St. Cloud State comes into St. Paul having won the school's first ever WCHA title, and sits as the top seed in the tournament bracket. The Huskies have one Broadmoor Trophy in their trophy case, winning the WCHA tournament way back in 2001, but would love to add another piece of hardware to what has already been a pretty special season.
Projected Line Chart
Kalle Kossila - Drew Leblanc - Jonny Brodzinski
Ben Hanowski - Nic Dowd - Jimmy Murray
Nick Oliver - Cory Thorson - Joe Rehkamp/Brooks Bertsch
Joey Benik - David Morley - Garrett Milan
Andrew Prochno - Nick Jensen
Kevin Gravel - Tim Daly
Taylor Johnson/Ethan Prow - Jarrod Rabey
Ryan Faragher - Rasmus Reijola - Joe Phillippi
The Huskies come into the weekend looking pretty healthy and with a lot of options for their lineup. The top two lines are pretty well set, and have produced well for the Huskies this year. The Huskies also seem to have found some chemistry recently in their diminutive fourth line of Benik-Morley-Milan, which was electric last weekend against Alaska-Anchorage. That just leaves a spot on the wing on their third/checking line up for grabs, where a decision will have to be made between Rehkamp and Bertsch.
On defense, the top four are pretty well set, while Johnson, Prow and Rabey all rotate through for those final two spots.
The Huskies' offense is a bit of an enigma in that they score a lot(130 goals, 2nd best offense in the WCHA), but really aren't that great on the power play(17.5%, 9th in the WCHA). Just one out of every five goals St. Cloud scores comes via the man advantage, which may be a plus for the Huskies when it comes to playoff hockey and penalty calls become more scarce. The Huskies completely changed their power play strategy heading into last weekend's playoff series against Alaska-Anchorage due to their struggles.
Defensively, the Huskies were about average in the WCHA. They boast the league's best defenseman in junior Nick Jensen, but outside of Kevin Gravel, there's not a lot of size on the Husky blue line. Instead, the Huskies rely on quick, reliable puck movers like Jensen and Andrew Prochno. It's effective, but they can run into trouble when they get pinned in their own zone, and are sometimes out-muscled in front of the net.
Goalie Ryan Faragher is reliable in net. He didn't win any league awards, though very easily could have. He doesn't necessarily steal games for the Huskies, but makes a lot of timely saves, and gives his team a good chance to win every night.
St. Cloud will await the winner of Thursday's quarterfinal between Minnesota State and Wisconsin. The Huskies played Minnesota State on the very first weekend of the regular season, at home, and swept the Mavericks with two pretty convincing victories. They played Wisconsin on the last weekend of the regular season, and split with the Badgers in Madison.