Over the past few years, St. Cloud State has managed to put together some decent seasons, but nothing spectacular. Each year, there has been a different reason; last year’s was arguably inconsistency.
The Huskies would go on either mini-winning streaks or mini-losing streaks with hardly any variation. Just as you’d think they were going to emerge, something would happen and they’d slide a few games. As a result, they finished sixth, one point behind Minnesota and out of home ice. A quarterfinal sweep by the Gophers and SCSU was done.
So, what about this year?
The Huskies have a solid group of established players to build upon and, if they can build a larger core around them, might end up with home ice.
In other words, this season will probably bring more of the same, with the losses coming as the team tries to establish itself and the wins coming once it has … and ending up once again somewhere in the middle.
Offensively, the Huskies are led by senior Ryan Lasch and junior Garrett Roe, their two returning leading scorers. Lasch is known as one of the better offensive players in the whole of college hockey and Roe has been following along since his freshman year.
Behind those two, however, are a group of guys a lot lesser known — in particular, junior Aaron Marvin.
“Aaron’s point production’s gone up both season’s he’s been here; from his freshman to his sophomore year was a big jump,” coach Bob Motzko said. “He comes back with a great summer and he really looks strong and he’s able to take that next step and he’s going to be filling those minutes.”
Besides Marvin, look to sophomores Jared Festler, Jordy Christian and Travis Novak as well as incoming freshmen David Eddy and Ben Hanowski.
On the Blue Line
One thing that will help the Huskies out this year is having a little more experience defensively. Last year, the team started several freshmen defensemen, including Olivier Lauridsen, Nicholas Rioux and Sam Zabkowicz. Now, those guys have a year under their belts and Motzko thinks that will be one thing that will help tremendously.
“Our defensive corps is going to come around and develop with a little more experience and that’s how we’re going to establish ourselves,” he said.
Leading them will be senior captain Garrett Raboin, who not only contributes defensively but offensively, as well.
In the Crease
Two years ago, the Huskies had to answer a question in nets after Bobby Goepfert graduated.
This year, the Huskies have the same question as Goepfert’s replacement, Jase Weslosky, chose to leave early and not return for his senior season after being ruled academically ineligible.
Now, the options are either junior Dan Dunn, with a grand total of nine WCHA games under his belt, sophomore Nate Hardy or freshman Mike Lee.
“[Dan] has played for two years behind Jase and he’s ready to take the challenge and he’s going to fight, and Mike Lee has a ton of accolades that he’s earned along the way,” said Motzko. “He knows this is brand new and he’s excited for the battle to go against Dan Dunn right now for those playing minutes.
“We don’t pick starting goaltenders; they pick themselves.”