MINNEAPOLIS — The St. Cloud State Huskies came close to getting their first win of this campaign in game one; in game two, they accomplished that feat.
St. Cloud (1-1), led from the 13:30 mark of the opening period and came away with 4-1 victory over the Union Dutchwomen. The Huskies got goals from four different players, and Julie Friend made 17 stops in her first start in the SCSU net to earn the win.
“Good position to get a freshman in there in a situation like this in a rink she’s probably pretty familiar with,” Huskies coach Jeff Giesen said. “She’s played a lot here over her high school career, so that was a good outing for her.”
The Huskies endured some tense moments until sophomore Molli Mott slipped a puck under the glove of prone Union goalie Shenae Lundberg on the power play to gain some insurance for St. Cloud with a 3-1 lead midway through the final period.
“We’ve got a lot of people in that room that didn’t get a win until February last year, so they’re still squeezing the stick a little bit tight,” Giesen said. “When it got to three to one, everybody goes now we can just play hockey, right, and I think that’s what happened down the stretch there.”
Jocelyn Zabrick put the game away when she scored an empty-net goal from her own zone with 1:41 remaining to seal the victory.
“I said we don’t need a goal, we just need to chip it to the next zone, and she goes out there and goes for it,” Giesen said. “Do what the coach didn’t say, I guess.”
Senior Brittany Toor gave the Huskies their first lead of the season, picking up a power-play rebound and sliding the puck between goaltender Lundberg’s skate and the post.
“Lisa [Martinson] put a nice shot hard on goal and it just rebounded, and I turned around and just put it in the net,” Toor said.
She also earned an assist when Alex Nelson deflected in a Martinson shot from the point to make it 2-0 for St. Cloud State. Toor finished with a goal and two assists on the day to lead the way.
Union (0-2) got a pair of odd-man rushes in quick succession, capitalizing on the second when Christine Valente finished off a two-on-one break with Bryanne Panchuk.
“After last year — we had a pretty bad year last year — we just got a little excited that we were up two nothing,” Toor said. “Stuff like that is going to happen.”
After that, Union couldn’t get their chances to go.
“Last night was a better effort for us,” Dutchwomen coach Claudia Asano Barcomb said. “Today was up and back, we battled, but our passing wasn’t on. We had a tough day. Our second period was good, but our third wasn’t.”
Next week, Union takes on Sacred Heart.
“It will be a very different-paced game, but it will be challenging for us,” Asano Barcomb said. “We’ve got to get three periods together.”
The Huskies return to Ridder Arena for a WCHA series with Minnesota.