ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Well, that's how you break a three-game losing streak.

The No. 5/6-ranked St. Cloud State men's hockey team scored three goals in the first, two in the second and three in the third period to beat No. 7 North Dakota 8-1 in an NCHC game Friday at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

It was the most lopsided win for the Huskies over the Fighting Hawks since a 9-2 SCSU win on Jan. 20, 1995, at the Brooks Center. It was the first seven-goal loss for North Dakota since losing 7-0 on Feb. 28, 1998, at Minnesota Duluth.

"I liked our jump coming right out of the gate," Huskies head coach Brett Larson said. "It just felt like we were a bunch of pent-up dogs for two weeks with a really bad taste in our mouth and couldn't wait to play. Obviously, I thought that helped us get off to a really good start."

"We emphasized starting fast, starting hard, starting with the faceoff and trying to get it in there and apply some pressure," said SCSU fifth-year senior center Kevin Fitzgerald, who won the opening faceoff and got an assist on Kyler Kupka's goal 18 seconds into the game. "On the goal, Kup and (Nick Perbix) made a great play."

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The Huskies (4-3 NCHC, 10-5 overall) and Fighting Hawks (5-2, 10-6) play the second game of their series at 6 p.m. Saturday (FOX 9+).

The Huskies led 3-0 after goals by Kupka, Fitzgerald (at 4:56) and Easton Brodzinski (at 10:59). Brodzinski's goal came on the first power play of the game for the Huskies.

"They're a good team and we had to come out and play our game and we played a good 58 minutes and it definitely showed on the scoreboard," Brodzinski said. "We came out buzzing. We came out with our heads up and we were making plays and we were able to get behind them and body them a bit.

"It was a body blow shift for us," he said of the team's first shift of the game. "The next shift was even bigger. We were able to keep it down in there zone and keep on them."

St. Cloud State forward Easton Brodzinski (26) puts the puck in over North Dakota goalie Jakob Hellsten (32) in the second period Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud. Brodzinski scored his first career college hat trick and had an assist in the 8-1 win for the Huskies. Jason Wachter / The Rink Live
St. Cloud State forward Easton Brodzinski (26) puts the puck in over North Dakota goalie Jakob Hellsten (32) in the second period Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud. Brodzinski scored his first career college hat trick and had an assist in the 8-1 win for the Huskies. Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

Bounce back for Brodzinski

The Huskies got a hat trick and an assist from Brodzinski. It was the first career college hat trick for Brodzinski, who is a Blaine High School graduate.

"That is hard to believe and a really good response by Easton," Larson said of Brodzinski, who was a healthy scratch on Nov. 20 at Western Michigan. "He was out of the lineup in our last game and he came back and played really hard. That's what he does. He has the ability to finish those plays off and that's what has made him such a special player in his career here."

There was some more lineup shuffling by Larson after changing some lines up on Nov. 20. Brodzinski played right wing on a line with senior center Nolan Walker and sophomore left wing Veeti Miettinen.

"It's pretty special and there's a lot of guys who deserved to be in the same spot that I'm in," Brodzinski said. "I was able to convert on a lot of those chances, but my teammates (deserve) all the credit. They worked their butts off and had a lot of plays that they could have capitalized on, too.

"Just a couple lucky bounces for me and three goals."

Fitzgerald was surprised when he was asked to go get the puck for Brodzinski after he scored his third goal of the game.

"Easton is a hard worker and just an awesome guy," Fitzgerald said. "I was surprised that was his first hat trick. It feels like he's had about 20 hat tricks here. They told me to grab the puck and I was like, 'No way.' First hat trick."

With the three goals, he moved into a tie for eighth place in career goals with his older brother, Jonny, who had 64 goals from 2012-15.

Remember, before the season, the hope was that this series was looked at as possibly the first that Easton would get into after suffering a broken femur when he was checked in the Northeast Regional championship game against Boston College on March 28 in Albany, N.Y. Brodzinski went to the hospital and had the bone surgically repaired.

Brodzinski leads the team with nine goals and has 13 points in 14 games this season after having 13 goals and 18 points in 29 games last season.

Krannila highlight reel goal

While there was nine goals scored in the game, there was one that people could see on some highlight reels for a while.

The Huskies led 5-1 in the third period when the puck went below the goal line in the North Dakota defensive zone. Jami Krannila, a junior center from Nokia, Finland, pulled off what has been known as the "Michigan goal." In one motion, he was able to scoop the puck off the ice, pick it up and flip it over the shoulder of goalie Jakob Hellsten at 1:43 to make it 6-1.

"I've never seen it. Don't know where that came from," Larson said of whether or not he had seen Krannila pull the feat off in practice. "Obviously, exciting. Our bench almost got a little bit too giddy for a little bit. You wanted them to settle down and keep playing the right way. I've never seen Jami do it. Spur of the moment decision, I guess."

Krannila said that he has done something similar, but not during a drill in practice.

"I saw that I had room and I figured, I'll try it," Krannila said with a smile. "I didn't believe that it was going to go in. I didn't even see it go in. I saw some of the guys celebrate. Nothing is going through your mind.

"Every now and then I practice it, just for fun, more than a game situation. I still can't believe that happened."

