ALBANY: St. Cloud State, Brodzinski break open game in the third, knock off Boston University 6-2; will face Boston College in regional final

St. Cloud State was all smiles as Easton Brodzinski broke a 2-2 tie in the second and added a second goal in an explosive third period as the Huskies beat Boston University, 6-2, in the Albany Regional (photo: Rich Gagnon)

ALBANY, N.Y. — Easton Brodzinski had two goals and an assist to lead St. Cloud State to a 6-2 victory over Boston University in the semifinals of the Albany Regional played at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y..

The game featured a wild second period during which four goals, three by the Huskies, were scored in a 3:44 span with St. Cloud emerging with a 3-2 lead that it would add to with three more unanswered goals.

It was St. Cloud’s first opening round win since 2015. The Huskies had lost three times in regional semifinals since then, including twice as the No. 1 overall seed.

“The third time’s the charm I guess,” said SCSU’s Jami Krannila, who scored the Huskies’ fourth goal on a shorthanded penalty shot. “We stuck to our game plan. In years past we got away from that.”

The Huskies carried play in the first period, outshooting the Terriers 14-10, but they couldn’t solve BU goaltender Drew Commesso. The freshman made several key saves, including nine when St. Cloud was on a major power play after BU’s Dylan Peterson was ejected after a hitting-from-behind penalty.

Boston University struck first just eight seconds into the second. St. Cloud won the opening face-off of the period, but a good forecheck by Logan Cockerill caused a turnover, and Wilmer Skoog was able to put a shot past St. Cloud State goaltender David Hrenak.

Twelve minutes later, the Huskies got on the board on a strange goal scored by Micah Miller. With the puck behind the BU net, Nolan Walker lifted the puck high in air, and most players on the ice lost sight of it, including Commesso. The puck landed in the slot for Miller, who shot it into the open net before Commesso could react.

“One of the strangest goals I’ve ever seen,” said St. Cloud State coach Brett Larson.

“Their first goal was one for the ages,” said BU coach Albie O’Connell. “One of the strangest goals that you’ll see. Their guy in centerfield just swatted it in.”

The fluke goal gave St. Cloud the momentum, and the Huskies scored again less than two minutes later. It was more bad luck for BU, as a clearing attempt hit an official to keep the puck in the Terrier zone. Nick Perbix’s shot hit two players in front of the BU net, sailing past Commesso to give St. Cloud its first lead of the game.

BU responded almost immediately on the power play when junior Jake Wise got his first goal of the season, firing a perfectly placed shot off a pass from Luke Tuch to tie the game 2-2.

Just 32 seconds later, St. Cloud regained the lead on Brodzinski’s first of the game. The senior’s 12th goal of the season, assisted by Nolan Walker, turned out to be the game-winner.

The Terriers looked to take the momentum back after St. Cloud State’s Brad Chase was assessed a major penalty for contact to the head. But Krannila was tripped on a shorthanded breakaway chance, and a penalty shot was awarded.

Krannila made no mistake, ripping a wrist shot past Commesso to make it a 4-2 game.

“I’ve seen Easton (Brodnzinski) use the same move in practice probably 100 times, so I thought I would try that too,” said Krannila.

“Their fourth goal turning point in the game,” said O’Connell. “That was the difference. I thought it was a good play by our guy. I can understand the trip, but not the penalty shot.”

“Jami’s goal gave us a boost of confidence,” said Brodzinski. “We just needed to stick to our game from there.”

Brodnzinski scored his second goal of the contest midway through the third period to make it 5-2, and Veeti Miettinen’s tally with 4:58 put the game away.

The Huskies advance to play Boston College in the regional final tomorrow.

“I was proud of our team,” said Larson. “We had some adversity getting scored on eight seconds into the second period. But we were able to rally.”

Larson says there’s no time to celebrate this one, with regional top-seed Boston College waiting in the wings.

“We’re hitting the reset button,” he said. “We’ll have to play the right way to have any chance (against BC). The work will start about five minutes after we get out of here.”