ST. CLOUD, Minn. – The No. 8-ranked St. Cloud State Huskies handed the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves a 6-1 loss in Game 1 of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association First Round at the National Hockey & Event Center on Friday evening.
The Seawolves (4-24-7), the No. 12 seed, held the No. 1 seeded Huskies (22-14-1) to a one-goal lead after 20 minutes of play, but SCSU took control of the game with three unanswered goals in the second and one in the third, placing them one step closer to the Red Baron WCHA Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center on March 21-23.
Anchorage local Scott Warner was UAA’s lone goal scorer when he knotted the game with a five-hole strike at 4:24 of the first, just 1:09 after St. Cloud opened the scoring with an even-strength goal by Garrett Milan at 3:15. Assisting on Warner’s third of the season – tying his career-best in 2010-11 – were sophomore Scott Allen and senior Alex Gellert.
Following a five-minute major and game misconduct on freshman Ben Matthews for checking from behind, the Seawolves were able to kill off four minutes and 49 seconds of the penalty before David Morley struck at 15:08 with a backdoor goal.
SCSU, the co-MacNaughton Cup champs, started the second frame with freshman Jonny Brodzinski’s 20th of the season at 4:06. Brodzinski would also register an unassisted tally with just 22 seconds expired on the clock in the third.
The Seawolves, which were already short one forward and one defender prior to Matthew’s ejection, didn’t help themselves any in the second period, receiving two penalties early on and allowing the Huskies to capitalize at 7:40 on the man advantage. Overall UAA was tagged for 25 minutes of penalties.
SCSU final tally of the second came with 39 seconds left in the frame.
With just over six minutes left in the game, the Huskies pulled Ryan Faragher to give Joseph Phillippi some action in net, before Nic Down received a five-minute major for boarding. The UAA power-play was cut short when freshman Blake Leask was whistled for high sticking.
Junior Rob Gunderson, from Lethbridge, Alberta, made 26 stops in the loss, while Faragher posted 22. SCSU outshot UAA, 32-23.
The Seawolves will need to win tomorrow night’s game to prolong their season. The contest is scheduled to start at 4:07 p.m. ADT. A Seawolf win would trigger the third game on Sunday, also with a 4:07 p.m. ADT start.