ST. PAUL, Minn. — Saturday’s game between St. Cloud State and Minnesota State was truly a tale of two halves.
The Huskies defeated the Mavericks 6-4 in the North Star College Cup’s third-place game at the Xcel Energy Center.
“It was not a pretty game by any stretch of the imagination,” St. Cloud coach Bob Motzko said.
Throughout the game’s first 30 minutes, the Mavericks were disciplined and held a 2-1 lead. In the second half of the second period, the wheels fell off. St. Cloud scored four goals in the second and held a 5-2 lead going into the third, despite being outshot 22-17.
The Huskies posted three power-play goals and had two goals reviewed and upheld. Minnesota State went 1-for-3 with the extra man and had one goal reviewed and denied.
“We got some things going tonight on our power play,” Motzko said, adding that their power play had been feast of famine since Christmas, either scoring multiple goals or getting shutout.
Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings focused less on the goals that were reviewed and more on the way his team’s defense and penalty kill was in the game.
Bryce Gervais gave the Mavericks a 2-1 lead at the two-minute mark of the second, but that lead would only last about seven minutes.
Cory Thorson, Nic Dowd, Johnny Brodzinski and David Morley scored the next four goals for SCSU.
“That kind of sums up how our guys had a business approach during the game,” Motzko said. “When we got going, our top players and leading scorers found ways to make plays.”
MSU starting goaltender Stephon Williams was pulled after giving up five goals on 15 shots in 36 minutes of work. He was replaced by Cole Huggins, who gave up one goal and had nine saves.
Jean Paul LaFontaine got the Mavericks on the board first on a two-on-one opportunity when he slid the puck past Ryan Faragher when he left the post in anticipation of the pass. LaFontaine said after the game that he tried to get the pass off, but fanned on it.
Brodzinski tied things up for St. Cloud after Teddy Blueger turned the puck over in the Mavericks’ zone, which created an odd-man rush for the Huskies. Brodzinski buried a back pass from Ryan Papa.
Brodzinski had three goals this weekend.
“It’s just getting pucks to the net,” he said. “If you get pucks to the net, some of them are going to go in.”
Johnny McInnis cut St. Cloud’s lead to two early in the third period, but Kalle Kossila responded with another power-play goal minutes later.
“I’m happy with how our team played,” Motzko said. “We came out a better team than we were going in.”
LaFontaine scored his second of the game with about 10 minutes remaining in the game and the Mavericks had their chances in the third, but a comeback wasn’t in the cards.