ST. CLOUD, Minn. — In danger of falling to Alaska-Anchorage (3-2-3, 0-2-2 WCHA) at the National Hockey Center for the first time in 30 chances, No. 19 St. Cloud State (4-2-2, 1-2-1 WCHA) rallied with a strong third period to gain a point with a 4-4 tie.
“We battled, we had every single guy on the bus tonight chugging away,” Huskies’ coach Bob Motzko said.
The Huskies relied upon their sophomore superstar Andreas Nodl, who muscled his way through traffic and backhanded a five-hole goal 9:54 of the third period to tie things up.
“He was great coming up the rink, he had a little speed, turns their “D” and makes a play,” Motzko said.
In the overtime, each team had good chances, but were unable to break through.
“We want four out of four points, so it is frustrating, but I guess we will take it for now,” Huskies’ freshman forward Garrett Roe said.
The Seawolves showed that they are team that can make an impact in the WCHA and that they are close to leaving the cellar.
“We are looking to make goals and take baby steps every weekend,” Seawolves’ coach Dave Shyiak said. “A win would have been nice and I definitely think we played well enough to get a win but last year or the year before we for sure would have found a way to lose it.”
“They are improving every year,” junior defenseman John Swanson said. “They are always a tough team to play; they are a hard-hitting team. You know it is going to be a hard-hitting physical game every night.”
The Seawolves went with sophomore Jon Olthius in goal and came out with mixed results, as he made 28 total saves but allowed two Alaska-Anchorage leads to dwindle.
Huskies’ freshmen goaltender Dan Dunn had a rough introduction to the WCHA, as the Seawolves took advantage of his inexperience.
“We let in a few soft ones,” Motzko said. “He’s got to stand tall; he kept dropping down on all the goals. He has to just make himself big in there and find the puck and let it hit him.”
Dunn, making his second collegiate start, ended the night with 18 saves in 22 opportunities.
The Huskies grabbed the first lead 6:17 into the game as Swanson took a slapshot from the right side of the blue line and junior forward Brent Borgen knocked the uncleared rebound in.
The goal from Borgen, a transfer student from Minnesota, marked his first Huskies’ goal after sitting last season out due to NCAA transfer stipulations.
Alaska-Anchorage then took control of the puck and the game, as SCSU seemed to have problems dealing with the size and physical play from Alaska-Anchorage.
Senior forward Blair Tassone tied the game when he came from behind the net and tried to fling in a wraparound, but Dunn made the save only to have Tassone flip in the rebound through the five-hole.
At 16:29 in the first, after killing a hooking penalty, the Seawolves gained the lead as Dunn botched catching a Kevin Clark wrist shot and it carried over his glove into the right post.
The Huskies just missed a chance to tie the game when they had a crowd of players around the crease with the puck, but time expired when the puck went in, ending the period with Alaska-Anchorage up 2-1.
The Seawolves added to their lead 6:45 into the second period when Merit Waldrop fired a shot over a screened Dunn.
Shortly thereafter, the Huskies’ began their comeback charge.
Sophomore forward Ryan Lasch cut the Seawolves lead to 3-2 at 13:56 into the second when he took the puck off a faceoff, maneuvered it past a defender and flicked it past goalie Jon Olthius.
The Huskies tied it on a power play when Garrett Roe fired a shot that skid past a cornered Olthius.
“At first I read the play and (the defenseman) kept backing up and by the way he was blocking I saw that he was going to screen the goalie,” Roe said. “The puck actually went through the defenseman’s legs.”
The joy though was short-lived, as the Seawolves regained the lead on a power play when freshman Winston DayChief fired a rising shot that hit off Dunn’s shoulder and flew in.
“(DayChief) does have power play type skills and he has good hands and he knows what to do with the puck,” Shyiak said.
Dunn was quickly bailed out by Nodl who lived up to his reputation as a great skater and puck handler and scored the goal that sent it into overtime.
In overtime, the Seawolves put up four overtime shots while the Huskies managed one, but the Huskies did have a chance in the final seconds with a faceoff in the left circle.
“We had it set up perfectly,” Roe said. “You try it but I guess it doesn’t work sometimes.”
The Huskies will leave Minnesota for the first time this season next weekend with a series in Houghton, Mich. against Michigan Tech, while the Seawolves stay in the state for a series with Minnesota.