Article Written by Samantha Roering. Photo by Samantha Roering.
Fans gathered in the Herb Brooks Center on Saturday night in anticipation of a new season of men’s hockey. They were loud, energized, and ready to cheer their team on in the opening night of the season.
“It was awesome. Unreal atmosphere. I think it gave our bench a lot of energy,” SCSU’s captain, Dylan Anhorn, said of the crowd.
The team saw several changes in the offseason, including the departures of key talent. It’ll be hard to replace their production on the ice, with many needing to step up into elevated roles. Luckily, SCSU has some youth waiting in the wings, ready to contribute at the NCAA level.
Barrett Hall, a freshman from Apple Valley, Minnesota, waited only 3 minutes before making an impact.
His power-play goal, assisted by Veeti Miettinen and Dylan Anhorn, got the Huskies on the board first.
However, St. Thomas didn’t wait long to counter, with Jake Braccini tying it up less than two minutes later.
That’s how most of the game was played, as a back-and-forth battle, where special teams factored in immensely.
All 4 of SCSU’s goals came from the power play, where they capitalized on 4 of 6 opportunities with the extra man.
In his first game since a lower-body injury caused him to end the previous season early, Dylan Anhorn found the scoresheet and was a big part of the team’s scoring chances. He had a goal and an assist in his return.
Anhorn also had a role in the penalty problem that night. He took three minor penalties for six penalty minutes.
Overall, the team ended up with 17 penalty minutes on the night, including a five-minute major, part of it played on a 5-on-3 disadvantage.
The penalty kill was impressive for the majority of the game. Smart defensive plays and big saves from Dominic Basse helped them out of five of the seven shorthanded stints without damage.
“I think we killed pretty well for most of the game. When we gave up as many power plays as we did, myself being a big part of that, they’re gonna score eventually,” Dylan Anhorn said about the team’s penalty kill.
The two goals they gave up on the penalty kill made a difference in the game. Moving forward, playing with more discipline is necessary for the Huskies.
On the other side of special teams, power-play goals from SCSU’s Zach Okabe and Veeti Miettinen kept them in the game as it intensified.
St. Cloud had numerous opportunities to pull ahead after tying it up in the third but would ultimately fall short, needing overtime to settle the game.
“It felt like we were going to get it done there in the third. It just didn’t happen, unfortunately,” said Anhorn.
Overtime was not friendly to the Huskies. UST won the opening draw and the game soon after. Ryder Donovan found the back of the net to give St. Thomas a 5-4 victory over St. Cloud. It was UST’s first-ever win versus the team.
SCSU will have another shot against the Tommies on Sunday at St. Thomas. They’ll look to come out fresh and secure their first win of the season.
The key to the game? Staying disciplined.
“We just got to stay out of the box more and we’ll be even more successful,” said Anhorn.