Blaine, Minn. – The St. Cloud Norsemen used three power play goals and scores from a trio of defensemen to knock out the United States National Team Development Program 7-3 on Friday at the Super Rinks at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
In a game that featured 19 Division I NCAA commitments across both squads, the Norsemen (6) and the USNTDP (13) did not disappoint a standing-room only crowd on the third night of the North American Hockey League Showcase. The crowd included many of the more than 300 scouts from across college and pro hockey registered for the showcase, truly displaying the NAHL as the League of Opportunity.
After USNTDP took a 1-0 lead in the first, the Norsemen scoring opened with a goal by Kade Peterson for the second game in a row. Brandon Lajoie added a first period tally to put St. Cloud up 2-1 and the team would never trail.
Late in the first period, USNTDP forward Ryan Leonard delivered a center ice hit, making contact to the head of St. Cloud’s Jackson Bisson, who would leave the game and not return. Leonard was assessed a game misconduct and major penalty.
St. Cloud took advantage of the man-advantage opportunity early in the second. Peterson found Ryan O’Neill for the power play goal and the Norsemen went up 3-1 just 18 seconds into the second.
Four minutes into the second, St. Cloud collected the first of three goals by defensemen with a seeing eye shot from Nick Young. The USNTDP answered with a power play goal by Carter Slaggert to make it 4-2, but St. Cloud continued to work.
St. Cloud State commit John Opilka launched a shot from right at the blue line that he buried top shelf, putting St. Cloud ahead 5-2 to end the second.
In the third, USNTDP’s Paul Fischer scored a power play goal to pull the red, white and blue within two. Norsemen defender Evan Murr scored, assisted by Peterson who posted a 3-point night (1G, 2A). Blake Perbix (Northern Michigan) also picked up a power play goal on a feed from O’Neill to cap the scoring at 7-3 and round out the win for St. Cloud.
Peterson’s three-point effort was followed by O’Neill with a goal and an assist and Logan Kittleson with a pair of assists.
The game victory in goal goes to Ethan Dahlmeir, who played the first half of the game and made 8 saves on 10 shots. Tomas Bolo played the second half, stopping five of six.
St. Cloud wraps the NAHL Showcase against the defending Robertson Cup champions, the Shreveport Mudbugs, on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. CT and the game can be seen live on HockeyTV.
Voice of the Norsemen, Ashley Chase, will have the call of Saturday’s game, and was joined by Kirsten Krull in the booth for the game against USNTDP. The duo became the first all-female broadcast crew in USA junior hockey. The game is archived on HockeyTV to view as well.
The Norsemen return home to open the season at the MAC on Friday, Sept, 24 and Saturday, Sept. 25 with a two-game series against division opponent Bismarck. Tickets are just $10 for adults, $8 for kids 6 & up and free for 5 and under. Tickets must be purchased online, go to tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com to secure your seats for the opener in St. Cloud,