as it bounces from his glove in the first period Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020 at Baxter Arena in the NCHC Pod in Omaha. Tyler Schank / Forum News Service
Tyler Schank / Forum News Service

ST. PAUL — Yes, St. Cloud State lost 44.4% of its goals and 43% of their points from last season due to graduation. But the biggest question going into the season is who is going to replace David Hrenak in goal?

Hrenak set school records for career games played (146), career wins (82) and career shutouts (14) from 2017-22.

Look for Dominic Basse (transfer from Colorado College ) (41 college games over two seasons) and senior Jaxon Castor (19 games over three seasons) to get the first looks, though they are being pushed James Gray , who was named the best goaltender on the Ontario Junior Hockey League last season.

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"We've got a couple goalies with college hockey experience and, early, I think those guys are going to battle it out," head coach Brett Larson said. "Jimmy Gray, the OJHL Goalie of the Year last year, is looking really sharp in practice already and I think is pushing those guys. Basse and Castor can see that they've got a young guy, who is pushing them and is not going to be happy about not playing. He's going to push to get in the lineup.

"Early, I think experience matters and those guys, who have played big-time college hockey games, will probably fight it out."

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Former Colorado College goaltender Dominic Basse (22) has transferred to St. Cloud State.
Tyler Schank / Forum News Service

Larson said that volunteer goalie coach Matt Bertram is going to continue with the formula he used last season with working with the goalies before practice starts.

"We changed the way we practice last year where goalie practice wasn't after practice, but it was before," Larson said. "We made it a priority (last season) rather than when we had time. David would be the first to tell you that it helped him have the best year of his career.

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"Within that extra goalie work, there's competition... I rely on Matt and his evaluation throughout that. We also create some ways to have some tangible numbers. We have small area game tournaments where we keep the goalie records. They're competing against the guy across from him. I think that's also a good way to instill a compete level in that group."

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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