On Thursday nights when he was a freshman, St. Cloud State’s Ethan Prow would take his hockey mate home to Sauk Rapids, Minn., for his mother’s pasta.
“I grew up less than 10 minutes from campus so it was a nice way to get to know everyone and get a home-cooked meal,” said Prow, now a senior. “Nowadays, I like to stay on campus more with the guys and we had a fish fry before the season. We’re a pretty tight group.”
They’re also a pretty good group.
As the Huskies wrap up NCHC regular-season play with a weekend series at Colorado College, three of Prow’s senior classmates have already hit the century mark for points — Kalle Kossila (46 goals, 93 assists, 139 points), Joey Benik (55, 61, 116) and David Morley (48, 67, 115). Prow is knocking on the door with 18 goals and 74 assists for 92 points. His longtime roommate Jimmy Murray (33 goals, 54 assists, 87 points) is also within striking distance.
Together, the fivesome have combined for 549 points, one Frozen Four appearance, a Penrose Cup and two more NCAA Tournament berths.
At 25-8-1, the Huskies enter their regular-season finale Saturday on ASN as the fifth-ranked team in the nation. That sounds great except for the fact they were swept at home last weekend by Minnesota Duluth and slipped three spots in the rankings.
Now they face a dangerous CC team that plays harder than its 6-24-1 record. In January, the Tigers split with the Huskies in St. Cloud.
That loss, coupled with last week’s sweep, has refueled SCSU’s drive.
“It really doesn’t matter where you’re ranked so long as you get in,” Prow said. “Our freshmen year we barely made it in and we made it to the Frozen Four. But yeah, anytime you get swept in this league the team the next week knows it’s going to be facing a team that will come out flying.
“Colorado is a really good team. We know that.”
Prow is the proverbial straw that stirs St. Cloud State’s offensive drink. Ranked second in the nation at 4.16 goals per game, 11 players have 20 or more points, six have 29 or more (including the five seniors) and Kossila has 40.
Last weekend’s sweep marked the first time since Feb. 28 at North Dakota and March 6 at Denver that SCSU dropped back-to-back games with Prow in the line. The last time the Huskies dropped three in a row with Prow manning the blue line was during the 2014-2015 season when the Huskies were swept by North Dakota and lost the series opener against Denver on March 6.
The Huskies were swept Oct. 23-24 at Quinnipiac earlier this season, but that was with Prow out of the lineup because of concussion protocol.
To understand how much of an impact the Hobey Baker candidate has on his team, one need only hear the name the Huskies gave the nation’s second-best power play: the “Prower Play.”
Prow chuckles at the mention.
“I’ve heard that,” he said. “It’s a nice compliment.”
Without him at Quinnipiac, the Huskies were 0-for-5 on the power play. With him, only Harvard converts at a higher success rate (29.9 to 29.4).
Prow is living the dream playing in front of friends and family for the hometown team he grew up watching. Once the Huskies came recruiting, he committed within a week. And though he’s never been drafted or tempted by NHL teams to leave school early, he aspires to test the free agent market. If that doesn’t work he will have his finance degree.
“It’s been a tremendous class to be a part of,” Prow said. “Its weird how time goes by so fast. They always say time flies, but you don’t realize it until it’s happening.
“I couldn’t get a better group. Since day one we’ve wanted to be a puck-moving team, and we’ve all stayed close. Jimmy Murray was my freshman roommate and he’s still my roommate today.”