St. Cloud Norsemen defenseman Broten Sabo was named to the NAHL All-Central Division team as one of the two defensemen representing the division. You can see all of the All-Divisional Teams and Honors at nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=36600 .
It’s no surprise that Sabo was given the accolade, as he is one of the most offensively dangerous blueliners in the NAHL. Sabo put up 10-31-41 in 51 games played in the regular season as is top 10 in almost every category amongst defensemen, even despite missing nine games. His 41 points are tied for 5th in the entire league of 29 NAHL teams and tops amongst Central Division blueliners. His 10 goals and 31 assists are both tied for 7th in the league and 2nd in the Central for defensemen.
Sabo appreciates the recognition of being named one of the top two defensemen in the Central Division, alongside Austin’s captain Jack Malinski. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool to be named. There are a lot of good players in our division,” recognizes Sabo. “I thought some more guys from our team should’ve been on it but yeah, it’s definitely cool.”
Sabo is in his third season in the NAHL and has played all but one game in the league for St. Cloud (after one game with the Janesville Jets). He is well aware how important his teammate’s efforts were in him getting recognized for this award. “I would say they helped me a lot. I couldn’t have gotten named without a lot of guys on our team. I would say our D core and goalies made the game a lot easier all year and then obviously all the guys playing hard and putting pucks in the net up front,” Sabo says, spreading the praise. “So yeah, I think everyone helped a ton.”
St. Cloud Norsemen Assistant Coach Brock Kautz has seen the difference in Sabo even from his second season in the league to his third. “The biggest thing is his production from the back end in both goals and assists. I know last year he didn’t score a goal until I’m pretty sure it was pretty late in the year,” explains Kautz. (Broten’s first NAHL goal came January 21st last yaer in Minot, and he finished with 3 in the regular season but he then tallied 5 playoff goals in 11 games to finish the 2021-22 season) “Obviously this year he was able to put up some goals, put up some numbers. It helps that he was on our power play and he plays a lot of minutes, but I just think his offensive ability this year has taken a huge step and you learn a lot from your experience in the league. When you get some confidence and you believe in yourself and your teammates believe in you, I think you get rewarded.”
“He’s a very smart hockey player and that’s probably one of the qualities that goes unnoticed. From playing for (Corey) Millen as long as he has he really understands the systems that we run as well as the PK (Penalty Kill),” Kautz details. “Both of those areas he just does a really good job of understanding 1. What other teams are trying to do, but more importantly, 2. What we’re trying to do to eliminate chances. I think a lot of fans and people that watch might not see that but that’s one area that I’m certainly pleased with him.”
Sabo is an intimidating force on the Norsemen blueline at 6’1, 195 pounds and his smarts and skills have drawn the interest of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as he’s committed to play for the Nanooks next season. This is his third season in St. Cloud and that means he was a big part of the team last year that got to the Robertson Cup and ultimately fell short. Broten knows that an honor like being named to the 2022-23 NAHL All-Central Division Team is nice, but it’s not the prize he has in mind. “I think it’s cool, but it obviously doesn’t mean too much,” admits Sabo. “Our team goal is to make the Robby and then win it, so I’m definitely more focused on that.”
Sabo and the Norsemen continue their quest for the 2023 Robertson Cup title as they host the Austin Bruins for Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-five Round 2 of the NAHL Playoffs this weekend. Friday and Saturday they’ll host the Bruins with the puck dropping at 7:00 both nights, and Friday night the first 100 fans will receive a set of 2022-23 St. Cloud Norsemen trading cards, compliments of Rengel Printing. You can get tickets for both games online at tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com.
If the two teams split in St. Cloud, a decisive Game 5 would be back in Austin on Sunday with the game getting underway at 5:05. That game can be seen online at hockeytv.com.