St. Cloud, Minn. — The Norsemen are winners of 10 games in a row and no win in that span was bigger than Saturday’s 4-3 overtime victory to complete the sweep of Austin and trade places with the Bruins, to take sole possession of first place in the North American Hockey League Central Division.
At 2:29 of the overtime frame, Norsemen leading scorer Ryan O’Neill (Roseville, MN // Univ. of St. Thomas) buried his 50th career goal, putting the puck past Bruins netminder Ethan Robertson to lift St. Cloud to first place in the Central, a position the franchise last reached in the 2010-11 season when the team was located in Alexandria.
O’Neill posted a 4-goal weekend, registering a hat trick in Friday’s road win at Austin before netting the OT-winner to clinch the team’s tenth win in a row on Saturday at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex.
On Saturday, the teams traded blows as Austin scored an early power play goal before Kade Peterson tied it up in the first. Chase Freiermuth scored in his fifth straight game to make it 2-1 Norsemen in the second before the Bruins responded with an Anthony Menghini goal. Broten Sabo took a feed from Peyton Hanson for the go-ahead goal putting St. Cloud up 3-2 in the third. Menghini struck again for his second of the game and sixth against the Norsemen this season, to tie the game with just over three minutes remaining, forcing overtime. The Norsemen dominated chances and possession in the overtime frame, culminating in O’Neill’s game-winner for the 4-3 final.
Friday, the Norsemen jumped on top early with a Brandon Lajoie goal. Lajoie would go on to score a pair of goals, while O’Neill picked up a hat trick and Freiermuth scored, in a 6-2 Norsemen win.
Goaltender Tomas Bolo got the home victory on Saturday, his 8th in the last ten games. Ethan Dahlmeir backstopped Friday’s road win, his second in a row.
St. Cloud (25-13-0-1) is in first place in the NAHL Central Division with 51 points and the division’s best win percentage, with several games in hand over the field. The Norsemen are back home against the Bruins on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the MAC, before a road tilt Saturday in Austin. Tickets for Friday’s home game are sold online 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.