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SCSU's Brian Idalski, OSU's Nadine Muzerall are WCHA Co-Coaches of the Year

Idalski helped lead the Huskies to tie the program record for most wins in a season. Muzerall led the Buckeyes to their first WCHA regular season title.

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St. Cloud State women's hockey head coach Brian Idalski.
Courtesy of St. Cloud State University athletics

It is fair to say that Brian Idalski had a big impact on the St. Cloud State women's hockey team in his first season as the Huskies' head coach.

Idalski led SCSU to an 18-18-1 overall record, which included going 11-16-1 in WCHA games. The 18 wins ties the program record for most wins in a season (18-15-5 in 2007-08, 18-18-1 in 2005-06) and the second-most WCHA wins in a season (13-14-1 in 2005-06). All that came one season after the Huskies were 4-20-3 in the WCHA and 9-23-3 overall.

The Huskies' fifth-place finish was its best since finishing fifth in 2015-16 and SCSU is ranked No. 12 in the national polls. SCSU had not been ranked in the polls since 2009.

For the first time in 13 years, the Huskies defeated or earned a point from all seven conference opponents — taking down then-No. 1 Minnesota (4-1, Nov. 7), shutting out then-No. 8 Wisconsin (1-0, Feb. 3) and taking both then-No. 1 Ohio State (Jan. 21) and then-No. 7 Minnesota Duluth (Feb. 10) to overtime.

SCSU led the NCAA and set a program record with 576 blocked shots while holding opponents to 2.59 goals — their second-best mark — and 32.24 shots-per-game — its best mark since 2015-16. St. Cloud State’s goaltenders anchored the rejuvenated defense, recording the program’s third-best team save percentage (.920) and second-best goals-against average (2.58). The Huskies recorded a program record six shutouts in 2022-23.


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Offensively, St. Cloud State scored 87 goals — eclipsing 66 for the first time since 2009-10 and standing as the program’s most since that same season. The Huskies netted 64 even-strength goals, good for second-most all-time, on a 10.43% shooting percentage that becomes the program’s third-best mark and highest since 2000-01. For the first time since 2009-10, four Huskies recorded 20-point seasons while two defenders provided double-digit scoring seasons for the first time since 2017-18.

Special teams took a major step forward under Idalski as the Huskies power play was at 20.41% (tied for 17th in the nation) while the penalty kill improved from a 77.27% mark in 2021-22 to 85.5% (13th) in 2022-23. Both marks stand fourth-best in program history while the club’s 20 power-play goals were the most since 2009-10.

Nine Huskies set or matched career-high point totals in 2022-23 while Dayle Ross set a program record with 104 blocks, Jenniina Nylund tied the program’s record with five game-winning goals and JoJo Chobak broke the single-season mark with five shutouts. Klára Hymlárová scored 17 goals — eighth-most in Huskies history — and closed the regular season as the NCAA’s power-play goal leader with eight. Ross and sophomore defender Grace Wolfe had 15 and 18 points, respectively, while ranking No. 1 and No. 3 all-time in single-season blocks with 104 and 83, respectively. The SCSU goaltending duo of Sanni Ahola and JoJo Chobak thrived in a tandem, each recording save percentages of .923 with GAA marks of 2.50 and 2.46 to help anchor the turnaround.

Idalski becomes the program’s second WCHA Coach of the Year recipient alongside Kerry Wethington-Brodt (2000-01).

He shares the honor with Muzerall, who helped the defending national champion Buckeyes to a title, finishing two points ahead of Minnesota. Muzerall's team is 30-4-2 and she has been named WCHA Coach of the Year four times in her seven seasons. The Buckeyes are 157-67-19 in Muzerall's tenure.

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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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