PROVIDENCE, R.I. — After dropping a tough game to Brown Friday night, St. Cloud wanted to make sure that it took care of things against Providence. Saturday night proved to be a return to business as usual for the Huskies, who beat the Friars 5-2.
“Last night we weren’t into the game physically,” said St. Cloud coach Craig Dahl. “As a coach there’s only so much you can do. The boys had a good meeting last night and really put things together.
“I think we were really disappointed after the loss and we needed to get back to the simple things, the things we do well.”
St. Cloud broke a tight game wide open in the second period to the tune of three goals, two of them coming on rebounds.
“We’ve done well with throwing the puck on net and crashing down,” said Dahl. “Obviously we’ve got some great players up front, but we needed to get back to the simple things instead of everyone worrying about scoring goals.”
“They’ve got some good speed and they move the puck very well out wide,” said Providence coach Paul Pooley. “They are such a good transition hockey team. We’re in the offensive zone and before you know it they’re back the other way for a goal.”
Mark Hartigan got back to basics, taking advantage of Providence turnovers to notch two scores. The modest Hobey Baker candidate gave all the credit to his linemates.
“I play on a great line. [Nate] DiCasmirro is a great player and Doug Meyer works so hard to win pucks for us. You can’t key on any one player and that makes a big difference.”
Although St. Cloud rebounded in the win-loss column, Dahl still sees room for improvement.
“One of the things I was really disappointed about was giving up those power-play goals,” said Dahl. “That makes six power-play goals allowed in our last four games and we’ve certainly got some work to do.”
The power play was one of the few positives for Providence. Until recently, the man-advantage had been less than stellar for the Friars. They came into the weekend at a shade under 12 percent, but Providence was able to manage a 2-for-5 line against St. Cloud, one of the nation’s better penalty kill units.
“Well, we’ve switched to an umbrella with four forwards,” said Friar captain Devin Rask. “We’ve got heady guys out there that are creative with the puck and most of the time I’m lucky enough to get an empty net from their play.”
Despite giving up two power-play goals, Dean Weasler was sharp in net for St. Cloud. The senior netminder stopped 23 of 25 for the win.
“We got good goaltending; Dean made the saves when he had to. Timely goaltending is certainly important to winning hockey,” said Dahl.
Nolan Schaefer made 27 saves in the loss for the Friars.
Providence will hope to continue the strong special-teams play as it hosts crosstown rival Brown in the annual Mayor’s Cup on Tuesday. St. Cloud will return to WCHA play next weekend for a series with Wisconsin.