MANKATO, Minn. — St. Cloud State 7, MSU-Mankato 1
Huskies Stay Hot In 7-1 Victory
St. Cloud State’s offense rolled through its first four games of the season, tallying 25 goals en route to a 4-0-0 start. Things were no different Friday night as the Huskies overpowered Minnesota State 7-1.
The Huskies received hat tricks from two left wings, senior Nate DiCasmirro and freshman Mike Doyle, on their way to the win. Forwards Dave Iannazzo and Mark Hartigan each had three assists as well, and goaltender Dean Weasler made 36 saves as the SCSU improved to 5-0-0 (3-0-0 in the WCHA).
After what DiCasmirro called a poor first period, the No. 3 Huskies tallied timely goals which helped them swing the momentum in their favor. St. Cloud scored two goals in the final 2:30 of the second period to go up 3-1, and then scored two goals less than two minutes into the third to put the game out of reach.
St. Cloud head coach Craig Dahl gave credit both to MSU (3-2-0 overall, 2-1-0 in the WCHA) and Weasler.
“I thought Mankato played extremely hard and well for the first 30 minutes,” said Dahl. “They really came to play. Our guys weren’t playing as hard as they could. After Dean made some really nice saves, we were able to chip some goals in and have a 3-1 lead at the end of two. But really I think Mankato played really well.”
Despite the fact that St. Cloud is the only WCHA team MSU has not beaten since its program went to the Division I level, the Mavericks kept up with the Huskies for most of the first two periods.
Weasler set the tone early on for the Huskies as he kept his team in while they played a lackluster first half, making key saves on the penalty kill to help his team get through four shorthanded situations in the first.
Only six minutes in, MSU’s Josh Kern had a point-blank shot on Weasler on the power play, but the senior was there to shut the door.
Later in the period, while SCSU’s Ryan Johnson was off for hooking, Weasler stopped two hard slapshot attempts by Andy Hedlund. Hedlund, running the point on the Mavericks’ power play, was denied by two quick stick saves.
St. Cloud got on the board at the 16:58 mark of the first. Iannazzo and Doyle came down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush. Iannazzo carried the puck down the left side and slid it across the crease to a streaking Doyle, who deflected the puck past MSU freshman goaltender Jon Volp. The Huskies carried their 1-0 lead into the second.
The Mavericks came out strong after intermission and carried the play. Weasler made key saves Kern, Cole Bassett, and Grant Stevenson before the Minnesota State finally got past him.
After SCSU killed off the first penalty of a 5-3 power play advantage for MSU, the Mavericks lit the lamp to tie the game.
Kern found the puck behind the Husky net and made an amazing blind pass behind him to teammate Shane Joseph. Joseph received the puck all alone in front of Weasler and lifted the puck over him for his fourth goal of the year. The score got the crowd of 3,991 back into the game.
However, St. Cloud regained the momentum and the lead with 2:30 left in the period. Junior Joe Motzko found himself on a partial breakaway and came in on goal. He came to a sudden stop on the left side near the bottom of the face off circle and took a hard slap shot on goal. Volp appeared to make the save, but the puck trickled through the five-hole and over the goal line before the MSU goalie could reach back and grab the puck.
The Huskies weren’t done there, padding their lead with only 42 seconds left in the period on a strange goal. MSU’s Tim Jackman carried the puck into the offensive zone on a play that appeared to be offsides, but play continued and the Huskies took the puck down ice.
Junior Mark Hartigan carried the puck down the right side and stopped at the top of the right face-off circle. He made a soft pass over to DiCasmirro, who was racing toward the net. DiCasmirro tipped the puck under Volp first his first goal of the game.
“I thought Timmy carried it across the blue line and it should have been blown,” remarked MSU head coach Troy Jutting. “I think everybody on our whole team quit. But they shouldn’t. No matter what you don’t quit till you hear the final whistle.”
St. Cloud came out hard in the third and put the game away with a goal 28 seconds in. Hendricks got the puck at the right side of the MSU goal and pushed it across to a wide open DiCasmirro, who slid the puck into an empty left side of the net.
Doyle put the nail in the coffin at 1:51 of the final period. With a defenseman draped all over him, the freshman came in on Volp and back-handed the puck past the MSU goalie. Volp was replaced after that goal by sophomore Jason Jensen.
DiCasmirro and Doyle added power-play goals to make the final score 7-1.
Doyle, the leading rookie scorer in the WCHA with eight goals in five games, said that coach Dahl told his team to work harder in between the second and third.
“He definitely told us that we have to start picking it up, working hard, and pretty much moving our feet at all times,” commented Doyle. “You could tell we did with Nate’s first goal–a hard working goal.”
“Our main goal is always win, never lose the third period,” added DiCasmirro. “We kind of pride ourselves on that all year.”
Jutting gave praise to Weasler for SCSU’s victory.
“I thought we played pretty well for two periods and we end up down 3-1. I thought their goaltender played well. We had a lot of shots, and the kid gave up one goal. At the end of the second period, the shots are 25-15 in favor of us, and we’re down 3-1. I think a goaltender can keep a team in there, and I thought he did that early on for them.”
The two teams will finish the series Saturday night with game time set for 7:05 at the Midwest Wireless Civic Center.