The St. Cloud Norsemen hold a nine-point lead for first place in the North American Hockey League Central Division after a weekend sweep of Minot, claiming 4-0 and 5-2 victories at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex Friday and Saturday nights.
Friday night, goaltender Tomas Bolo and the Norsemen earned a 4-0 shutout win, Bolo’s fourth shutout of the season and the seventh of the year for St. Cloud. Bolo made 27 saves in the win. The Norsemen had four different goal-scorers light the lamp, with Nik Hong, Broten Sabo, Max Strand and Kade Peterson lighting the lamp. Ryan O’Neill tallied two assists, while Hunter Hanson, Jackson Hughes, Jack Whitmore and Duke Kiffin chipped in one.
On Saturday, St. Cloud completed the sweep with the 5-2 win. O’Neill scored a pair of goals and added two assists, to complete a six-point weekend against Minot. Strand scored once again and tallied an assist, as did defenseman Evan Murr and forward Brandon Lajoie. Blake Mesenburg added a pair of helpers, while Hong and Christopher Lynch each posted an assist. Ethan Dahlmeir earned the win in goal making 21 saves.
O’Neill finished the weekend with 33 career points against Minot, and is now the all-time leading opposing scorer in the history of the Minotauros, surpassing former Aberdeen Wings Joey Strada and Riley Murphy (30).
Hong and Mesenburg both played in their 100th career NAHL game on Friday night.
The St. Cloud Norsemen are now 31-14-2-1 overall and sit atop the Central Division with 65 points. Aberdeen is in second place with 56, Austin is in third with 55 and Minot currently sits in the final playoff spot with 54 points. Bismarck leapfrogged North Iowa to get out of the division basement and into fifth place with 49 points, while the Bulls have 48 in sixth. All teams are currently alive for a playoff spot, while the Norsemen have the opportunity to clinch next weekend, pending results in St. Cloud’s games and games around the division.
First place St. Cloud is on the road on Friday, March 18 at Austin, and hosts the Bruins at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex on Saturday, March 19 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale at tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com
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