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College Hockey:
This time, St. Cloud State the victim of an opponent’s fast start

The Huskies used good opening periods to get to the Frozen Four, but Quinnipiac turned the tables.

— St. Cloud State managed to bury its opponent early on in each of its regional games to pave its road to the Frozen Four.

Thursday’s Frozen Four semifinal game against Quinnipiac took on a similar plot, with the winner rewarded for its fast start, but the Huskies found themselves on the wrong end in a 4-1 loss.

“When you’re about to play the biggest game of your life, you don’t expect to come out flat-footed,” senior Drew LeBlanc said. “[Quinnipiac] came out flying and we came out flat and that decided the game.”

The Bobcats scored 1:49 into the game and went up 3-0 just after the 11-minute mark. Jordan Samuels-Thomas scored the Bobcats’ first goal and assisted on the second.

The Huskies stepped up their intensity and pressure inside the offensive zone for the remainder of the game, but SCSU will look to the slow start when it looks for answers.

“We’d do anything to replay the first 10 minutes of the hockey game,” St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko said. “We dug ourselves a hole. We hunkered back down but we just couldn’t overcome it.”

The Huskies struck first against Notre Dame in the first round March 30, increased their lead and fed off the momentum they gained with the first goal.

SCSU’s method was the same the next day against Miami, jumping on the RedHawks early and keeping them from getting into a rhythm.

The Huskies outskated both of those teams and their speed won the games. Quinnipiac matched SCSU’s quickness Thursday and caught the Huskies defense flat-footed, allowing Russell Goodman to skate around the net untouched to get the puck to Samuels-Thomas on the first goal.

“They came out buzzing but it wasn’t anything of a surprise to us,” LeBlanc said. “Like coach said, if we got that first 10 minutes back and we come out better, it’s a different game.”

But it’s not like the Huskies didn’t have their chances to score. SCSU had a couple chances miss off scrambles in front of the net that didn’t materialize and a few other shots hit the pipe.

After LeBlanc hit the right post on a first-period power play, the Bobcats gathered the puck and Jeremy Langlois — whose penalty just expired — got the puck from the neutral zone. Langlois beat a backchecking LeBlanc and scored to put Quinnipiac up by three goals.

“At that point, we had a number of quality chances,” Motzko said. “We had a couple of great opportunities and they get [a goal] right after the penalty ended. I don’t know if that was a turning point or if it buried us, but we did not need another mistake right there.”

Bobcats goaltender Eric Hartzell was also on top of his game and was another reason the Huskies couldn’t mount a comeback. Hartzell stopped 33 shots, many of them through traffic and second-chance whacks at the puck.

The only goal Hartzell allowed happened when he was laying on his belly in the crease, trying to get back in position. Joey Benik had plenty of time to get the wide-open shot off and put the Huskies on the board with his fifth goal in three NCAA tournament games at the 6:25 mark of the second period.

“[Hartzell] was outstanding and he showed why he’s up for the Hobey,” Huskies senior Ben Hanowski said. “He saw over 30 shots and he only gives up one. We didn’t capitalize on our chances and he got into a good groove.”


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  • Leggs2

    “E-Z-AC” Yeah, right. I think we’re DONE with that silly argument.

    • Afterfurtherreview

      Well, for one year anyways. Yale and Quinnipiac both played extremely well last night… congrats!

      • Leggs2

        Well, ECAC’s Union went to the FF last year, was in the Tournament the year prior, and this year CRUSHED the defending champs, BC. Not just a “one year” thing.

        • Afterfurtherreview

          I take your posts with a grain of salt, Leggs. I saw the posts last year and Union can do nothing wrong in your eyes. They are certainly not the only team that CRUSHED BC this year, they had a “down” year and still made a regional.

          • Leggs2

            Only team that CRUSHED the Defending Champions in the Big Dance, though. U a UNH fan? So sorry. Get home ice every other year and STILL can’t make the big time. (And I LIVE in NH and am a supporter!)

          • Afterfurtherreview

            That’s about what I expected for a response. Well, you are correct because only one team can CRUSH a team in the Big Dance. Yup, still a supporter. While I wish they would win it all once, I am happy that they consistently put a very good product on the ice. And, they have hosted 5 times, so not quite every year.
            My original post, as I stated, only meant that they EZAC stigma will still be there… not by me, but by others. It takes more than a couple of years to break that. I am very happy for both Yale and Quinnipiac and looking forward to a great game tomorrow night.

          • HOCKEYHEAD

            Wow Leggs, you’re so smart! Really, Union was the only team to crush BC in the big dance. They are the only team that got a chance…. Hello anyone there.

      • http://www.facebook.com/zippy.mcfarland Zippy Mcfarland

        Cmon dude…. I am an avid, and maybe even rabid WCHA Fan. Let’s be honest, the ECAC has proven that they are a competitive conference for the last few years, and it seems that there is no reason for that to change. An ECAC team will be the NCAA Champ come Saturday and both teams made quite a statement on the road to the final game. Union has also had much success in the tourney too. The reality is that the talent pool is growing deeper and deeper with more great players spreading around. I don’t think we will ever see the days of tournament dominant conferences ever again. Not the B1G, not the NCHC, not HE. They will be good, but not good enough to keep the ECAC and nWCHA from the final game year in and year out. Congrats ECAC, great for NCAA Hockey!

        • Afterfurtherreview

          All I said is the argument is over for this year, not that I agree with the argument or participate in it. Of all of my posts on here, I have never once called them the EZAC. I simply made a valid point. I am a UNH/HE fan and most of the ECAC teams I have been watching for years as they are old rivals of UNH, back in the day. I am very happy for both Yale and Quinnipiac. You took my one simple sentence and turned it to a ‘he hates the ECAC.,’ which is incorrect.
          This is my 15th consecutive FF and it is probably one of the ones I was looking forward to the most, once the teams were finally in place. Last night was a lot of fun and tomorrow should be just as good or better.

  • SCSU

    This was a lopsided goaltending matchup. Faragher let in some weak goals and Hartzell played well.