This Friday and Saturday, the St. Cloud Norsemen and Austin Bruins will begin a battle that spans the next four games on the schedule between the top two teams in the North American Hockey League Central Division standings. The home-and-home series puts the Norsemen on the road in Austin on Friday and back in St. Cloud at the Municipal Athletic Complex on Saturday night, both 7:00 p.m. games. Games are broadcast live on HockeyTV.com
St. Cloud leads the Central Division with the highest win percentage and holds the seventh best win percentage in the North American Hockey League, but the Bruins hold the top spot in the division points standings with 49 points, while the Norsemen are just two points back.
Austin leads the season series 3-2. The teams split the most recent matchup, with each team winning its home contest.
St. Cloud 5, Austin 4 (Jan. 15, 2022 @ St. Cloud)
Austin 6, St. Cloud 3 (Jan. 14, 2022 @ Austin)
Austin 4, St. Cloud 3 (Nov. 6, 2021 @ Austin)
St. Cloud 3, Austin 0 (Nov. 5, 2021 @ St. Cloud)
Austin 5, St. Cloud 3 (Oct. 8, 2021 @ St. Cloud)
The Norsemen are 23-13-0-1 while Austin is 23-15-1-2. St. Cloud is on an 8-game winning streak, dating back to the 5-4 victory over Austin on January 15. The Bruins are coming off a 4-2 loss to North Iowa last Saturday. The Norsemen are 9-1 in their last 10 games and the Bruins are 6-4 in that span.
St. Cloud is led in scoring by forwards Ryan O’Neill (Univ. of St. Thomas // 17 goals – 27 assists – 44 points), Blake Mesenburg (15-22-37), newly acquired Ethan Benz (16-20-36), Nick Hong (10-23-33), Blake Perbix (Northern Michigan // 15-17-32)
Austin is led in scoring by Carson Riddle (14-19-33), Sutter Muzzatti (11-22-33), Jens Richards (14-17-31), Nick Catalano (7-14-21) and Matys Brassard (6-12-18).
The Norsemen defense, led by one of St. Cloud’s captains Nick Young, has the second fewest goals against in the NAHL. St. Cloud also holds the second highest goal-differential in the league at +43, trailing only Midwest-leading Fairbanks. The Norsemen block and prevent a lot of shots, as St. Cloud has only been outshot 3 times all season.
Goaltender Tomas Bolo has backstopped 16 of St. Cloud’s 23 wins this season and has seven of the wins in the current eight-game unbeaten stretch, with Ethan Dahlmeir earning a shutout in the most recent game for the Norsemen, a 1-0 victory over Bismarck. Both goaltenders have three shutouts this season.
Norsemen forward Chase Freiermuth was recognized by the NAHL as the Central Division Star of the Week this week after scoring a pair of game-winning goals in last weekend’s sweep of Bismarck. Forward Jack Whitmore also had a pair of goals, defenseman Chris Lynch had a goal and two assists, while forward Peyton Hanson posted 4 assists.
Tickets are available for Saturday’s 7:00 p.m. Norsemen home game at tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com or to book your group outing, contact Dan Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org — Discounts are available for groups, including special rates and fun in-game opportunities for youth hockey and other teams.
This Saturday’s game will also feature a special performance at first intermission as Minnesota Special Hockey takes the ice for a mini-game.