So would he have tried it if it was a one-goal game?

"Probably not," he said.

St. Cloud State defenseman Nick Perbix (25) makes a pass against North Dakota in the first period Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.  Perbix, a senior from Elk River, had a career-best four assists and also had three blocked shots, three shots on goal and was a plus-2 in an 8-1 win for the Huskies. Jason Wachter / The Rink Live
St. Cloud State defenseman Nick Perbix (25) makes a pass against North Dakota in the first period Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud. Perbix, a senior from Elk River, had a career-best four assists and also had three blocked shots, three shots on goal and was a plus-2 in an 8-1 win for the Huskies. Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

Other numbers, highlights

There were a lot of numbers to spread around for the Huskies in the win.

  • Nick Perbix, a Tampa Bay draft pick and senior defenseman from Elk River, had a career-best four assists for the Huskies. Perbix, a preseason All-NCHC pick, had been in a bit of a point slump. He did not have an assist in a game since Oct. 22, a stretch of seven games without a point. He also had three blocked shots and three shots on goal.
  • Fitzgerald, who is from Hinsdale, Ill., continues his strong start to the season. He had a goal and two assists and was a plus-4 in the game. He has seven goals and leads the team in assists (12) and points (19). He has 19 points in 15 games. His career-best was 19 points as a freshman in 38 games in 2017-18. He's also tied for the team lead in plus/minus (plus-9) and has won 50.8% (154-149) of his faceoffs.
  • Jack Peart, a Minnesota Wild draft pick, had a career-best three assists and was a plus-2 for the Huskies. Peart, a freshman from Grand Rapids, has seven assists and nine points in 11 games this season.
  • David Hrenak, a Los Angeles Kings draft pick, stopped 27 of 28 shots to pick up his ninth win in 13 starts. He has a 1.76 goals-against average and .930 save percentage, which are all the best marks of his career.
  • The Huskies did not give up a goal in the first period for the 14th time in 15 games. St. Cloud State has outscored its opponents 19-1 in the first period.
  • The power play was 3-for-6 with 11 shots on goal for SCSU. In its three previous games (all losses), the Huskies had gone 1-for-13 on the power play.

North Dakota goalie Jakob Hellsten (32) blocks a shot against St. Cloud State in the first period Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.  Jason Wachter / The Rink Live
North Dakota goalie Jakob Hellsten (32) blocks a shot against St. Cloud State in the first period Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud. Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

No. 5/6 SCSU 8, No. 7 North Dakota 1

UND 0-1-0—1

SCSU 3-2-3—8

First period scoring 1. SCSU, Kyler Kupka 1 (Nick Perbix 6, Kevin Fitzgerald 11) :18; 2. SCSU, Kevin Fitzgerald 7 (Micah Miller 3, Ondrej Trejbal 5) 4:56; 3. SCSU, Easton Brodzinski 7 (Jack Peart 5, Nick Perbix 7) 10:59 (pp). Penalties — UND, Griffin Ness (holding) 9:39; SCSU, Peart (interference) 14:31.

Second period scoring 4. UND, Connor Ford 2 (Jackson Kunz 2, Jake Sanderson 11) 12:14; 5 SCSU, Brodzinski 8 (Fitzgerald 12, Perbix 8) 14:57; 6. SCSU, Zach Okabe 5 (Nick Perbix 9, Jack Peart 6) 19:26 (pp). Penalties — UND, Chris Jandric (spearing, major, game misconduct) 14:57; SCSU, Seamus Donohue (interference) 15:33; UND, Gavin Hain (roughing) 19:35.

Third period scoring 7. SCSU, Jami Krannila 7 (Spencer Meier 6, Zach Okabe 5) 1:43; 8. SCSU, Brodzinski 9 (Fitzgerald 13) 3:28; 9. SCSU, Nolan Walker 6 (Peart 7, Brodzinski 4) 9:46 (pp). Penalties — SCSU, Joe Molenaar (tripping) 5:30; UND, Portz (tripping) 8:19; UND, Riese Gaber (tripping) 13:20.

Goalie savesUND, Zach Driscoll 2-x-x—2 (3 GA), Jakob Hellsten (in at 10:59 of 1st) 5-8-9—22 (5 GA). SCSU, David Hrenak 7-9-11—27 (1 GA).

Penalties-minutesUND 6-23; SCSU 3-6.

Power plays (shots)UND 0-2 (2 shots); SCSU 3-6 (11 shots).

FaceoffsSCSU 32-29.

RefereesBobby Lukkason and Joe Sullivan.

LinesemenElliott Bucholz and Dana Penkivech.

Three stars of the game 1. Brodzinski (SCSU), 2. Perbix (SCSU), 3. Fitzgerald (SCSU).

Attendance4,703.

St. Cloud State forward Aidan Spellacy (8) tries to put the puck past North Dakota defenseman Brady Ferner (2) and North Dakota goalie Jakob Hellsten (32) in the third period Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.  Jason Wachter / The Rink Live
St. Cloud State forward Aidan Spellacy (8) tries to put the puck past North Dakota defenseman Brady Ferner (2) and North Dakota goalie Jakob Hellsten (32) in the third period Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud. Jason Wachter / The Rink Live