St. Cloud was the No. 1 overall seed in both 2017-18 and 2018-19 but was upset in the first round both seasons, labeling the Huskies as a team that couldn’t win when it counted.
SCSU attempted to crush that reputation last season, advancing to the national championship after NCAA Tournament wins over Boston University, Boston College and Minesota State before falling, 5-0 to UMass in the title game.
Like Omaha, the Huskies return the overwhelming majority of players that led them toe the Division I final, and they should again contend for a No. 1 seed, both in the NCHC Tournament and the NCAAs.
View From the Glass takes a look at St. Cloud State in Part VI of its seven-part, NCHC Snapshot series:
ST. CLOUD STATE
NCAA TITLES: None.
COACH: Brad Larson (fourth season, 63-32-6, .653).
2020-21 RECORD: 20-11 (15-9 NCHC, second place).
RINK (capacity): Herb Brooks National Hockey Center (5,159), St. Cloud, Minn.
MIAMI VS. ST. CLOUD STATE LAST SEASON: 1-3.
ALL-TIME SERIES: St. Cloud State leads, 27-18-4.
SCHEDULE VS. MIAMI: At St. Cloud State – Jan. 21-22.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: F Easton Brodzinski, F Kevin Fitzgerald, F Veeti Miettenen, F Nolan Walker, F Zack Okabe, D Nick Perbix, D Luke Jaycox, G David Hrenak.
KEY NEW FACES: F Mason Salquist, D Jack Peart.
KEY LOSSES: D Will Hammer.
NOTES: In 2020-21, 11 skaters recorded 10 or more points for St. Cloud State.
All will be back this season, making the Huskies one of the favorites to win the league title.
Up front, Veeti Miettenen, a Toronto draftee, and Nolan Walker, tied for the team lead in points with 24 on a team that found the net 101 times in 31 games.
Jami Krannila was third among forwards, going 11-12-13, and Zach Okabe added six goals and tied a SCSU-best with 16 assists.
Also among its forward corps are Easton Brodzinski and Kevin Fitzgerald, both graduate seniors with 266 combined games played and 165 points.
St. Cloud State returns its entire starting six on defense, led by Tampa Bay selection Nick Perbix’s 23 points last season and 58 for his three-year career.
Seamus Donohue and Luke Jaycox – both enjoying fifth-year eligibility – have both logged over 140 games with the Huskies. Brendan Bushy and Spencer Meier are also key cogs on the SCSU blueline.
In net, Los Angeles draft pick David Hrenak returns for his graduate senior season after winning 66 games and recording 11 shutouts in 6,615 minutes.
Junior backup goalies Jaxon Castor and Joey Lamoreaux also return.