Skip to main content

St. Cloud State is the team to beat in college hockey

They've been No. 1 in the nation for the past four weeks.

There's a new powerhouse in the State of Hockey at the collegiate level.

The St. Cloud State men's hockey team is firing on all cylinders this season. For the past four weeks, they've been ranked No. 1 in the nation by and are poised to make some serious noise come tournament time.

First-year head coach Brett Larson looks like a veteran behind the bench and has picked things up right where they left off under former coach Bob Motzko, who is in his first year at the University of Minnesota. 

Lethal offense

St. Cloud's senior class sets the tone for an offense that's averaging nearly 4 goals per game.

  • Patrick Newell: 15 goals, 17 assists, 32 points
  • Robby Jackson: 12 goals, 15 assists 27 points  
  • Blake Lizotte: 10 goals 15 assists 25 points  
  • Jimmy Schuldt: 8 goals 17 assists 25 points

Lizotte, a sophomore, is the only one on that list who isn't a senior. It's also worth mentioning junior Ryan Poehling, the Lakeville native who has 25 points in 26 games this season. Poehling was a 2017 first-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens. 

Stellar goaltending

After David Hrenak and Jeff Smith split time last season, Hrenak has taken the reigns as the team's No. 1 goaltender in 2018-19. However, when he's been called upon, Smith has played well too.

  • David Hrenak 16-3-2, 2.21 GAA, .900 SV% 
  • Jeff Smith: 4-1-1, 1.88 GAA, .923 SV%

Typically, national championship teams have a clear-cut No. 1 goaltender but having the luxury of a solid backup is a nice safety blanket.

Special teams

The Huskies' power play is converting 23 percent of its opportunities. That's a solid number, but even more impressive is the Huskies' penality kill, which is fourth in the nation with an 87 percent kill rate. 

Comeback kids

On Feb. 9 at home against Colorado College, the Huskies were on the brink of being upset and dropping out of the top spot in the rankings. Trailing by two goals with four minutes to play, SCSU pulled off a miraculous comeback, first sending the game to overtime and then winning it.  

Even when they looked down and out they were still able to pull off an improbable victory. It's the kind of victory that shows opponents they fight till the end and can never be counted out.

Sour taste

Being at the top of the polls this season is not a flash in the pan. This same team was the No. 1 team heading into the national tournament last season and was upset in the first round by 16th-seeded Air Force.

Shortly after the loss, (four days to be exact), Motzko jumped ship to become the new coach of the Gophers as Don Lucia's replacement.  

The fact that this team has picked up right where they left off with a new coach likely has them motivated to prove they can make a run at a national championship.

And there's fewer things more dangerous than a motivated hockey team.

This year's Frozen Four will be held in Buffalo, New York. 

If SCSU can keep up its stellar play through the postseason, you can bet they'll have a chance to hoist the school's first Division I national championship trophy. 

Next Up

Anthony Edwards

Ant's fast start can't snap Grizzlies winning streak

Memphis extended its streak to 11 games with a 116-108 victory over the Timberwolves.

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild have 2 players named to NHL All-Star Game

The Wild could have a third representative through the "Last Man In" ballot.

trattoria mucci facebook

Popular Italian eatery in Uptown to permanently close

The owner of Trattoria Mucci said it "just didn't work out this time."

colbert redmons billboard jan 2022

MN popcorn shop gets Times Square billboard via 'The Late Show'

The last time Redmon's Popcorn got national attention, it shut down two days later.

child parent mask covid pexels

Frey backtracks on dining mandate: Kids age 2-4 won’t need test

The mayor told Chad Hartman the city is already working to change its just-announced regulation.

264 Willmar Ave SE, Willmar, Minnesota - October 2019

11 staff members on leave after refusing Willmar district's COVID policy

The staff members were placed on leave after they "opted not to comply."


Man charged with stealing van with dog inside in South St. Paul

He apparently said he didn't realize there was a dog inside.

Screen Shot 2022-01-13 at 12.35.16 PM

Here's where COVID-19 case rates are the highest in Minnesota

The highest rates can be found mainly in southeastern Minnesota and around the Twin Cities metro area.

als breakfast facebook post

After staff got COVID, someone sent Al's Breakfast a letter mocking its vaxx requirement

"So sorry to hear your fully vaccinated staff is sick with Covid and you are forced to close," the letter begins.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 2

NWS releases snowfall forecast for specific Minnesota cities

Here's how much snow is forecast for more than 50 cities in Minnesota, including the majority of the metro area.



St. Cloud State blanked by UMass in national championship game

Minnesota had three teams in the Frozen Four but didn't claim the national title.


Minnesota hockey teams have a shot at creating history

Three Minnesota schools might have a chance to reach the Frozen Four.

St. Cloud State men's hockey is the No. 1 team in the nation

Look out State of Hockey, there's a new top dog.


How to watch Minnesota hockey teams in the NCAA Tournament

Here's how you can find them on TV and via online streams.