ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Some players have the ability to be in the right place at the right time.
For sophomore Ryan Lasch, it seems to happen a lot.
The WCHA scoring champion registered his 49th and 50th point of the season, including the game winner in overtime, to see the St. Cloud State Huskies beat the Wisconsin Badgers 4-3 in front of 4,207 at the National Hockey Center.
“(Huskies’ defenseman Garrett) Raboin skated to the blue line and I was calling for it the whole way,” Lasch said. “He made a good play getting it to me and I drove to the net and it happened to be right there.”
Raboin fired the puck low, but pushed the rebound back to Lasch who buried the puck at the 3:57 mark in overtime.
“We knew they were going to come out hard,” Lasch said about the Badgers. “We didn’t play our best hockey.”
Shane Connelly let in two goals on seven shots in the first period. He watched the rest of the game on the bench, as freshman Scott Gudmandson finished out the game in his first playoff appearance.
“He played pretty well,” Badgers’ coach Mike Eaves said of Gudmandson. “The third goal went off our guy and the winning goal was a rebound that he tried to push away but he didn’t push far enough.”
Eaves said Connelly was pulled because of a leg injury. Gudmandson finished the game with 12 saves.
The Badgers controlled the play all game, and fired 49 total shots on goal.
“I thought we played well enough to win,” Eaves said. “We did everything we had to do. We played exactly the way we needed to all game.”
“They were physical, they won every battle and every faceoff for pretty much the entire game,” Huskies’ coach Bob Motzko said.
St. Cloud State goaltender Jase Weslosky stood tall, turning away 46 shots, including four and a breakaway by Matthew Ford in the extra frame.
“Nothing I can say will take away the sting that is in that room right now,” Eaves said. “Things just went (the Huskies) way tonight.”
The Huskies got on the board early when Huskies’ defensemen Aaron Brocklehurst fired a soft wrist shot just 26 seconds in that managed to squirm through Connelly.
Blake Geoffrion one-timed a pass from Kyle Turris on top of the left face-off circle to beat a sliding Weslosky to tie the game at one.
Defenseman Matt Stephenson put the Huskies up 2-1 on a power play, firing a low wrist shot from the point.
A change in goal for Wisconsin seemed to have sparked the Badgers in the start of the second period when Davis Drewiske knotted the game at two when he skated into the zone and fired a wrist shot that fooled Weslosky on the short side.
The Badgers soon took a lead at the six-minute mark of the second period when Weslosky made the original save on Aaron Bendickson’s shot, but the rebound flew up and hit Stephenson and bounced into the net.
“I was backing up, so it didn’t go in and ended up going off my ear,” Stephenson said.
The Huskies tied the game at three on a power play when Garrett Roe fed Andreas Nodl down low, who fired the puck to John Swanson camping in front of Gudmandson. Swanson’s shot banked off Ryan McDonagh and into the net to force overtime.
“Our big players made big plays,” Motzko said. “That was the only reason we won. That is what got us the win. Otherwise, we didn’t deserve it.:
The Huskies await their opponent in the WCHA Final Five in the Xcel Energy Center. The Badgers have to wait until the NCAA announces the tournament field a week from Sunday. If Wisconsin manages to hang on to a tournament bid, the Badgers would be placed in the Midwest Regional at the Kohl Center.