Wild prospect Hentges keeps scoring for St. Cloud State

That St. Cloud State’s high-flying offense would take a step back this season was never really in question.

Penn State was the only team to score more than the Huskies last season, who averaged four goals per game and converted on 24% of their power-play opportunities.

St. Cloud State lost four of its top-five scorers over the summer, including three 40-point players in Patrick Newell, Blake Lizotte and Robby Jackson.

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So far, they’ve looked the part. The Huskies (2-2-4) are averaging 3.12 goals per game through eight contests this season with a goal differential of minus-3.

One of just three NHL draft picks on the roster, sophomore forward and Minnesota Wild prospect Sam Hentges is stepping up to fill the void.

Hentges has registered a point in all eight games this season and leads the NCHC with 15 points and six goals on the season after piling up four more points in the Huskies road series with Northern Michigan last weekend.

The NCHC’s player of the month for October, Hentges been held without a goal just three times this season, and has five in his last six games. All of that after registering just 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 37 games as a freshman.

At 1.88 points per game, he trails only Alexander Khovanov (34 points in 16 games) of the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats amongst Wild prospects this season.

A product of Totino-Grace High School, Hentges’ single season in the USHL was cut short by shoulder surgery.

That didn’t deter his hometown team. The Wild took a flyer on Hentges in the seventh round in 2018, ahead of his first season at St. Cloud State. It’s easy to see the appeal.

Hentges has come up big throughout the young season for the Huskies. He has two three-point games already, and netted the game-winner in SCSU’s comeback win over Northeastern on Oct. 26.

Other notes:

— AHL rookie Mat Robson (free agent, 2019) has his first pro shutout. The Gophers alum blanked the Ontario Reign on Sunday, making 17 saves. Robson ranks third in the AHL with a .942 SV% and second with a 1.78 GAA in six games.

— Sophomore forward Jack McBain (third round, 2018) scored his first goal of the season last weekend, as Boston College swept UConn, adding two assists in the series. Freshman defenseman Marshall Warren (sixth round, 2019) had an assist as well.

— Freshman forward Vladislav Firstov (second round, 2019) scored UConn’s only goal in that series, and ranks second on the Huskies with five points (two goals, three assists) in eight games.

— Junior forward Nick Swaney (seventh round, 2017) had three assists for Minnesota Duluth during the Bulldogs’ series with Denver last weekend.

— Kirill Kaprizov (fifth round, 2015) has a four-game point streak going and now ranks second in the KHL with 25 points in 23 games.