Freshman goaltender Sanni Ahola stopped a whopping 37 shots in her collegiate debut and junior forward Allie Cornelius scored at the 2:51 mark in the second period to lead St. Cloud State (1-0-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) to a 1-0 season-opening victory over Minnesota State (0-3-0, 0-3-0 WCHA) on Friday evening.
Ahola's 37 saves are the most-ever by a Huskies player making her debut start, and she is the first netminder to record a shutout in her inagural appearance since Kendall Newell blanked North Dakota on October 23 of 2004.
Despite trailing 37-12 in shots on goal, the Huskies' defense held tight in support of Ahola's excellence as SCSU blocked 22 shots. Emma Bigham and Addi Scribner each blocked four shots while Klara Hymlarova added three. SCSU's special teams killed off four Minnesota State power plays.
On the offensive end, Cornelius' second-period goal came on an odd-man rush wrister that tipped off Mavericks' goalie Calla Frank's mitt and fluttered into the back of the net. Hannah Bates and Olivia Hanson added assists on the score, building on an extremely effective night for the Huskies' top defensive pair. Jenniina Nylund (10-7) won 58.8% of her faceoffs, while Laura Kluge (12-10) gained possesion on 54.6% of her opportunities in the circle to propel a 25-22 St. Cloud State advantage.
Minnesota State's Anna Butorac led the way with six shots on goal and went 53.9% on faceoffs, while teammates Charlotte Akervick and Kelsey King each put the puck on the net five times.
The Huskies and Minnesota State conclude their series on Saturday at 3:07 p.m. CST. The finale will be broadcast live on FloHockey and KVSC 88.1 FM.