Article Written by Luke Paider. Photo by Samantha Roering. 

The St. Cloud State Huskies lost to the Denver Pioneers 7-2 on the Huskies Senior Night Saturday. With the win, the Pioneers passed the Huskies for second place in the NCHC standings. However, Saturday’s final score did not reflect how the game was played. The Huskies were able to out shoot the Pioneers 38-23 in the 60 minutes of action and won 10 more faceoffs than Denver winning 34 to the visitors 24.

The Huskies came out in the first period with a lot of energy after the loss to Denver the night before which they lost 6-2. Both head coaches knew it would be important to come out of the gates fast.

Denver Head Coach David Carle spoke before the game on how Denver needed to match the energy the Huskies would have to start.

The Huskies did just that, outshooting the Pioneers 10-5 in the first period and only allowing three 5 on 5 shots in the 20 minute frame. The Pioneers would still be the first to get on the scoreboard as with 20 seconds left in the period Sophomore Forward Aiden Thompson scored on Huskies goaltender Isaac Posch to give Denver the 1-0 lead at the first break.

When talking about the first period after the game SCSU Head Coach Brett Larson said it was “as good as they played all year.”

Denver would add to their lead in the 2nd period with a pair of goals from Sophomore Forward Tristan Lemyre and Junior Defensemen Sean Behrens both within the first 10 minutes of the 2nd period to make it 3-0.

The Huskies took 14 shots in the 2nd period including three from Junior Forward Mason Salquist but Denver Junior Goaltender Matt Davis continued to be up to the task maintaining his shutout of St. Cloud through two periods. For the overall weekend the Pioneers  outscored the Huskies 7-0 in the first 2 periods.

So the Huskies headed to the second intermission with a 10 shot advantage over the visiting Pioneers and yet found themselves at a 3-0 deficit. The message moving forward was simple, continue to play the hockey they had in the first two periods and the tides will turn.

The 3rd period had some high jinks added when under a minute into the period the fire alarms went off inside the Herb Brooks Center and while the alarms turned off within seconds the strobe lights continued to flash for several more minutes while play continued on the ice. Once there was a stoppage on the ice the referees did suspend play temporarily until the strobe lights could be turned off.

After the delay the clock became the enemy of the Huskies and because of that Coach Larson said they “had to cheat the game to create offense” and it cost them.

Denver scored 3 goals in the first 13 minutes of the 3rd period. The Huskies were left in a 6-0 hole at home but were able to give the fans something to cheer about when Mason Salquist scored his 5th goal of the season to get the Huskies on the board and cut the lead back to 5 with 6:12 left to go in the game.

Veeti Miettinen and Jack Devine would both add another goal for each club before the final horn to give Denver the 7-2 win. With that win Denver became the first team all season to sweep St. Cloud St. of any conference or Pairwise points.

After the game St. Cloud State honored seniors Veeti Miettinen, Dominic Basse, and Joe Molenaar for their contributions to the hockey program over their careers.

St. Cloud State will head up to Duluth for a pair of matchups with the Bulldogs. Those games will have major implications for NCHC playoff seeding for St. Cloud as they continue towards their end of season goal of winning the national title.

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