Strange that a pair of NCHC foes that have played almost exclusively intra-conference games since December 2019 have not met in 51 weeks.
But Miami and St. Cloud State haven’t faced each other since Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2020 when the Huskies swept the RedHawks on SCSU’s home ice.
Sixth-ranked St. Cloud State is second in the league with 27 points, just two behind North Dakota.
This series was originally slated for three games, but the additional contest was scrapped last month.
WHO: Miami RedHawks (4-8-2) at No. 6 St. Cloud State Huskies (9-6).
WHERE: Herb Brooks National Hockey Center (0), St. Cloud, Minn.
WHEN: Friday – 8:37 p.m.; Saturday – 7:07 p.m.
ST. CLOUD STATE RADIO: KZRV-FM (96.7) and KVSC-FM (88.1), St. Cloud, Minn.
STREAMING: NCHC.tv ($).
NOTES: St. Cloud State had won five of six heading into last weekend’s series vs. a struggling Western Michigan team, earning 16 games in that span.
But the Broncos dominated the Huskies, earning the sweep while outscoring them, 9-3.
Miami’s last four games have been against WMU, with the RedHawks going 2-1-1.
SCSU’s offense – which was the model of consistency with the team scoring three, four or five goals in nine of its first 11 contests – has found the net just four times in its last three.
The Huskies’ three NHL draftees are their three leading points producers thus far. Veeti Miettinen leads the team in goals (7), power play goals (4) and points (14), Nick Perbix has five goals and a team-best eight assists, and Sam Hentges is 5-5-10.
Miettinen, a freshman and sixth-round pick of Toronto last season, and Sam Hentges, selected by Minnesota in 2018, are both forwards, and Perbix patrols the blue line.
St. Cloud State has had plenty of scoring depth up front. Including Miettinen and Hentges, seven Huskies forwards are averaging over a half point a game.
Easton Brodzinski, Kevin Fitzgerald, Jami Krannila and Nolan Walker all have nine points, and Zach Okabe is 2-6-8.
On defense, Perbix, who was taken by Tampa Bay in 2017, has two game-winning goals already this season.
Seniors Seamus Donohue and Luke Jaycox are both four-year starters with a combined 259 games played.
Spencer Meier is down offensively this season, but he’s still a solid defenseman with five points and a plus-2 rating.
Brendan Bushy, Brady Ziemer and Ondrej Trejbal have been the other three regular starters on the back end.
David Hrenak has started 12 of 15 games in net for St. Cloud State this season. He is 7-5 with a .908 save percentage and 2.62 goals-against average.
The senior has made 100 starts and has 56 career wins and 10 shutouts.
Hrenak’s backup, sophomore Jaxon Castor, has his eyes on the Huskies’ starting job next season and has a .900 save percentage and 1.99 GAA.
Miami has struggled miserably against St. Cloud State in recent years. The RedHawks have lost eight straight games to the Huskies and are winless in their last 11 meetings (0-9-2) and 1-14-2 in the most recent 17 contests.
MU was scheduled to play Minn.-Duluth last weekend but the series was moved to next week due to COVID cases among the Huskies.
Bray Crowder, Scott Corbett and Jack Olmstead were all banged up and missed the RedHawks’ home series two weeks ago, so the unexpected week off could help one or all return to action.
Matt Barry leads Miami with 10 points and also has the team’s longest scoring streak at four games. He is 0-5-5 in that span.