No. 4 St. Cloud State men’s hockey powered to a 2-0 shutout to sweep NCHC rival No. 3 Denver on Saturday thanks to a big second period for the second night in a row.
The Huskies took Friday’s Game 1, 7-3, riding a four-goal middle frame to the victory. On Saturday, they scored both their goals in the second period. The sweep moves them into a tie with the Pioneers for first place in the conference.
Jack Rogers and Zach Okabe each scored their second of the weekend for SCSU (18-6-0, 10-4-0 NCHC), who has won three straight, and Jaxon Castor made 19 saves. Jami Krannila had two assists.
Magnus Chrona made 21 saves in the loss for the Pios (19-7-0, 10-4-0 NCHC), who are 3-3-0 since the semester break. DU had the Huskies busy in their own end, out-attempting them 50-33 on the night.
After a scoreless first period, Rogers broke the stalemate 7:32 into the second. St. Cloud’s forecheck forced a turnover, and the loose puck trickled in front of the crease, where Rogers shoveled a backhand that found a way through.
Okabe doubled the lead just 2:56 later. Krannila walked in and fired from the top of the right circle, the rebound jumped right to Okabe, and he buried it top shelf.
The Pios nearly cut it to 2-1 with 1:15 to go in the middle frame when Casey Dornbach cut into the offensive zone and sent a wrist shot that squeaked through Castor and over the goal line. However, one of the officials had blown the play dead before the puck crossed the line, so the goal did not count.
Pioneers score but the officials blew the whistle a bit early... if you ask us.— Denver Hockey (@DU_Hockey) January 22, 2023
The play was reviewed and upheld. No goal. Still 2-0 SCSU. pic.twitter.com/KE1JtDXLcQ
St. Cloud went 1 for 2 on the power play, while Denver went 0 for 1.
The Huskies will travel to Minnesota Duluth for a series with the Bulldogs next weekend, while the Pioneers will return home to face cross-state foe, Colorado College.