ST. CLOUD STATE – The co-MacNaughton Cup Champions and No.
8-ranked St. Cloud State Huskies ended the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves’ season
with a 5-1 win in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association First Round
Playoffs at the National Hockey & Event Center on Saturday evening.
Despite a career-high 41 saves from junior Chris Kamal,
the Seawolves’ (4-25-7, 2-22-6 WCHA) season came to a conclusion when the
Huskies (23-14-1, 18-9-1 WCHA) erupted for four goals in the final frame to
advance to the 2013 Red Baron WCHA Final Five next weekend.
After the Huskies’ Drew LaBlanc – the WCHA Player of the
year – scored in the first six minutes of play, the score remained 1-0 until
4:56 of the third period when David Morley gave SCSU a two-goal lead off a
deflection. The momentum swung in favor of UAA 58 seconds later when freshman
forward Blake Tatchell, UAA’s point leader, poked in the Seawolves’ lone tally
Seawolf assists went to senior forward Alex Gellert and sophomore defenseman Derek Docken.
UAA had picked up the pace and hopes were high until
senior Tyler Currier was called for elbowing, sending the Huskies on a 2-minute
power-play at 8:32. Nic Dowd was able to capitalize on the man advantage 41
seconds later, retuning the lead to two for SCSU.
The Huskies would secure the win with an even-strength
goal by Cory Thorson at 13:20, before following it up with an empty-netter by
Ben Hanowski from center ice at 18:47.
Kamal’s 41 saves tops his previous best of 39, registered
earlier this month against Alaska Fairbanks. In net for SCSU was Ryan Faragher,
who furnished 19 saves for the win. The Huskies outshot UAA, 46-20.
The Seawolves will say goodbye to seniors Chris Crowell, Currier,
Gellert, Daniel Naslund and Scott Warner.