SCSU notebook: Emma Polusny adds another record, Olivia Cvar has a SportsCenter highlight, 2 go to Olympics
Fifth-year goalie found out about her latest program record via a teammate. Junior forward's goal lands a national TV highlight. Huskies are without 2 of their top forwards for the Olympics
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Goalie Emma Polusny has set many program standards for the St. Cloud State women's hockey team. She added one more to her list last weekend during a WCHA series split against Bemidji State.
Polusny, a graduate student from Mound, Minn., stopped 77 of the 80 shots she faced against the Beavers. She moved past Laura Gieselman for the Huskies' program lead in career saves. Gieselman had 3,077 saves for the Huskies from 1999-2003. Polusny has 3,103 saves with 11 regular season games left this season.
She is likely to pad that save total this weekend when St. Cloud State (3-12-1 WCHA, 8-13-1 overall) plays host to Wisconsin (13-3-2, 18-3-3) in a conference series at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. The Badgers are the defending national champions and are ranked Nos. 2/4 in the national polls and the teams play at 6 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday (BIG+) at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
Polusny set the record in the second game against Bemidji State.
"I didn't even know it was coming up that quick," Polusny said. "I guess the whole team knew that it was the 15th save — or something like that — that I was going to break it.
"So (Olivia Cvar) actually came up to me at the second intermission and said, 'Hey Pol, congrats on all-time saves' or whatever. And I was like, 'What? I did it today?' I didn't even know. But it's a cool experience to be able to share that with my teammates."
Polusny also owns the St. Cloud State career records in saves per game (33.4) and shutouts (6, tied for 1st). She is second all-time on the program's career save percentage (.919), third in career goals-against average (2.94) and tied for fourth in career wins (24).
Polusny arrived at St. Cloud State in the fall of 2018 after helping Mound-Westonka to its first two Class A state tournament appearances (2013 and 2017).
"She's just an individual who has come in and, ever since she's set foot on campus, been an inspiration," said St. Cloud State head coach Steve Macdonald, who has been with the program since 2014. "She's been a person who has wanted to push this program higher and further than it's been before. She's done everything within her power to be a leader on the ice, off the ice, academically ... she's just been such an integral part of this program that it's hard to describe in just a few words.
"What she brings on the ice is just this innate love of the game and an innate love of competing. During practice, you can hear her hooping and hollering when she makes a big save. When she gets scored on, she doesn't like it. But she'll get right back on the players when she makes the save the next time."
Polusny's outgoing personality is what makes her a draw to her teammates and part of why she is a captain on this season's team.
"Just her aura is so positive," Cvar said. "Sometimes (in practice), she'll rob me and I'll hear about it. It's just awesome to have someone like her on the ice. It makes you want to go harder and push yourself every single day in practice. I really appreciate her positivity in the dressing room and on the ice."
This is the fourth season where Polusny has been recognizable inside the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center for her voice.
"As soon as you start feeling comfortable with a team, you can become a little bit more vocal," she said. "By the end of my time in high school, I was hooting and hollering all the time on the ice.
"When I got to St. Cloud in my first year — you're always going to be quieter as a freshman. But I've been here five years now and it's pretty comfortable at this point in terms of being able to speak up and not worry too much about pissing anybody off. You know when to talk and when not to give somebody crap for a bad play or a good save on my part. The last three years here: I like to make practice fun and I like to let people know when I make a big save or let people know when they need to get their butt to the net."
This season, Polusny is 4-4-1 with a 2.79 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in 11 games. The save percentage and GAA are the best numbers for her since her freshman season (2.20 and .934 in 2017-18).
Cvar gets a moment on SportsCenter
Cvar, a junior forward from Stonewall, Manitoba, had both goals in St. Cloud State's 2-1 win on Jan. 21 at Bemidji State. One of the goals got her some notoriety.
Cvar scored at 15:57 of the first period to tie the game at 1-1. But it was the play that she made to score that got her some national attention. Cvar was being pulled down from behind when she flipped the puck up and under the crossbar to score the goal.
The highlight got a spot on ESPN SportsCenter's Top Plays for the day.
"It was an unreal experience," she said. "Courtney (Hall) passed me the puck on the boards and I knew there was one defender left. In my mind, I just wanted to cut to the middle because I like to do that. Last minute, I just decided to put it up top and, luckily, it went in.
"Just to have the support from my teammates was awesome. I'm so grateful that Thomas (Breach) and Emily (Ach) sending that in (to ESPN). I was just a really cool experience."
Breach is a graduate student in athletic communications and Ach is the team's director of video operations at SCSU.
Cvar has five goals, eight points and is tied for third on the team in blocked shots (20) in 22 games.
😱 + @oliviacvar_18 + 🚨 = #SCTop10 #HuskiesHockey 🐾 pic.twitter.com/8RRwN1RTSj— St. Cloud State WHockey (@SCSUHUSKIES_WHK) January 22, 2022
2 current Huskies, 1 recruit head to Olympics
Two St. Cloud State forwards and one Huskies recruit will play in the Olympics in hockey.
Senior forward Jenniina Nylund will play for Finland. Nylund has seven goals and 15 points in 16 games this season for the Huskies. She also played for the Finnish team in the Women's World Championships right before the start of this season.
Junior forward Klara Hymlarova, who is from Opava, Czech Republic, will play for Czechia. Hymlarova has two goals and five points in 12 games this season for the Huskies. She also played for Czechia in the Olympic qualifying tournament and in the Women's World Championships.
St. Cloud State recruit Laura Zimmermann will play for Switzerland. She is an 18-year-old forward and has 16 goals and 16 assists in 21 games playing for EV Bomo Thun in the Swiss Women's Hockey League. She also played for Switzerland in the Women's World Championships.
New game times
Because of men's hockey having games rescheduled, the Huskies women's hockey game against Ohio State on Feb. 8 will now start at 2 p.m. The Huskies will play at 3 p.m. Feb. 11 against Minnesota at the Brooks Center.