Huskies St. Paul Bound
03/18/2013 - 11:00 AM
The St. Cloud State University Huskies are heading to the Xcel Energy Center this weekend after a playoff sweep over Alaska Anchorage at home. The Huskies played to two convincing wins against the bottom-seed in the playoffs, with final scores of 6-1 on Friday and 5-1 on Saturday. Despite the lopsided scores, both games were one-goal games after the first period of play. Friday night saw the Huskies with a 2-1 lead after the first period. Garrett Milan scored his second goal of the season just 3:15 into the game, and red-shirt freshman David Morley scored his 10th of the season in the period.
The rest of the game was all Huskies. In the second period, Jonny Brodzinski scored his 20th goal of the season, Joey Benik scored his third on the powerplay, and Jimmy Murray scored his fifth of the season. Brodzinski added another goal in the third period to give him 21 on the year. Brodzinski leads the nation for goals scored as a freshman, and continues to lead the nation overall in +/- rating with an incredible +28.
On Saturday night, it took much longer to take the game out of hand. The only goal early in the game came from senior Drew LeBlanc, who scored his 13 goal of the season, making it 1-0 less than six minutes into the contest. The game stayed 1-0 for the entire second period, and through the first 4:56 of the third. At that mark, David Morley notched his second goal of the weekend and 11th of the season to make it 2-0. Alaska Anchorage, who had been getting a lot of help from goaltender Chris Kamal, made it a 2-1 game with Blake Tatchell's ninth goal.
The Huskies then proceeded to score three un-answered, including an empty net goal by senior Ben Hanowski to punch SCSU's ticket to St. Paul. Senior Taylor Johnson also found the score-sheet with an assist on David Morley's goal, giving all three seniors points in their final game at the National Hockey and Event Center.
Following the win, handshake line, and stick salute, WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod along with Athletic Director Heather Weems and St. Cloud State President Earl Potter officially presented the MacNaughton Cup to captains LeBlanc, Hanowski and Nick Jensen. The celebration was the first of its kind to take place on the ice in St. Cloud. Unsurprisingly, the 40 pound, pure silver trophy spent most of it's time near the dog pound.
St. Cloud will play the 2:00 p.m. semi-final game on Friday night against the winner of the quarter-final game between Minnesota State Mankato and Wisconsin at the Final Five in St. Paul. It will be SCSU's last appearance before departing the the NCHC next season.
St. Cloud bumped around in the PairWise Rankings on Sunday while six WCHA teams were battling it out in game three. As of Monday at 10:45 a.m. the Huskies are 12th in the PairWise, which is officially on the bubble. Only the top 11 teams in the PairWise are guaranteed an at-large bid in the national tournament.
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