St. Cloud Drops Denver in Extra Time, 4-3

The #2-ranked Denver hockey team (6-3-0, 2-1-0) faced off against #4 St. Cloud State (8-1-0, 1-0-0)  Friday night at Magness Arena in an early season clash of powerhouses. It was not a beautiful game as both sides struggled at times while each missed golden opportunities to end the game in regulation.

Something had to give – and it was Denver who gave up two leads in regulation as well as the overtime winner to fall, 4-3.

St. Cloud came out hard and jumped on DU early on a goal by Jami Krannila less than five minutes into the contest. The Huskies controlled the early pace of play as Denver struggled to clear pucks and create solid shot opportunities. St. Cloud had the edge for most of the first period but with three minutes remaining, DU’s Mike Benning scored on a highlight reel goal — first a nifty move to beat to  beat a SCSU defensemen to find open ice in the offensive zone and then a quick wrister that picked the left net corner to beat SCSU goalie Jaxon Castor, assisted by Carter Mazur and Casey Dornbach to draw even, 1-1.

Denver was out of rhythm once again to begin the second period but the Pioneers were opportunistic and found an opening. Denver struck pay dirt at 12:36 on a beautiful screen by Carter Mazur and a goal by DU captain Justin Lee — 2-1 Pios. The goal ignited Denver and the Pioneers started to play on their front foot, outshooting the Huskies and creating scoring opportunities the balance of the period.

End-to-end action marked the first ten minutes of the final period as DU sought the knockout blow and the Huskies tried to even up the score. Following a Pioneer flurry in the St Cloud end, the Huskies pinned the Pioneers in their own defensive end and Grant Cruikshank (a former CC Tiger rival), sent a quick slap shot under the crossbar bar past Magnus Chrona to pull even at 9:56, 2-2.

Once again, DU kicked it into high gear but a stout Husky defense shut down shooting lanes and stifled Denver’s attack. Finally, with only 2:11 remaining, Carter Mazur hit Massimo Rizzo on a spinner and goal for a 3-2 Denver lead. It looked like DU had eeked out the Friday night win. However, St Cloud countered on a scramble in front of the DU goal when DU’s Justin Lee went down blocking a slap shot and the rebound eventually found its way to St Cloud’s Zach Okabe who fired a shot through traffic and Chrona into the goal with 1:17 remaining, 3-3.

The five-minute overtime period looked promising as the Pioneers opened with the man advantage as the Huskies were penalized when their challenge call on a Mazur hit for a major penalty was denied after the referee’s review.   Unfortunately, Denver failed to capitalize on the two minute advantage. But once the sides were evened up, St. Cloud’s Veeti Miettinen finished off the game and the Pioneers with a laser off the rush with 1:38 remaining in OT,  4-3 Huskies.

The two teams faceoff again Saturday night at 6:00 pm MT at Magness Arena.

5 thoughts on “St. Cloud Drops Denver in Extra Time, 4-3”

    1. Anon 7:16,

      Your weekly facetious comments on the officiating are stale. Come up with some new material.

  1. Horrible officiating? Actually, the officiating was pretty good and the game was pretty clean and quite entertaining.

    DU actually got a power-play in OT, dispelling ANY notions of favoritism toward SCSU.

    The Pios lost because they gave up three goals in the final 15 minutes of play, over the third period and in the OT. While Magnus Chrona made some great saves last night, this was not his best overall outing, especially on the winning goal in OT, where he had a clean look at Miettinen coming at him, but left too much of the net open…

    St. Cloud fully deserved its win, the Huskies’ first at Magness in the last nine tries stretching back to 2016.

    These were two excellent teams going at it, and while the Pios were great for stretches of play last night, they will need a more complete 60-minute effort to get the split.

  2. I was late to the game and saw only the last 5 minutes of the 2nd period onward. Exciting, hard fought contest. Pios had some really good shifts in the 3rd. They skated well, created space, and had the Huskies chasing a bit. I wish they had gotten a few more pucks on net, though.

    Really disappointed DU couldn’t hold that lead at the end and close things out. After SCSU pulled their goalie, Pios lost a big draw in their own end and just couldn’t get the puck cleared. If I remember correctly, Carle sent the 4th line out there to take that faceoff. I was a bit surprised by that. Not that that line isn’t competent–I just thought DU would have sent out their best faceoff crew at that moment.

    DU had a golden opportunity in OT with the PP, but it wasn’t very impressive. Too much play on the perimeter.

    SCSU is the real deal. Give those guys credit. They certainly have the look of an elite team this year.

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