That was a hockey game that is tough to get a grip on.
The St. Cloud State men’s hockey team blew a two-goal lead.
Western Michigan bull-rushed the Huskies with a four-goal second period.
There were four goals in the last 1:21 to make the score look… odd.
However you want to cut it, here’s the quick of it: The Broncos defeated the Huskies 7-5 in an NCHC game at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
It was the first home loss of the season for the Huskies, who were 10-0-1 at home going into the contest.
OK, so the Huskies scored the last three goals of the first period to take a 3-1 lead into the second. St. Cloud State was 2-for-4 on the power play in the first period to get the lead.
But there were nine penalties in the period and, perhaps most importantly, the Huskies took the last penalty of the period.
St. Cloud State’s Ryan Poehling took a double minor for cross-checking and unsportsmanlike conduct at 19:59. Western Michigan’s Dawson DiPietro also took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at 19:59, but the Broncos were on the power play to start the second.
St. Cloud State’s Judd Peterson had his stick get snapped on the faceoff to open the period, a few seconds later, defenseman Will Borgen lost his stick and the Broncos pounced with a power-play goal by Hugh McGing at 14 seconds.
The Huskies seemed to get unhinged more as the period went on and the Broncos scored two more goals in the first 8:40 to give the Broncos a 4-3 lead.
St. Cloud State replaced starting goalie Jeff Smith after the third goal of the period with David Hrenak.
He gave up one goal the rest of the way.
But here’s something else to take out of what happened in the second period: St. Cloud had five power plays in the second period and managed … ONE shot on goal. That included 1:59 of a 5-on-3 power play.
Wait, there’s more. On that 5-on-3 power play, the Huskies played a portion of it with only four players on the ice because a St. Cloud State forward did not get onto the ice.
So the Huskies trailed 5-3 going into the third period and pulled Hrenak for an extra attacker with 2:15 left in the game.
Western Michigan got an empty-net goal by Lawton Courtnall at 18:39 to make it 6-3.
Then with 27 seconds left, the Huskies’ Blake Winiecki scores off a shot from the wing to get it back to 6-4.
Then Courtnall scores another empty-net goal with 15 seconds left.
Wait, there’s more.
Then Robby Jackson gets credit for a goal that bounced off the boards and off a Western Michigan defenseman and the back of goalie Ben Blacker for a goal with 2 seconds left.
Yeah, it was bizarre.
There were 17 penalties for 37 minutes. St. Cloud State was 2-for-10 on the power play, Western Michigan was 2-for-6.
The Broncos were, obviously, not pleased with how they played in the second period. They came out and knocked St. Cloud State around with some physical play and the Huskies got flustered.
For a long stretch of Friday’s game, the Huskies lost their composure and their focus and they paid for it.
Teams have games where this happens during a long season.
But the Huskies need to make sure that they find a way to be more mentally tough in games like that down the stretch if they are going to win their second NCHC regular season title.
This is the opinion of Mick Hatten. Follow @mickhatten on Twitter, Instagram @MickHatten and at Facebook.com/sctimesmick. Contact him at 259-3621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WESTERN MICHIGAN 7, SCSU 5
First period scoring:
1. WM — Hugh McGing (Luke Bafia) 4:22.
2. SCSU — Judd Peterson 3 (Blake Winiecki, Will Borgen) 5:51.
3. SCSU — Robby Jackson 8 (Jimmy Schuldt, Mikey Eyssimont) 12:26 (pp).
4. SCSU — Blake Lizotte 2 (Jack Ahcan, Ryan Poehling) 17:38 (pp).
Penalties: WM — Allison (slashing) 5:51; SCSU — Borgen (holding) 9:08; WM — Orchard (hooking) 11:42; WM — Conrad (tripping) 16:39; WM — Stoykewych (slashing) 19:35; SCSU — Winiecki (elbowing) 19:47; SCSU — R. Poehling (unsportsmanlike conduct, cross-checking) 19:59; WM — DiPietro (unsportsmanlike conduct) 19:59.
Second period scoring:
5. WM — Hugh McGing 8 (Wade Allison, Colt Conrad) :14 (pp).
6. WM — Dawson DiPietro 10 (Corey Schueneman, Jade McMullen) 5:30 (pp).
7. WM — Jade McMullen 4 (Schuenemann) 8:40.
8. WM — Neal Goff 1 (DiPietro, Allison) 12:19.
Penalties: WM — McGing (boarding) 1:16; SCSU — Peterson (tripping) 5:15; WM — DiPietro (slashing, double minor) 14:34; WM — Bafia (interference) 16:37.
Third period scoring:
9. WM — Lawton Courtnall 2 (Kale Bennett) 18:39 (en).
10. SCSU — Blake Winiecki 7 (Easton Brodzinski, Mika Ilvonen) 19:33.
11. WM — Courtnall 3 (Paul Stoykewych, Cam Lee) 19:45 (en).
12. SCSU — Jackson 9 (unassisted) 19:58.
Shots on goal: WM — 7-13-8—28; SCSU — 12-5-14—31. Goaltenders: WM —Ben Blacker (26 saves); SCSU — Jeff Smith (11 saves, 4 goals), David Hrenak (in at 8:40 of 2nd, 10 saves, 1 goal). Power-play goals, opportunities: WM — 2-for-6; SCSU — 2-for-10 . Penalties: WM — 0 for 0 minutes; SCSU — 0 for 0 minutes. Faceoffs: SCSU 36-30. Referees: Todd Anderson and Nathan Wieler. Linesmen: Jeff Schultz and Brandon Schmitt. Marty Sundvall Memorial Three Stars of the Game sponsored by St. Cloud Times: 1. McGing (WM), 2. DiPietro (WM), 3. McMullen (WM). Attendance: 3,862.