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SCSU knocks off top-ranked Minnesota, snaps 61-game winless streak to Gophers

Unranked Huskies had not defeated Gophers since Feb. 13, 2010. Junior Sanni Ahola has big game in goal for SCSU

SCSU Gophers 11 7 22.jpg
St. Cloud State's Bailey Burton (left) and Taylor Lind (13) celebrate Burton's rebound goal in the second period against top-ranked Minnesota in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Face-off Classic on Nov. 7, 2022, at Andover Community Center in Andover, Minn.
Courtesy of Thomas Breach / St. Cloud State University Athletics

ANDOVER, Minn. — Something that has not happened since 2010 occurred on Monday, Nov. 7, at Andover Community Center.

The St. Cloud State women's hockey team beat top-ranked Minnesota 4-1 in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Face-off Classic before a sold-out crowd. It was a nonconference game.

"(The Gophers) have so many threats up and down their lineup that, I don't know that even with a 4-1 lead, you ever feel comfortable," said Brian Idalski, who is in his first season as SCSU's head coach. "They're that dynamic.

"But hat's off to the whole (SCSU) group. I thought everyone competed and battled and did a great job today."

The Huskies had not beaten the Gophers since a 6-3 victory on Feb. 13, 2010, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. Since that win, the Huskies were 0-60-1 in the series going into Monday's game. The win is the fourth for SCSU in the all-time series against the Gophers, who are 101-4-3 against the Huskies.

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It was also the first time SCSU has beaten a No. 1-ranked opponent since a 2-1 win over Wisconsin on Oct. 19, 2007, against Wisconsin in St. Cloud.

"That was a pretty big monkey on a lot of people's backs about beating a quality opponent and not just Minnesota — it's been awhile," said Idalski, whose team blocked 22 shots. "For them to see their hard work already paying off early in the season ... that was a special moment."

"That's huge," Huskies captain Taylor Lind said. "It's exciting, but we want to remember that it's just another win. We want to roll into this weekend. We want to show people that we're a top five team — and we know it. We need everyone else to believe it, so we're going to keep putting in the work in."

The Huskies led 2-0 after the first period and 3-1 after the second period.

St. Cloud State got goals from Klara Hymlarova (13:40 of the first), Addi Scribner (19:19 of first), Bailey Burton (:23 of seocnd) and Allie Cornelius (8:09 of third) in the game.

It was the first goals of the season for both Burton, a transfer from Providence, and Cornelius. Hymlarova, who played on the Czechia Olympic team, also had an assist.

"I think our girls earned it," Burton said. "We played hard and fought hard and it was well-deserved."

Sanni Ahola got the win in goal for the Huskies, who have given up three goals in their last five games and five goals in their last six games. Ahola, a junior from Finland, made 34 saves to improve to 4-4 with a 2.34 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. She has given up two goals over her last three starts.

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"(Ahola's) been playing at a super high level where she's taken her game to another level," Idalski said. "A lot of that is with her off-ice habits, taking care of herself and I think she's in a super good spot mentally."

The Huskies (7-6-0 overall) have won five straight games for the first time since they won six straight during the 2015-16 season.

The lone goal for the Gophers (9-1-1) was from Taylor Heise at 8:41 of the second period. Minnesota plays at 2 p.m. Saturday against Wisconsin (10-2) in Madison, Wis.

St. Cloud State plays host to Minnesota Duluth (7-5-0) at 3 p.m. Friday (B1G+) at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. The Bulldogs reached the national championship game last season.

"We just need to play like we did today — gritty, fight hard and I think we could take these two wins home," Burton said of playing the Bulldogs.

SCSU Gophers 11 7 22 2.jpg
St. Cloud State's Bailey Burton (4) scores a power-play goal in the second period against the University of Minnesota in a nonconference game on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, at Andover Community Center in Andover, Minn.
Courtesy of Thomas Breach / St. Cloud State University Athletics
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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
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