ST. CLOUD -- Friday afternoon, the St. Cloud State Huskies took down the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, 3-2, at the Herb Brooks National Center.
Less than 24 hours later, the two teams battled to a 1-1 tie, though the Huskies (6-15-2, 4-11-2 WCHA) would ultimately get the bragging rights over their conference rival after a six-round shootout. Captain Brittney Anderson ripped the puck over Duluth goalie Catherine Johnson -- right in front of an ecstatic SCSU student section.
"It was amazing, the whole time, even if you're up or down it's just fun to be out here and playing outdoors," Anderson said. "This doesn't happen often when it's this competitive and you get this many fans. It was honestly the best experience hockey-wise for me."
The Huskies never found themselves down.
Hallie Theodosopoulos opened the scoring for the home team at 4:42 of the first. Theodosopoulos scored two goals on Friday against the Bulldogs, and continued her hot streak on the outdoor ice.
At 11:00 of the second, Eden Prairie native Naomi Rogge tied the game for the 10-13-1 (6-10-1 WCHA) Bulldogs -- ranked 18th in the NCAA -- crashing the net and slipping the puck between Huskies goaltender Emma Polusny and the goalpost.
"You know that goal today, that was all Kenzie [Revering] just getting it up right away," Rogge said. "So it's a lot from our teammates, we just do quick passes and it works." Rogge's goal was the 12th of the season for the freshman phenom, putting her in front of Ashton Bell for the team lead.
Sophomore goalie Janine Alder would enter the game shortly thereafter for St. Cloud, though it was a swap that had been planned ahead of time. Alder, who hails from Zurich, Switzerland, was overwhelmed with the support from the Minnesotan hockey community.
"It was awesome today, there are actually no words for this. This is such a special event. I feel like as a European I always say 'this is so American,' and this is so American in such a good way," Alder said with a laugh. "I actually enjoyed the TV breaks a lot because I was just like looking around and taking in the whole atmosphere."
With 2,011 fans in attendance, the sun began to emerge from behind Saturday's wintry cloud cover during the second intermission, casting the ice into a patchwork of bright glare and dark shadow. In the weeks ahead of Hockey Day, both team captains -- Anderson of SCSU and Sydney Brodt of Duluth -- mentioned the extra consideration weather merited in preparing for outdoor games, and how difficult that could be to replicate in practices.
However, both seem to have done a good job of readying their teams for the challenges ahead, and with eyeblack painted on most players' cheeks, no one missed a stride.
"There were no issues today because we had, like, the perfect weather almost all game through, we didn't have a lot of sun," Alder said.
It was a goaltending battle for the remainder of the game, which would ultimately go down in the books as a tie. Once regulation petered out, the teams went into a sudden-death overtime period. However, the extra five minutes would solve nothing -- then it was on to a shootout.
Both goal scorers would slot into the shootout lineup as their team's fifth shooters. Neither could capitalize, though; it would be the captain, Anderson, to seal the deal in the sixth round for St. Cloud.
"You know, I always tell myself not to do it 'cause it doesn't work, but I always go to that," Anderson said. "So yes, I'd say that's my go-to move. I'll change it [now]."
Even though Anderson is a defender, she seems to be a secret weapon for the Huskies in the shootout.
"She's made that same move before, she's 2-0 in her career," Huskies coach Eric Rud said. "I should probably put her in sooner.
"It was nice to see our captain come through in a great environment and a clutch situation."