MINNEAPOLIS — Coming into Fridays game, St. Cloud State had struggled to score goals. The Huskies managed only tallied nine times in four games while allowing 14 goals to their opponents.
“We hadn’t been scoring many goals,” remarked Bob Motzko. “Guys need to get that first goal to feel good about their season and march on.”
It all came together for the Huskies in a 5-2 victory at Mariucci Arena.
Meanwhile, Minnesota continued its recent early struggles falling behind 3-0 for the third straight game.
“We have to find a way to have a better start,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. “Thats the big thing. You just can’t dig the holes we are digging.”
Senior forward Garrett Roe led the way for the Huskies, tallying three points (a goal and two assists), including a momentum-changing short-handed goal at 12:49 of the second period.
Roe skated into the zone against two defensemen and used the Gophers players as a screen, firing a low shot from 60 feet out that beat Alex Kangas five hole.
“We knew Garrett Roe would be coming though eventually,” said Motzko.
Nick Dowd scored 44 seconds later, chasing Kangas from the net after allowing five goals on 23 shots.
Mike Lee played well for the Huskies, allowing just two goals on 42 shots.
“That’s the kind of goaltending you need in this league,” said Motzko.
It did not take long for the Huskies to score when Brian Volpei tallied at 2:21 of the first. Garrett Roe set up the play keeping the puck in the zone along the left blue line. Roe sent the puck towards the net. It pinballed through traffic and landed in front of Volpei on the weak side. Brian buried the puck into the wide-open net.
Jared Festler made it 2-0 at 11:58 on a power-play goal. The Huskies were controlling the puck on the man advantage, generating lots of space and scoring chances. Drew LeBlanc and Tony Mosey rotated the puck down low for Festler on the weak side for the shot into the open net.
Minnesota seemed to gather some composure after the second Huskies goal, outshooting St. Cloud 7-2 over a five minute stretch. But the continued inability to clear pucks in front of their own net cost Minnesota.
Roe’s second assist came on the Huskies’ third goal of the game. Roe set up the play on a one-time shot from 40 feet out that banked off the crossbar to a wide open Tony Mosey for the tap in from 15 feet.
The Gophers did manage to win the third period 2-0. Mike Hoeffel scored on a 3-on-1 rush midway through the third. The other Gophers goal came with 30 seconds left by Taylor Mattson.
The win was the Huskies’ first in the WCHA. This series is the only regular season meetings for the instate rivals. They face off again Sunday at 2 p.m. at Mariucci Arena.