ORONO, ME. — The St. Cloud Huskies made some noise in the opening game of the Icebreaker Cup. They used their dominant performance in the first period to fuel a 5-1 victory over the Clarkson Golden Knights at Alfond Arena Friday afternoon.
The Huskies outshot the Golden Knights 16-2 in the first, not allowing Clarkson a shot on goal until the 12:15 mark of the period.
St. Cloud freshman Matt Hendricks opened the scoring at 9:25 of the first period. Defensemen Matt Gens took a shot from the high slot between the face-off circles that was stopped by Clarkson goalie Mike Walsh in a scramble in front of the net. Hendricks picked up the rebound and skated to his left to find the open space for a shot and roofed the puck over Walsh with a wrist shot to put the Huskies in front.
“Nick DiCasmirro got me the puck from the corner, and I got it back to Gens at the point,” Hendricks said of the goal. “The goalie made a nice save on him, but unfortunately for them, the puck came to me, and, luckily for me, I was able to bury it.”
The Huskies added to their lead when their freshman line of Mike Doyle, Peter Szabo, and Dave Iannazzo hooked up. Doyle stole the puck from Clarkson defenseman Chris Bahen in the right corner and quickly fired a pass to Szabo in the slot.
Szabo got a one-touch pass to Iannazzo, who hit a one-timer into an open net to make it 2-0 at 15:48.
It looked that would be the score after one until Nate DiCasmirro threw a puck at the net with time running out from the right wing boards. Hartigan deflected the shot and it slid through the legs of Walsh as time expired to give St. Cloud a 3-0 advantage after one period.
St. Cloud went up 4-0 only 1:21 into the second period after Husky captain Jon Cullen won an offensive zone face-off clean to winger Ron Malone. He wristed the puck high to the stick-side to get his first of the year.
The game started getting chippy midway through the second period after St. Cloud forward Mike Walsh leveled Clarkson’s Adam Campana in the open ice while his head was down. The hit resulted in a concussion for Campana and no penalty was called on the play, but it gave the Golden Knights the spark they needed to get back in the game.
In a four-on-four situation, senior right wing Chris Line got Clarkson on the board. He shot the puck along the ice from the high slot. On the way to the net, it ticked off a St. Cloud defender’s skate and under goalie Dean Weasler to make it 4-1 Huskies at 18:21 of the second period.
St. Cloud shut the door early in the third period, though. The Huskies went back up by four goals 1:52 into the third period of a Mike Doyle breakaway. Doyle broke in down the middle of the ice, but lost control of the puck as he neared the goal off the end of his stick. The puck still found its way under Walsh, making it 5-1 in favor of St. Cloud.
Clarkson played much better from the second half of the second period on, and ended up out shooting St. Cloud 31-30 for the game. But Weasler stood tall for the Huskies in net, making a few stellar saves on good chances by the Golden Knights in the third period. He ended up with 30 saves, while Walsh ended the game with 25 saves for Clarkson.
“He played well,” St. Cloud coach Criag Dahl said of Weasler. “When you’re up 4-1, you’re going to end up giving up some good chances. I’ve been pleased with him through training camp. He did what you need to do to be able to compete at the top in your league.
“For most of the game I thought we played pretty good,” said Dahl. “We let down after [Adam Campana] got hurt. I wasn’t real happy with that, but we refocused in the locker room for the third period and we came out and did what we had to do.”
“It was our first outing, and things got away from us in the first period,” Mark Morris, Clarkson’s head coach, said. “St. Cloud’s speed was a little too much for us to handle at this point in the year.
“I thought we were ineffective offensively in the first period because we didn’t get to any pucks. Our overall play in the second and third was better, so we’ll build on that tomorrow.”
Clarkson will play Bowling Green in the Consolation game of the Icebreaker Cup tomorrow at 5 PM, while St. Cloud now moves the Championship game against Maine at 8 PM at Alfond Arena.