By MICHAEL GORMAN
The Tigers, sitting at 7-7 after two losses to St. Cloud State, have had several weeks since their last game on Nov. 18 in Minnesota. The team has taken full advantage of their time off, focusing on intense practices to make sure they’re ready for one of the biggest rivalries in college hockey.
“The first two weeks of practice, we just did battle drills and high tempo stuff in order to keep in game shape and keep our hockey wits sharp,” sophomore defenseman Alex Pernitsky said. “Now, we’re starting to focus on power play systems, countering Denver’s systems.”
The team can hardly be blamed for their two losses in Minnesota, as St. Cloud State sits at the #2 ranking in all of Division 1, with a 11-2-0 record.
In the first game, it took the Tigers a few minutes into the third period to get on the scoreboard, but it was already too late, as the Huskies had scored five goals by then. The entire game was an offensive barrage for the Huskies, as they put up 46 shots, compared to the Tigers’ 22.
The game’s first star, Huskies forward Easton Brodzinski, had a goal and an assist on two shots, with a +2 rating. He provided the first goal of the game, at about 7 minutes in.
Subbing in for starting goalie Alex Leclerc, freshman Alex Cavalruso came in after three goals were scored and had 21 saves, the most any Tiger has had this season.
The game ended with a score of 5-1, the Tigers’ worst result of the season. These games should mark an anomaly for the team, as going into the series in Minnesota, the Tigers were 7-5, with strong play all around.
The second game was more of the same, as the Huskies kept up their offensive barrage, this time with 39 shots to the Tigers’ 23.
It was a close game until the third period, as the teams entered the final frame with a score of 3-1, but the Tigers couldn’t hold out much longer. The Huskies scored three goals to end the game, making a final score of 6-1.
“Games like the last two we were too comfortable with winning, and that’s not good enough,” said Pernitsky. “We’re 7-7, and we have to get higher than that, we need to remember we wanna be a team that’s about .500, so we can’t get comfortable with the way that we are. We have to keep pushing to be better.”
Now, the Tigers face an even tougher test. They will go up against in-state rival Denver University, currently ranked at the top spot of Division 1.
“It’s the third biggest rivalry in college hockey, so it’ll be a hard-fought game. We’re gonna do all we can to win,” said Pernitsky.
Friday marks the first of four face offs against the Pioneers, as these teams will face off the weekend of Feb. 16 as well.
Saturday’s game is at 6 p.m., and Tiger fans will need to show up and be loud. The Tigers will need support going up against the best college hockey team in the nation.