04/01/2013 - 12:00 PM
After defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday, the Huskies came back with another solid game on Sunday to send the team to their first-ever Frozen Four.
After scoring two goals in Saturday’s victory, freshman Joey Benik got the scoring stated in the first period at the 5:28 mark with his 6th goal of the season to put St. Cloud up 1-0 early. Late in the first, Miami threw a flurry of shots on net, and goaltender Ryan Faragher was able to stop all of them. Miami led in the shots category after the first period with a 9-6 advantage, after St. Cloud had started the period with a 6-2 advantage in shots, but the score remained 1-0.
The second period started with Joey Benik striking once again. Just like his two goals on Saturday, Benik picked up a rebound at the goal mouth and stuffed it into a wide open net, making it 2-0 with his 7th goal of the season and 2nd of the game. That put Benik’s goal total in the national tournament to four after scoring only three goals in 18 games played. Benik’s second goal was assised by Brooks Bertsch and Kevin Gravel.
After a holding the stick penalty assessed to Nick Jensen, Miami was able to get on the board with a powerplay goal at the 7:50 mark of the second on Blake Coleman’s 9th goal of the season, making it a 2-1 game. The Huskies were able to respond relatively quickly with a long goal off the stick of Cory Thorson at 10:12 of the second period, brining SCSU’s lead back up to two goals. Thorson’s goal was also assisted by Bertsch, who has two assists in the contest.
The Huskies entered the third period just 20 minutes away from their first ever Frozen Four berth. St. Cloud’s third line has all six points up to this point, and Faragher has kept the team in the lead with 13 saves after two. With Miami hanging on for dear life, the Huskies turned things up on defense. The two teams traded powerplays with no avail. Faragher kept the door shut with seven saves in the third. St. Cloud only put five shots on goal in the third but did a great job at limiting Miami’s chances. Tensions were high on both benches. Miami’s head coach Enrico Blasi was clearly looking nervous on his bench, while coach Bob Motzko appeared to be much cooler, whether he actually was or not. The game entered the final minute. Miami’s goaltender Ryan McKay has been pulled. St. Cloud missed a couple of opportunities with a wide open net on the other side. Just as it appeared the Huskies were heading to the Frozen Four, Cory Thorson scored an empty net goal with 0.2 seconds left in the game, allowing St. Cloud to start celebrating a little early.
The game ended with a score of 4-1. The third line for SCSU scored all of the points in the game. The seven points came from Benik (2G), Bertsch (2A), and Thorson (2G 1A). Ryan Faragher ended the evening with 20 saves, and was named goaltender for the all-regional team. Defenseman Andrew Prochno also made the all-regional team, along with Cory Thorson and Joey Benik, who was also named the Midwest Regional’s Most Outstanding Player.
St. Cloud joins the Yale Bulldogs, University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks, and the Quinnipiac Bobcats at the Frozen Four. All four teams will have the next weekend off, and the Frozen Four will get underway on Thursday, April 11, for the semi-finals. UMass-Lowell will be playing Yale in the first game at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA, followed by the evening game of St. Cloud State and Quinnipiac. SCSU and Quinnipiac are slated to start at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, and will be aired on ESPN 2, and, of course, on KVSC. All four teams in the Frozen Four field are seeking their first national championship. On Friday the 12th or April, the Hobey Baker Memorial Award recipient will be announced out of the three finalists (Hobey Hattrick). The championship game will be held the next night, with the winner of that game hoisting their first ever national title.
KVSC will do the best job at keeping you up to date until that time. Make sure to follow us on Twitter for all updates concerning St. Cloud State Hockey.
Contributed by: Bryan Kangas
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