Men’s Hockey Faces Powerhouse St. Cloud State

Spencer Serling

This weekend the Raiders hosted the nationally-ranked St. Cloud State Huskies. After falling behind early in both games, the Raiders (2-4-1) could not mount enough of a comeback to pull off the victory and dropped two close contests to the Huskies (3-0-1). Playing Friday night, the Raiders came out eager to pull off the upset. The Huskies tallied their first goal at the 12:15 mark to give them an early 1-0 lead. The Raiders fought hard defensively for the rest of the period, with senior goalie Eric Mihalik fighting off six shots in a row at one point and headed into the first intermission down only one goal.

With the second period underway, the Raiders offensive effort woke up and started the period with more shots on net than the Huskies, but the Huskies converted at the 3:10 mark to extend their lead to 2-0. The teams played evenly for the next four and a half minutes until sophomore forward Kyle Baun picked up a hooking penalty and the Raiders went on the kill. Just 40 seconds in, the Huskies picked up a penalty and the teams played 4-on-4 before the Raiders got a short power play.

Unable to convert on their short power play, the Raiders fired shots wide of the net before junior captain Spiro Goulakos got a hooking penalty. A strong Raiders penalty kill went back to work, and the Raiders were able to easily fight off the penalty.

With just under a minute and a half remaining in the period, the Raiders went on the power play and after junior Joe

Wilson’s two shots were saved, sophomores Tyson Spink and Mike Borkowski found Baun, who scored and cut the Huskies lead in half going into the third period. Both teams fought hard early in the period, with the Huskies looking to hold their lead and the Raiders looking to tie the game. With just five minutes remaining, the Spink-Baun-Spink line worked their magic yet again as Baun and Tylor found Tyson who scored and tied the game up at 2.

The Raiders were back in the contest, but the Huskies came back with a vengeance and scored just 45 seconds later to regain their lead. Despite a furious onslaught of Raiders shots, the Huskies found the empty net once Mihalik was pulled and the Huskies took the 4-2 win.

“It was definitely tough to get scored on just 45 seconds after we scored as it kills the momentum we had been working for all game especially after battling back,” Baun said of the Huskies quick go-ahead goal in the third period. “We are a very young team and we need to learn how to close out games and finish off teams when we have the momentum. This experience will hopefully teach us that.” The Raiders had a quick turnaround as they took to the ice the very next day against the same Huskies team. The Raiders, once again, could not contain the Huskies early on, giving up four goals in the first frame. With one coming on the power play and one coming short-handed, the Raiders looked outmatched and overwhelmed. After switching goalies and replacing Mihalik with sophomore Spencer Finney, the Raiders began to get themselves back in the game. Baun scored on the power play that has been so strong for the Raiders so far, receiving assists from sophomores Tylor Spink and Borkowski at the 7:49 mark of the second period.

Later in the period, Borkowski and Wilson found sophomore Darcy Murphy who scored to cut the lead to 4-2. The Raiders went into the second intermission in much better position than they started, and with momentum came out for the third period hoping to tie up the game. Just 3:08 into the third period, Borkowski picked up his third assist of the game and sophomore defenseman Kevin Lough found Baun for this second goal of the game that cut the Huskies lead to 4-3.

The Huskies stepped up their defense and despite a late power play for the Raiders, but the Raiders could not convert and dropped the contest 4-3 despite their ferocious comeback.Despite the two losses this weekend, the Raiders showed they could compete with some of the top teams in the country. With the Huskies making the Frozen Four last year, the Raiders know they can compete with some of

the best. “It was a really good test for us to see where we fit against the top teams in the country,” Baun said of the weekend. “I really like the way we played for the majority of the weekend and other then a few mistakes that can be expected from such a young team early in the year, I

believe that we can compete with any team.” This coming weekend, the Raiders stay home as they host Quinnipiac Friday night at 7 p.m. and then Princeton at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Starr Rink.           

Contact Spencer Serling at [email protected]