COLUMBUS, Ohio — With sophomore Ryan Lasch’s first career hat trick and Dan Dunn’s second career victory, the No. 16 St. Cloud State Huskies defeated the No. 15 Harvard Crimson, 4-1, to capture third place in the fourth annual Ohio Hockey Classic in Value City Arena.
Lasch netted a pair of nearly identical power-play goals, assisted by Andreas Nodl and Garrett Roe each time, and an empty-net marker for his first three-goal game.
“The thing we said was that we played good this weekend,” said St. Cloud coach Bob Motzko. “With six minutes to go last night, playing Miami with a 1-0 lead, and tonight we played well again. We held them to 16 shots last night through the guts of the game.
“We played good hockey this weekend; we just didn’t like the outcome yesterday. We needed to score one more goal and tonight we did.”
John Swanson had the other SCSU goal, his second of the season and his second point of the weekend. In his second win, Dunn stopped 28 of 29 Harvard shots on net.
“First off, I give a lot of credit to St. Cloud,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “Very good team, very well-coached team.
“I thought we took far too many penalties against a team of that level of skill. Keep putting that power play on the ice, sooner or later they’re going to hurt you.”
After a scoreless first period, Lasch’s first power-play goal gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead at 18:26 of the second. Roe faked a shot from the right circle and passed down low to Nodl right of the net. With Richter drawn right to defend, Nodl fired across the crease to Lasch low near the goal line; Lasch’s shot went in short-side behind Richter for his 13th of the season.
Harvard responded with Jon Pelle’s maker at 1:01 in the third, a one-timer that hit the opposite side of the net from the bottom of the left circle, but Lasch broke the tie at 9:48 in much the same fashion as he scored earlier. Roe faked, Nodl passed from low right, and this time Lasch scored from nearly directly in front of the net to make it 2-1.
Roe said that the fake-or-shoot move is “something we practice pretty often. They were giving it to me, so I had to take it.”
“He’s actually scored a few goals this year from that same spot on the power play,” said Motzko of Roe. “If that defenseman bites he sends it down, otherwise he lets it go.
Swanson’s goal came just 21 seconds later, when he took a pass from Nodl and lifted the puck up and over Richter from low in the slot to make it 3-1.
Lasch added the hat-trick empty-netter at 19:33 after receiving the puck from Swanson in the Harvard zone.
“He wanted the puck when the goalie was out,” said Motzko. “You could all tell. We heard him yelling.”
Lasch said that even though the Huskies felt they played well in the loss to Miami, SCSU had a game plan going into this contest. “We needed our ‘D’ to score and they scored, we needed an extra goal [and] we got that, and we called out our power play, too, late in the game and we responded with that too.”
“We were much more crisp,” said Motzko. “Our transition game, we had the puck a lot early in the game. Our guys got into the flow and we used all four lines. This guy [Lasch] had a tremendous night, coming up with three goals for us, and that’s what he does.
“The key, we give up a goal on the penalty kill right there to start of the third, and there was no letdown on our bench, because that’s what we’ve been going through, and our power play answers back with a big goal, and that’s what you have to have. Certain times of the year, your big players and your special teams have to answer. Ryan and our power play did that. We talked about [how] we needed a goal from our defense and we got that from Swanson, and it’s been a while.”
Next up for St. Cloud State (9-9-2, 4-7-1 WCHA) is a two-game home set against North Dakota Jan. 4-5, while Harvard (6-6-2, 5-3-1 ECAC) travels to Quinnipiac Jan. 4 and Princeton Jan. 5.