ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The last time St. Cloud and the No. 12 ranked University of North Dakota met, nothing seemed to go right for the Huskies. However, in front of a sellout crowd of 6,108 Friday night in St. Cloud, it was a completely different story.
SCSU used a well balanced recipe of supreme goaltending, early scoring and superb blocking by defenders in an upset win over the Fighting Sioux, 3-0.
“We got in penalty trouble, but our penalty kill answered the bell tonight,” Husky head coach Bob Motzko said after Friday’s win. “One reason was (Jase Weslosky) was really good. Two, we blocked a lot of shots and that was one thing we had to address and was one of the things that’s hurt us this year. . . I think tonight we did a really good job on that end.”
Junior netminder Jase Weslosky proved perfect on the evening, while the Huskies blocked 26 shots defensively.
“We’ve been pretty successful at home so far, and that really gives sort of a comfort zone,” Weslosky said with a smile after the win. “It’s those kinds of things that we need to be able to bring on to the road with us. Tonight we saw that everyone on our team was working the system and doing what they needed to do while being where they needed to be.”
St. Cloud’s first tally on the scoreboard came just over 15 minutes into the first period. After UND and SCSU exchanged penalties over the first three quarters of the first, all three of the Huskies’ alternate captain charted points on junior Ryan Lasch’s 12th goal of the year.
Senior Michael Olson worked the puck back to the right point to senior defenseman David Carlisle, who took the puck around the back of the net, feeding Lasch for a goal on a bouncing puck.
“I was working my off side at the point and I like to come down,” Carlisle said. “When I was going around the net, (Lasch) was yelling the whole way like always, you can hear him over everybody and he was just following me and I knew that’s where he scores all his goalsI just knew he was going to be there . . . great play by (Lasch).”
During the second period, the two teams once again exchanged penalties for the first fifteen minutes, before SCSU was able to find their way to the scoreboard yet again.
This time, St. Clouds’ other big playmaker, sophomore Garrett Roe was able to bury a wraparound five-hole on UND keeper freshman Brad Eidsness.
Freshmen Nicholas Rioux and Travis Novak connected before Novak and Roe began a game of pitch and catch. Roe then took the puck around the backside of the net, forcing Eidsness out of position, pushing the lead to two goals.
The Huskies would extend their lead to three just two and a half minutes before the end of the second, when Rioux fired a shot from the left point, once again beating Eidsness five-hole. Assists on the play were credited to Carlisle and sophomore winger Aaron Marvin.
Scoring went by the wayside in the third, as Weslosky was put to the test stopping 14 UND shots in the period. The Sioux out shot SCSU 14-6 in the third but once again, superior netminding, combined with a collection of blocked shots by the defensive core helped lock up two conference points for St. Cloud State.
“A night like this when my team is blocking as many shots as I have to make saves, it’s obviously a good thing, guys are in the room right now with ice bags just because they were taking (shots) everywhere,” Weslosky remarked after the shutout. “It’s not a one man game obviously and when everybody is working together and doing the exact same things, you go out onto the ice and something special is put together.”
Weslosky’s shutout is the first for SCSU over UND since February 3, 2000. Weslosky stopped all 34 shots faced for the win, while North Dakota’s Eidsness stopped 15 of 18 shots in the loss.
The Huskies (14-11-2, 9-9-1 WCHA) and the Fighting Sioux (15-11-3, 10-6-3 WCHA) lock horns again tomorrow night for the conclusion of the two game set. Face-off is set for 7:07 CT from the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.