MINNEAPOLIS – One year after falling a goal short in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Frozen Faceoff championship game, No. 4/5 St. Cloud State made sure that did not happen again on Saturday night as the Huskies topped No. 16/15 Minnesota Duluth, 3-1, at Target Center in the Frozen Faceoff title game to win the 2016 NCHC Tournament crown. The victory marked SCSU's first post-season conference tournament championship since the Huskies won the WCHA Broadmoor Trophy in 2001. The win also helped the Huskies (31-8-1) equal a team record for most wins in a season with 31 (2000-01).
The Bulldogs (18-15-5), in their first appearance at the Frozen Faceoff, started strong, grabbing a 1-0 lead 13:03 into the game when junior forward Carson Soucy found the back of the net on a blast off a feed from classmate Willie Raskob. UMD held its lead at the first intermission, but freshman forward Mikey Eyssimont, who was later named MVP of the Frozen Faceoff, put the Huskies on the board 8:59 into the second stanza when he finished a goal at the back door off a pass from senior defenseman Ethan Prow.
With time winding down in the middle period, Eyssimont struck again, banging home a rebound after the puck took a hard bounce off the back boards behind the goal on a shot by freshman defenseman Jimmy Schuldt to put SCSU in front, 2-1. Meanwhile, junior goalie Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves through the first 40 minutes to keep the Bulldogs at bay.
St. Cloud State doubled its lead 5:09 into the final frame when sophomore forward Patrick Russell back-handed a shot past sophomore goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo through traffic to put SCSU up 3-1. The Bulldogs continued to push, pulling Kaskisuo for an extra attacker with 1:43 to go, but the Huskies were able to fend off a comeback to capture the Frozen Faceoff crown.
Lindgren totaled 33 saves to backstop SCSU to the win as Minnesota Duluth outshot St. Cloud State, 34-18. Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play.
Joining the MVP Eyssimont on the Frozen Faceoff All-Tournament Team were UMD junior forward Dominic Toninato, North Dakota sophomore forward Nick Schmaltz, Prow, Raskob and Lindgren.
SCSU and UMD, along with North Dakota and Denver, find out their NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday at noon ET with the selection show televised on ESPNU.
NCHC Frozen Faceoff All-Tournament Team
F – Mikey Eyssimont, SCSU (MVP)
F – Dominic Toninato, UMD
F – Nick Schmaltz, UND
D – Ethan Prow, SCSU
D – Willie Raskob, UMD
G – Charlie Lindgren, SCSU