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 at 5:58.
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.