ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The weekend battle of the Huskies concluded with St. Cloud State completing a series sweep over Michigan Tech, 4-2, on Saturday night.
St. Cloud used three power-play goals, two coming with a 5-on-3 advantage, to leapfrog Minnesota-Duluth in the standings and keep on pace to have home-ice advantage for the WCHA playoffs.
St. Cloud jumped on top midway through the first with a power-play goal when Nicholas Rioux scored on a shot from the point that fluttered past MTU goalie Josh Robinson.
Garrett Roe, St. Clouds team leader in points with 41 heading into Saturday nights game, capitalized on a 5-on-3 power-play minutes after Riouxs goal to give St. Cloud an early 2-0 cushion.
Constant pressure in their own zone kept Michigan Tech on their heels for much of the first period. However, St. Cloud missed some opportunities and the chances MTU accumulated allotted them a break.
Using a power play of their own, Michigan Techs Jordan Baker scored on a rebound of a point shot that first found post, then net when Baker found a wide-open right side of the net to narrow St. Clouds lead, 2-1.
They hung around because we couldnt get the next goal, St. Cloud head coach Bob Motzko said. We had a two-goal lead, the deadliest lead in hockey, and we made a mistake.
MTU, the nations worst offensive team, suffered through an anemic second period where they were outshot 14-1 and struggled to get the puck out of their own zone.
St. Cloud capitalized on two Michigan Tech penalties with their second 5-on-3 power play goal. Garrett Raboin fired a one-timer from between the circles to give SCSU a 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
The second period has been good to us both nights this weekend, said St. Cloud forward Garrett Raboin.
Able to create sustained pressure in St. Clouds zone after the second intermission, Jordan Baker beat St. Cloud goalie Jase Weslosky for the second time to cut St. Clouds lead to 3-2.
Geoff Kinrade, who assisted in both Michigan Tech goals in the game, has nine points in his last 10 games.
After battling away a Michigan Tech rush late in the game, SCSU forward Aaron Marvin broke out across center ice on a breakaway and beat MTUs Johnson on a toe-drag to a backhand shot that left Johnson sprawled out on the ice.
It [the goal] felt great, Marvin said. Im taking everything one game at a time and its always nice to be able to contribute to the team.
Aaron Marvin was great, Motzko said. He needed to bounce back and he was one of our best players tonight, scoring that big goal.
With a 4-2 lead, St. Cloud negated any chances MTU had to make a desperation comeback.
Roes goal and assist increased his point total to 43 on the season, and put him behind Ryan Lasch for second on the team in goals. His teammates feel consideration for a Hobey Baker Award finalist may be deserved.
Its all out of my hands but hes a heck of a player, Raboin said. Im glad hes on my team; Im glad Im only playing them Monday through Thursday and not on the weekend.
We came out to play tonight. We hit a couple walls but I like what we did from start to finish, Motzko said. We needed to score 5-on-5 and it didnt come until the end, but thats when we needed it the most.
The win puts St. Cloud in better position to garner home-ice advantage for the WCHA playoffs. SCSU will be on a bye next weekend before travel to Denver the last weekend of February and closeout the regular season with a home-and-home series with Minnesota State.
Were going to have to go hard and keep playing, Raboin said. Weve been playing well in the second half, but were going to have to keep going to work every day.
We just need to keep playing well and take this one week at a time and see what happens, Marvin said.