Scoring depth was a question mark on St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko’s mind at the beginning of the season; who would score for the Huskies when guys like Drew LeBlanc, Ben Hanowski and Nic Dowd were not?
The answer: freshmen such as Kalle Kossila, Johnny Brodzinski and David Morley.
Though SCSU’s three upperclassmen big guns haven’t been putting the puck in the net much lately, they’ve been feeding it to its rookies. The freshman class has scored 18 of SCSU’s last 21 goals in the past six games.
Morley has seven points (six goals), Brodzinski has six points (five goals) and Kossila has five points (four goals) over the last three weekends.
Meanwhile, Hanowski and Dowd are on four-game point streaks and LeBlanc has 10 assists in the last seven games.
Joey Benik, who was projected to play on the top line with Hanowski and LeBlanc before he broke his leg on the first day of practice, will give the Huskies even more offense from the frosh class when he makes his collegiate debut.
That depth will make the Huskies, who sit in first place going into the break, a dangerous team in the second half.
UMD sneaking back into the race
Unless you stayed up late Saturday to see the final score from Anchorage, you woke up and saw Minnesota-Duluth completed a sweep of the Seawolves.
The Bulldogs – 4-1-1 since Nov. 30 – are knocking on the door to get into the upper half of the standings and jockey for home ice. Only two points separate seventh-place UMD and Minnesota and Nebraska-Omaha, tied for fifth, although both those teams have two games in hand.
UMD got its scoring going thanks to a pair of freshmen – Tony Cameranesi (8-11—19) and Austin Farley (7-9—16). Cameranesi has seven points in six games and Farley has six in that stretch.
UND is the best team in the league right now
The offense is clicking, the defense is ratcheting down on opponents and goaltender Clarke Saunders rebounded against Michigan Tech after a rocky last month.
SCSU has won three straight and seems to have found some consistency to build on, but North Dakota looks like a team that would rather skip Christmas break and continue to knock down everything in its path.
With two games in hand and the fact that UND makes an annual second-half surge, it’s the team to beat in the WCHA.
By many accounts, Michigan Tech caught some bad breaks this weekend and it did put up some high shot totals this weekend, something teams haven’t been able to do against UND since early November.
UND has outshot opponents by 12.6 shots per game going back to a Nov. 30 loss at Colorado College and even though Michigan Tech tightened up the shots-on-goal total differential, Saunders and the UND offense made the difference.