NCHC Snapshot: St. Cloud State
The Huskies took three of four from Miami last season, falling in Oxford 3-2 back in February. The Huskies played well throughout conference play in 2015-16 campaign, finishing 17-6-1 for a .750 winning percentage.
NCAA TITLES: 0.
COACH: Bob Motzko (12th season 235-164-42 .694 winning percentage).
2015-16 RECORD: 31-9-1 (.729); 17-6-1 in NCHC (.750, 2nd place in the league).
POSTSEASON RESULT: Lost 5-4 to Ferris State in the regional semifinals.
RINK (capacity): Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, St. Cloud, Minn. (5,159).
LAST SEASON VS. MIAMI: 3-1 (Oct. 30-31 at St. Cloud: SCSU won 3-0 and 3-1; Feb. 5-6 in Oxford SCSU won 5-1, lost 3-2 in Oxford).
ALL-TIME SERIES: Miami leads, 14-10-2.
SCHEDULE VS. MIAMI: In Oxford Jan. 6-7, in St. Cloud Feb. 10-11.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: D/F (C) Ben Storm (COL 153rd pick overall in 2013), F Patrick Russell, G Charlie Lindgren.
KEY NEW FACES: D Dennis Cholowski (Selected 20th overall by DET in 2016). F Jack Poehling, F Nick Poehling, F Ryan Poehling, F Jack Wahlin.
NOTES: St. Cloud State has finished first, sixth, and second in the eight-team NCHC in the past three seasons.
The Huskies scored 175 goals last season, while only allowing 90 goals to pass through the SCSU defense. Five of the top six point leaders for St. Cloud have graduated, including 2015-16 top goal scorer Joey Benik (23-25-48).
Patrick Russell is the team’s top returning scorer with 41 points, including 21 assists, and Russell was third on the team in goals (20), averaging exactly one point per game.
The SCSU defense corps will be led by 6-feet-7 senior captain Ben Storm. St. Cloud will also return sophomore Jimmy Schuldt and senior Niklas Nevalainen who tallied 21 assists each, tops among returning blue liners.
Senior goalie Charlie Lindgren will be back between the pipes for the Huskies. Lindgren was solid in the crease in 40 games last year, totaling a 30-9-1 record with a .925 save percentage, shutting out five opponents along the way.
St. Cloud State led the NCHC in scoring within the conference averaging 4.33 goals per game. The Huskies took advantage of opponents’ penalties, scoring 21 times on 81 power plays, for a conference- best 25.9 percent on the man advantage.
The Huskies have plenty of optimism coming off a second place finish in the NCHC. SCSU are predicted to finish fourth in the early pre-season polls in the stacked conference. St. Cloud State will be a team to keep an eye on throughout the season, as it begins the year seventh in the NCAA.