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Huskies' Lizotte feels right at home

During his college career, St. Cloud State defenseman Jon Lizotte has developed a reputation as a strong, defensive defenseman. Maybe it's something about being back home at Ralph Engelstad Arena that seems to help the Grand Forks Red River produ...

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Judd Peterson reacts to Jon Lizotte's goal in the second period at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

During his college career, St. Cloud State defenseman Jon Lizotte has developed a reputation as a strong, defensive defenseman.

Maybe it's something about being back home at Ralph Engelstad Arena that seems to help the Grand Forks Red River product find his old offensive skills.

Lizotte had a goal, an assist and a team-best plus-one rating to lead St. Cloud State to a 4-3 overtime victory over UND on Friday night in the NCHC series opener.

"Jon has been outstanding," St. Cloud coach Bob Motzko said. "He has the will of a lion. We really rely on him heavily to be an anchor and a rock for us. The bigger the game, the better he is for us."

A dynamic offensive defenseman in high school, Lizotte won North Dakota state high school championships at REA at Red River as a sophomore and a senior.

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Lizotte had two goals at REA in last year's NCHC quarterfinals when St. Cloud lost 6-5 in overtime to end the Huskies' season.

"Maybe I'm a little luckier here," Lizotte said. "Certainly playing at home in a big building, I use the crowd to my advantage. It gives you a little jump to find an extra level and find a way to produce for my team."

Lizotte has played in 101 career games at SCSU and netted his ninth career goal on Friday.

In the second period, Lizotte started SCSU's scoring when he beat UND goalie Cam Johnson five hole.

"That was a huge result and game for us," Lizotte said. "At the end of the season, games will be like this every weekend. For us to come out on top, it shows a lot of character in our team."

In the third period, Lizotte sprung Ryan Poehling on a breakaway during 4-on-4 play and Poehling made a fancy move between his legs to score a key goal to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead midway through the frame.

What'd Lizotte see on the play?

"I don't even know," he said. "I was so shocked at the situation. I thought I saw it but didn't believe it at first. I'm not really surprised, though; he does that at practice all the time. It was a spectacular goal. He enjoyed that one."

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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