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St. Cloud boys hockey starts season with loss to Bemidji

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NS. CLOUD The St. Cloud boys’ hockey team opened the 2021-22 regular season at the MAC against section opponent Bemidji on Saturday.

The game remained relatively close in the first period, but the Lumberjacks took a commanding lead in the second period to win 4-1 and put the Crush at 0-1 to start the season.

Here are a few takeaways from the first game of the season for the St. Cloud Crush boys’ hockey team.

Mix of experienced, new players

In Saturday’s game, there were 25 players who played a game for St. Cloud last season and returned this year. Of those 25 players, 10 scored a point for the Crush in the 2020-21 season.

There was a mix of players who had more time on the ice than others, but they were all integral to the first game this year for St. Cloud. Ripley Garden scored the only goal for the Crush on Saturday, assisted by Andrew Cumming and Isaac Baker.

All three of these players were looked at to lead this team, along with players such as goalkeeper Ben Condon, Nick Matanich, Theo Rieland and Blake O’Hara.

St. Cloud's Theo Rieland tries to put his body in front of the puck against Bemidji on Saturday November 27, 2021 at the MAC.

The biggest missing piece for St. Cloud on Saturday was Condon, who was sitting on the couch and undressed for the game. Head coach Pete Matanich said Condon was injured and he is day by day. Hank Bulson took over the starting goalkeeper spot against Bemidji and seemed to feel at ease in the first period.

Bulson had nine shots on target for the Lumberjacks and saved eight when one passed for a goal. The second period had 11 shots on target from Bemidji and Bulson saved nine. In the end, he saved seven of the eight shots in the final period.

The senior goalkeeper saved 24 shots out of 28 attempts. St. Cloud had six goalkeepers trying for the team so there’s a lot of depth in that position, but the hope for the Crush is to have Condon back soon with the amount of experience he had from last season.

St. Cloud's goalkeeper Hank Bulson stretches to take on a save against Bemidji at the MAC on Saturday, November 27, 2021.

Ahead of the season, St. Cloud head coach Pete Matanich said he’s looking forward to seeing who shows up in the early games and there will be some movement to see which players work together and form strong lines throughout the early part of the season. The season.

physical game

During the preseason, a few St. Cloud veteran players said they expect a physical team on the ice every game. That expectation was met on Saturday when the Crush literally showed its new team name.

St. Cloud started aggressively in the first period and continued into the second and third periods. There is a difference between physical play and physical play that hurts the team.

St. Cloud's Ripley Garden blasts on the blue line against Bemidji at the MAC on Saturday, November 27, 2021.

The Crush opened the game with some hard blows to the boards for the Lumberjack players and took control early on. Then that physicality kind of hurt the team as Sheldon Shyiak and Baker went to the box to rough it up.

Fortunately, Bemidji didn’t score from the power plays and never scored from any advantage time. St. Cloud showed off his powerplay defenses with veteran players and teamed up to keep the puck out of the net.

Physicality grew between the two teams in the third period. Bemidji took a 4-0 lead with about 10 minutes left in the game and St. Cloud wanted to try and get back into the game.

St. Cloud's Jaden Mendel will clash with a Bemidji player on the boards against Bemidji at the MAC on Saturday, November 27, 2021.

Wylee Gladen of Bemidji delivered a big blow to St. Cloud’s Cumming in the middle of the ice causing some shuffling and screaming with about 7:30 am left in the game. Gladen was placed in the penalty area after a main contact penalty, but Cumming also went into the penalty area for two minutes with unsportsmanlike behavior.

Baker was then sent to the box to board, but Bemidji soon after sent a player to the box for tripping. It looked like no more penalties would be given as time on the clock passed, but two more were announced as fans left the arena.

Gladen was taken out of the box at the end of the match and went after Cumming. He was eventually called for butt-ending, which is when the player uses the shaft of the hockey stick to control an opponent in any way.

Andrew Cumming of St. Cloud gears up to face Bemidji at the MAC on Saturday, November 27, 2021.

Gladen was given a match disqualification for those actions and Cumming also got a misspelling for head contact at the end of the match. Gladen will miss one game due to his disqualification, while Cumming will not have to miss any time as it was a misconduct and not a disqualification.

Since these two teams will be in the same section, it will be interesting to see what happens when these two teams meet in Bemidji on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 for another regular season game.

Sources

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2/ https://www.sctimes.com/story/sports/2021/11/27/takeaways-st-cloud-boys-hockey-starts-season-loss-bemidji/8740250002/

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