The last time the college hockey held its Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, St. Cloud State University was also involved. Back in 2013, the Huskies made their first-even appearance, following a miracle run in the Toledo Regional, but ran out of gas, losing 4-1 to Quinnipiac.
SCSU exorcised some ghosts Saturday afternoon by trouncing Boston University in upstate New York. After falling behind 1-0 Sunday evening, the Huskies had no trouble with top-seeded Boston College, pulling away to win 4-1.
Even without top player Easton Brodzinski — who after scoring twice Saturday, left Sunday's game with a knee injury early in the second period and will miss the Frozen Four — a surging offense, smothering defense, and stellar goaltending by David Hrenak (26 saves in 27 shots ), helped St. Cloud State win the Albany Regional and make its second Frozen Four.
Hrenak, a senior from Slovakia, was named the regional's outstanding player.
"I thought Hrenak saved his best hockey of the year for right now, and we're hoping he can keep building off it," St. Cloud State Head Coach Brett Larson said. "I thought that he looked comfortable even when he did get scored on. He didn't look rattled; he was able to bounce back from that ... he looked confident."
Will Hammer, Luke Jaycox and Nolan Walker scored in the second period for the Huskies; Micah Miller added an empty netter late in the 3rd as pandemonium ensued on the St. Cloud bench.
Brodzinski has suited up in 139 consecutive games for the Huskies. His status will be determined over the next 10 days.
After falling short as a top seed in 2016, 2018 and 2019, many, including yours truly, said SCSU is better off heading east in 2021; demolishing two Boston schools that ESPN prayed would prevail proved us prescient.
St. Cloud State next plays in the national semifinals April 8 against Minnesota State, which shut out the University of Minnesota Sunday night in the Loveland Regional final. The Mavericks will be making their first Frozen Four appearance.
Minnesota-Duluth, fresh off perhaps the greatest college hockey game ever Saturday night/Sunday morning in Fargo, takes on UMass in the other game.