ST. CLOUD, Minn. — After a 7-2 win Friday night over the Mercyhurst Lakers, St. Cloud State Coach Bob Motzko hoped his team would take steps in finding their identity in their second game of the season.
In a repeat of their performance on Friday on one side of the puck, SCSU may have found that identity as a high-powered offense. For the second night in a row at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, the Huskies notched seven goals, securing a 7-3 win over the Lakers.
Senior John Swanson lit the lamp for his second time in the game just 13 seconds into the second period. Swanson’s second goal, which proved to be the game winner for St. Cloud, wasn’t his biggest of the contest. That was Swanson’s third goal, giving him the hat trick and helping the Huskies start Saturday four-for-four on the power play.
“I thought when I got my second, there’s a lot of time left, there’s still two thirds of the game,” Swanson noted. “I said, if I get the chance I got to shoot it.”
Once again, Swanson and his linemates Garrett Roe and Jarred Festler, played strong, combining for seven points a night after scoring 10 points.
“We were really going for the first 13 minutes of the first period and then we absolutely went one-on-one,” Motzko said. “We started a one-man show and over-handled the puck and kind of lost our focus, but truth be known, I thought the hockey was a lot closer than the score (this weekend) outside a couple of our very talented players and our special teams.”
The Huskies wasted no time scoring. Freshman Travis Novak fed Ryan Lasch, who found Aaron Marvin, who scored just 46 seconds into the game.
St. Cloud scored again just over five minutes later when Swanson got his first on a setup by Roe and Lasch.
“It was very funny because I thought early on Friday night we really struggled, and couldn’t click,” Swanson said. “It wasn’t that (Andreas) Nodl was gone; we just hadn’t practiced. We had a couple (power-play goals) later on in the Friday game but Roe and Lasch were making unbelievable plays and we were lucky to get a couple on the net tonight.”
The Huskies scored their third and final goal of the period when Drew LeBlanc and Brett Barta found sophomore Tony Mosey for another power-play goal.
After taking a 4-0 lead on Swanson’s second goal of the night, Mercyhurst tallied their first when Steve Cameron’s one-timer beat SCSU goaltender Dan Dunn glove side, cutting the St. Cloud lead to three.
St. Cloud struck back when Roe and Marvin found Captain Garrett Raboin for the first of the final two Huskies’ power-play goals. Swanson secured his first hat trick since high school late in the period.
Mercyhurst replaced netminder Matt Lundin with Ryan Zapolski at the start of the third, but just 2:17 into the third it was more of the same from SCSU.
First year defender Chris Hepp notched his collegiate goal on an assist from Michael Olsen.
Mercyhurst battled back for two third period goals from Jeff Terminesi and Brett Robinson, but it wasn’t enough.
The Huskies host the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Friday during Homecoming Week. The last time the two faced off, the Gophers used a late third period goal to beat the Huskies in the play-in game of the WCHA Frozen Five at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
“I really haven’t thought about that until just now,” Olsen said after being faced with the reminder of last year. “Our mindset is week-by-week, but it just happens that Minnesota is next week. It’s always fun because they’re known as the team of the state, and you’re the underdog.”