Over the weekend the St. Cloud Norsemen took home a big four points as they swept the Minot Minotauros in regulation 4-3 and 5-1. In addition to the team victories the Norsemen also scored a “W” on the individual side as Rosemount, MN native and recent commit to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Broten Sabo was named the Bauer NAHL Central Star of the Week.
Friday night started out strong for Sabo as he took a pass from behind his own net from Jake Hosszu and skated the length of the ice before firing a shot that left a juicy rebound Blake Perbix was able to finish to tie the game at 1 and gave Sabo the primary assist on the goal just over nine minutes into the game. Broten then picked up a goal less than five minutes into the second period burying a goal line feed from Nik Hong from one knee in the slot on the power play to give St. Cloud a 2-1 lead they would never relinquish. Sabo was also on the ice for the next Norsemen goal, Elmeri Hällfors’ first of two in the second period, and finished the evening with two shots, a +2 rating, and was named the First Star of the Game.
Saturday night St. Cloud got off to an even faster start as they scored less than a minute in and while Sabo didn’t end up on the scoresheet for the tally he was on the ice and picked up a +1 in the plus/minus department. After St. Cloud built up a 2-0 lead and was still on top 2-1, Sabo got the primary assist on all of the final three Norsemen goals. Sabo quarterbacks the power play and while his first point of the night wasn’t on the man advantage, Minot had just gotten back to full strength 15 seconds prior so the remnants of a power play setup were still in play. Broten found Kade Peterson with space in the slot and Peterson one-timed it home giving the Norsemen their two-goal lead back 12:49 into the frame. Sabo wasn’t done in the period as he fired a shot from the top of the power play umbrella that Nik Hong tipped to himself and tapped into the open net with 22.3 seconds left in the period. The icing on the cake was in the final minutes when Minot was trailing by three and pulled their goalie. Minotauros winger Chase LaPinta took a shot from the point along the right side boards that Jordan Zelenak got a piece of and took the threat out of the effort. Zelank slowed down the shot and then Sabo disposed of the loose puck in the slot and picked up the assist when Jeremiah Konkel turned and fired into the empty net at the other end of the rink. Sabo was Saturday night’s Third Star of the Game and finished the weekend with a goal, four assists, six shots on goal and a +4 rating.
“I was just happy we were able to put two wins together and get the four points,” admits Sabo. “Obviously it was nice getting the award but you can’t get that without all the guys’ help. It was really nice to get the sweep.”
St. Cloud Norsemen Assistant Coach Brock Kautz can see a difference in Sabo’s game lately versus the two times earlier in the season when he came back from injuries. “I think after you miss some time it takes a little bit to get your feet back underneath you again and get back into that game shape. He’s been a lot more comfortable on the ice, a lot more confident, he’s playing pretty well,” Kautz compliments. “It was nice to get that individual accolade but that comes with the team’s success.”
Sabo agrees with Kautz that the first few games back from his injury may have been slowing him down. “I would say my game has improved since getting back closer and closer to 100%.” Sabo twice has had an injury that kept him out of the lineup this season, once in September and once in October. In those first five games he tallied just one lone point, an assist. But since getting back into game action on October 28th he hasn’t missed a game and has been close to a point per game player (4-7-11 in 13 GP). He also leads the team with three power play goals on the year.
The Central Division Second Star was the Aberdeen Wings’ forward Nikolai Tishkevich with a stat line of 2-1-3 on the weekend. Norsemen winger Blake Perbix finished the weekend with two goals, two assists, three shots on goal and a +3 rating and was an honorable mention for the Central Star of the Week alongside Aberdeen Wings goalie Cole Moore. Perbix’s big weekend now has him all alone in first on the Norsemen with 21 points in 24 games played.
Sabo, Perbix and the Norsemen look to keep their winning ways rolling as they head to Mason City Thursday night before returning home for back-to-back home games on Friday and Saturday. Thursday’s game has a puck drop at 6:10 and can be seen online at hockeytv.com. Friday and Saturday’s games each will drop the puck at 7:00 pm and tickets can be found online at tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com.