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Leaders of the Pack

02/04/2013 - 1:00 AM

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Leaders of the Pack
David Morley

The St Cloud State Men's hockey team gained some breathing room in the WCHA standings over the weekend by sweeping the two game series versus the Bemidji State Beavers. The Huskies entered the weekend series leading the WCHA by one point over the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the University of Minnesota.

Friday night the Huskies got to the Beavers midway through the opening period on a goal by Nic Dowd who stole a pass and raced deep into the Beaver zone for an unassisted goal. It was the 12th goal of the season, the Huskies have now won in every game that he notched a goal in. About 90 seconds after the Dowd goal, Brooks Bertsch netted his second of the season to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead. The quick goals by the Huskies caused BSU head coach Tom Serratore to pull his starting goaltender, Andrew Walsh. Walsh was replaced by Mathieu Dugas the first shot Dugas saw came off the stick on senior forward Ben Hanowski, beating Dugas to and netting his 12th goal on the season, just 49 seconds after the Bertsch goal. The Huskies were then up 3-0 on a trio of goals that were scored in a span of 2:22. Dugas then settled in and Bemidji played strong throughout the rest of the contest.

The Huskies had a tough time breaking through the Beavers trap playing style but the damage had been done. Ryan Faragher stood tall in net for the Huskies and also received top-notch help from the defensemen. Nick Jensen and Andrew Prochno stood out among defensemen in the game. Prochno swatted a would be goal, out of the air and helped preserve the Huskies shutout in the third period while Faragher was out of the crease. St Cloud State would add an empty net goal in the final three minutes of the game for their fourth goal on the night. The goal was scored by freshman Jonny Brodzinski extending his scoring streak to 12 games.

Ryan Faragher earned his third shutout on the season in the 4-0 win. An interesting fact from the victory: of the four goals scored, three marked the 12th goal of the season for Nic Dowd (12), Ben Hanowski (12) and Jonny Brodzinski (12).

The Huskies knew Saturday would be no walk in the park. When Coach Bob Motzko was asked during pregame if the pressure was starting to mount against his Huskies he stated, "We are taking things a game at a time, it's nice to be on top but we have bigger plans for ourselves this season. We can't worry about what other teams are doing; we can only control what we do. I feel that social media, the fans and parents are maybe making this a bigger deal that it really is." While coach Motzko tried to deflect attention away from his squad, the Huskies continue to rack up the points in the WCHA. The Huskies had not suffered a WCHA loss in eight games going into Saturday's showdown.

The Huskies and Beavers played a back and forth opening period before the SCSU’s Kalle Kossila would break through with his team leading his 13th goal of the season to put the Huskies up 1-0. Kossila's goal came at the 13:54 mark in the opening period on a beautiful pass from the point off Nick Jensen’s stick. It was Jensen' 18th assist on the season, Cory Thorson also had a hand in the play. BSU would tie the game at 1-1 in the final minute of the opening period on a goal by defensemen Brady Wacker.

St. Cloud State took the lead back early in the second period on a goal by Jonny Brodzinski, his 13th on the season, extending his scoring streak to 13 games. Late in the period while on the power play, David Morley cleaned up a loose puck on the right side of netminder Mathieu Dugas for his ninth goal on the season. Kalle Kossila and Drew LeBlanc were credited with the assists. It was LeBlanc’s nation leading 30th assist on the season.

Drew LeBlanc would get things going for the Huskies to start the third period adding an unassisted goal just 12 seconds after the puck dropped. That would take the wind out of the sails of BSU and Sanford Center. St Cloud State won the contest 4-1 extending their WCHA unbeaten streak to nine games. The Huskies also remain undefeated at the Sanford Center.

On Saturday night UNO had fell to Michigan Tech, giving St Cloud State a three point advantage in the WCHA. The Huskies now have 29 points in the conference, the most since they notched 35 points in the 2009 - 2010 season. That year, the Huskies finished third in the WCHA. The Huskies has also moved up in three different polls this week. SCSU is ranked 8th in USCHO polls, up from 12th last week. They are also 8th in PairWise and have snuck into the tenth spot in the USA today poll.

The Huskies will be back home this weekend to welcome the University of Minnesota to the NHEC for the last time in conference play. In the last 10 games with the Golden Gophers the Huskies are 4-6. SCSU is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings at the NHEC versus Minnesota. Due to Trivia the KVSC Sports Department will broadcast the weekend series on our Sports Stream. Follow along with the action on our Twitter and Facebook pages all week long up to the minute coverage.