Tigers fall to No. 1 St. Cloud St. in overtime, 5-4

Posted at 10:16 PM, Feb 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-10 00:16:30-05

ST. CLOUD, MINN.– Patrick Newell scored with 1:07 remaining in overtime to give top-ranked St. Cloud State a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Colorado College Saturday night at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.

Newell took a centering pass from Robby Jackson and beat Alex Leclerc from the slot to complete the rally after trailing CC, 4-2, with four minutes left in regulation. Nick Perbix scored with 3:51 remaining in the third period to make it 4-3, then Newell tied it just 56 seconds later with a shot from the right point that caromed off a Tiger defender and Leclerc before trickling past the goal line.

Grant Cruikshank scored a pair of power-play goals for the Tigers and Leclerc tied his season high with 43 saves, but it wasn’t enough as the Huskies improved to 21-4-3 overall, 13-2-3-2 in the NCHC and 13-0-1 at home.

“This one is heartwrenching,” CC head coach Mike Haviland said. “You’re three minutes away, but it is a 60-minute game and that is something that we have been preaching and working on, just how hard it is to keep the focus and hunger.”

Jackson opened the scoring at the 10:47 mark of the first period when he took a pass from Newell from behind the net and beat Leclerc from the right circle. Sam Hentges made it 2-0 for the Huskies just 1:50 later by taking the puck in the neutral zone, splitting a pair of Tiger defenders, and going top shelf from right in front of the net.

The Tigers (11-14-4, 5-9-3-0 NCHC) took advantage of a late power-play opportunity in the opening frame when Cruikshank scored with 36.3 seconds left to cut the St. Cloud State lead in half. SCSU goalie David Hrenak saved Bryan Yoon’s shot from the left circle, but Cruikshank found the puck at the right circle and he hit the open net for his sixth goal of the season.

CC was very efficient in the second period, exploding for three goals on just four shots on net. Kristian Blumenschein started the spree at the 5:42 mark by taking a pass from Mason Bergh and sending a blast from the slot on one knee past Hrenak to even the score at 2-2.

Following a cross-checking call to SCSU’s Jimmy Schuldt, Cruikshank connected again on the power play. Trey Bradley’s centering pass was deflected in front of the net, where Cruikshank turned and knocked the puck out of the air past Hrenak for the first multi-goal game of his career.

Trevor Gooch put the Tigers ahead 4-2 at the 10:19 mark after taking a centering pass from Blumenschein and placing it past Hrenak, who was subsequently pulled in favor of Jeff Smith. The Tigers held on to the two-goal lead for nearly 26 minutes until Perbix’s goal.

The Tigers’ special teams were outstanding Saturday, finishing 2-for-3 on the power play and killing off all six penalties, including one against Cole McCaskill with 1:10 remaining in the third period that carried over into the overtime frame.

Blumenschein notched a goal and an assist for his first multi-point game of the season, while Yoon, Bradley and Chris Wilkie each posted a pair of assists.

St. Cloud State outshot the Tigers, 48-24, led by Newell with a game-high eight. Hrenak finished with nine saves before giving way to Smith, who had 11 in the final 33 minutes.

The Tigers are idle until hosting Western Michigan, Feb. 22-23, at the Broadmoor World Arena.