Two seasons in a row, St. Cloud State has entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed only to lose in the first round.
Air Force ended the Huskies’ season in 2017-18 and American International took SCSU down this spring in the regional semifinal round.
St. Cloud State is looking to avenge those back-to-back first-round upset defeats in the NCAAs, but the Huskies suffered some major losses.
View From the Glass takes a look at SCSU in Part VI of its seven-part 2019-20 preview series.
ST. CLOUD STATE HUSKIES
NCAA TITLES: None.
COACH: Brett Larson (second season, 30-6-3, .808).
2018-19 RECORD: 30-6-3 (19-2-3 NCHC).
2019 POSTSEASON: Lost to American International, 2-1 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
RINK (capacity): Herb Brooks National Hockey Center (5,159).
MIAMI VS. ST. CLOUD STATE LAST SEASON: 0-4-2.
ALL-TIME SERIES: St. Cloud State leads, 20-17-4.
SCHEDULE VS. MIAMI: Nov. 15-16 – at Miami; Jan. 31-Feb. 1 – at St. Cloud State.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: D Jack Ahcan, F Nick Poehling, F Jack Poehling, F Easton Brodzinski, F Sam Hentges, F Nick Perbix, F Nolan Walker.
KEY NEW FACES: D Ondrej Trejbal, F Chase Brand, G Joey Lamoreaux, F Jami Krannila.
KEY LOSSES: F Patrick Newell, F Blake Lizotte, F Robby Jackson, F Ryan Poehling, D Jimmy Schult, D Jon Lizotte, G Jeff Smith.
NOTES: Bob Motzko moved downstate to take the head coaching job at Minnesota prior to 2018-19, and all new coach Brett Larson did was win 30 games in his first season at the helm of St. Cloud State.
The Huskies averaged exactly four goals per game in 2018-19. They lost their top four scoring forwards but have Nos 5-9 all back this fall.
Easton Brodzinski is SCSU’s top returning points-producing forwards, having scored 16 times and earned 13 assists. Nolan Walker also eclipsed the 25-point mark in 2018-19, going 8-19-27 as a freshman while taking just two minor penalties.
Two more sophomore forwards notched 10 goals their rookie seasons – Wild draftee Sam Hentges, who also notched 10 helpers for 20 points, and Kevin Fitzgerald who added eight assists.
Two Poehlings remain at St. Cloud State, as Jack and Nick finished with 18 and 17 points, respectively and they enter their senior seasons.
The Huskies’ 10-player freshman class includes six forwards, and they have three members of each of the remaining classes up front.
St. Cloud State’s defense corps that helped hold opponents to fewer than 25 shots per game is led by Jack Ahcan, who recorded 34 points and has 78 for his career, going plus-30 last season.
Luke Jaycox is the lone returning multi-season regular on the blueline, having logged 78 games in his first two campaigns.
Freshman Nick Perbix, a Tampa Bay draft pick, impressed as a freshman with a 5-15-20 line and plus-24 rating.
Sophomores Spencer Meier and Brendan Bushy both logged 38 games in their rookie seasons.
David Hrenak returns in net following a 23-5-2 campaign in which he posted a 2.18 goals-against average despite finishing with a pedestrian .906 save percentage.
Despite the Huskies’ key losses, with a remarkable 50-15-9 record the past two seasons, this team will still be a major threat to win the Penrose in 2019-20.
Of its 10 incoming freshmen, none are NHL draftees and only two played in the USHL, the top-tier juniors league in the U.S., which is suprising considering the success this program has had the past few years.
SCSU is taking on a more European flare, adding Finnish forward Jami Krannila and Czech defenseman Ondrej Trejbal.
Miami has struggled against the Huskies in recent seasons, going just 1-10-2 vs. St. Cloud State since early 2017.
These teams played six times in 2018-19, with a pair of ties in Oxford and St. Cloud State winning all four contests on its home ice.