Series of the Week: St. Cloud State vs. Denver
In perhaps the series of the season, No. 1 St. Cloud State and No. 4 Denver are truly saving the best for last in the last few weeks before tournament play begins.
Both teams have the same rankings in the PairWise rankings as well.
The Huskies of St. Cloud State enter this pivotal weekend series with a record of 20-6-4 and the Pioneers from Denver enter with a record of
St. Cloud State enters the series averaging just a hair under four goals per game while holding its opponents to just over two goals per game.
The Huskies are also extremely dominant when it comes to crunch time in the third period. They have outscored their opponents 52-25 and that is a major reason as to why they have been so successful.
Junior forward Mikey Eyssimont and junior forward Robby Jackson are tied for the most goals on the team tallying 14 goals a-piece. The two also combined for 38 assists this season.
Junior defensemen Jimmy Schuldt is third in points for the Huskies this season so far racking up seven goals alongside 24 assists. The smooth stick handler will be an integral part of the Huskies’ success this weekend.
Freshman goalie David Hrenak and junior goalie Jeff Smith have both seen a lot of action in net this season.
The freshman net-minder Hrenak has seen action in 15 games while allowing 27 goals, saving 344 shots, allowing 1.96 goals per game, racking up a save percentage of .927, and a record of 9-3.
Junior Jeff Smith has seen action in 18 games while allowing 43 goals, saving 434 shots, allowing 2.62 goals per game, a save percentage of .910 and a record of 11-3-4.
For the Pioneers, they are also looking to complete a series sweep over the No. 1 team in the country.
Denver’s offense averages under three and a half goals per game while surrendering just over two goals per game.
The Pioneers have arguably one of the most dangerous players in the country and a potential Hobey Baker Award winner in Henrik Borgström.
The Finnish sensation enters the weekend series leading Denver in points with 39 while scoring 18 goals and accumulating 21 assists.
The Denver offense is extremely dangerous with two other players besides Borgström scoring more than 30 points this season.
Dylan Gambrell and Troy Terry have scored 36 points and 32 points respectively while accounting for a combined 22 goals and 46 assists.
Borgström, Gambrell, and Terry are all NHL prospects with Borgström being a first round pick for the Florida Panthers, Gambrell being selected by San Jose Sharks and Troy Terry being drafted by the Anaheim Ducks.
Troy Terry is also returning from South Korea where he represented the United States in the Winter Olympic Games.
In net, Denver relies heavily on senior Tanner Jaillet.
In 30 games this season, Jaillet has played in 28 of them while saving 685 shots, giving up an average of 1.88 goals per game, allowing 53 goals, holding a save percentage of .928 with a record of 16-6-6.
The Huskies are 13-2-1 at the friendly confines of the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center and were swept in embarrassing fashion in the Mile-High City on November 4-2 and 5-1 respectively.
If the Pioneers sweep the Huskies, they will take possession of first place in the NCHC.
These two games have slugfest written all over them and there is no doubt that they will bring 120 minutes of exciting powerhouse hockey.
Friday’s battle will be televised on CBS Sports Network and Saturday’s bout will be televised on FOX College Sports.
This series is one that you won’t want to miss! NCHC bragging rights and championship implications are on the line in the land of 10,000 Lakes!
Christopher Hess is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in history. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.