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Season Preview: St. Cloud State

My pick for 5th place is St. Cloud State.

LW Andreas Nodl C Nate Raduns RW Andrew Gordon

LW Ryan Lasch C Matt Hartman RW Michael Olson
LW John Swanson C Marty Mjelleli RW Nate Dey
LW Dan Kronick C Aaron Brocklehurst RW A.J. Gale
LD Justin Fletcher RD Matt Stephenson
LD Casey Borer RD Grant Clafton G Jase Weslosky
LD Craig Gaudet RD David Carlisle G Bobby Goepfert

Strengths:

Goalie Bobby Goepfert surprisingly decided to come back for his senior season, giving the Huskies a goalie that can win games for them. They should also be very good on defense with seniors Casey Borer, Justin Fletcher, and Grant Clafton.

Weaknesses:

Coach Bob Motzko is starting to turn things around at St. Cloud, but for the most part, it’s still Craig Dahl’s team. Motzko added speedy forwards Andreas Nodl and Ryan Lasch, but there’s still a lot of big, slow forwards on the roster. I think the Huskies will still lack the speed and scoring they need to consistently be one of the best teams in the league.

Question Marks
How good is Ryan Lasch? Lasch scored a lot of points in a weak league last year, and it's unclear how that will translate to the WCHA. Lasch could be one of the best freshmen in the WCHA or he could be totally ineffective. How much experience will Jase Weslosky get? St. Cloud decided to bring him this year instead of letting him be a starting goalie in the AJHL. It will be interesting to see how much playing time he gets.

Overall:

It’s unfortunate timing for the Huskies. If they could combine the offense they will have in two or three years with the defense they have right now, they’d be one of the best in the country. Bobby Goepfert will give them a chance to win every game, but they won’t be able to score consistently enough to keep pace with the WCHA leaders.

Key Player: Andreas Nodl. It may seem like a lot of pressure to put on a freshmen, but the Huskies are desperate for speed and scoring ability, which Nodl has. If he can step in right away and score 20-25 goals, the Huskies could be contenders for a high seed in the WCHA playoffs.

Breakout Player: Matt Hartman. Hartman scored just 14 points in each of his first two seasons, but as coach Bob Motzko brings in more of his own players, the Huskies will open things up a little more offensively. I think Hartman will get paired with an exciting freshmen like Andreas Nodl or Ryan Lasch and see his number increase quite a bit this season.

Bellwether:
Just like last season, the 3 goal mark will be the threshold for the Huskies. If they can score three goals in a game, they’ve got a good chance at winning. They only had two losses last season where they scored 3 goals, and didn’t lose a game where they scored 4 or more.

Did You Know:


St. Cloud is home to the world’s largest granite wall

Only 5 players on St. Cloud’s team(all freshmen), were born after January 1, 1986. For comparison, rival Minnesota will have 15 players born after that date.

The boards at the National Hockey Center feature an advertisement for a place called PleasureLand. Sadly, PleasureLand only sells RVs instead of something more exciting.

If You Go There


You Have to Eat At: Val’s. They serve great burgers and fries. If you’re into something a little classier, Granite City Food and Brewery has excellent food and some specialty beers. I’ve seen coaches eating there when they visit St. Cloud.

You Have to Stop At: Munsinger Park, which is located along the banks of the Mississippi River is one of the most scenic spots in St. Cloud.