Here's a few quick notes and thoughts from St. Cloud's romp over Notre Dame to advance to tomorrow's regional final.
-St. Cloud State looked fantastic in this game. They've got a lot of high-end skill players, and they all came to play today. It's a bit strange to not see the names LeBlanc or Dowd end up on the score sheet because both were fantastic all game, and created a lot of scoring chances.
-When the Huskies are playing well and really moving the puck, it's common to see a lot of the rebound tap-in goals that Ryan Lasch made a career of while at St. Cloud State. The Huskies had three of those today, including their first two goals of the game.
-It's tough to know what to make of Notre Dame's performance today. With the one-and-done format, it may be nothing more than just waking up on the wrong side of the bed. But this looked like the Notre Dame team that was brutal through much of January, rather than the team that dominated Michigan in the CCHA final. The Irish tried to sit back with a 1-1-3 forecheck meant to slow the Huskies down as they tried to gain the offensive zone, and it worked to an extent, but that passive style of play seemed to carry over into every other facet of their game. The Irish just looked dull and lifeless all game.
-The shot totals in this game really didn't reflect the way St. Cloud dominated this game. Shots were only 11-10 in favor of the Huskies after one period, but St. Cloud had a huge advantage in quality of scoring chances. The Huskies also only had seven shots in the second period, but scored on three of them, and really, only the second one could be classified as a soft goal.
-Neither Miami nor Minnesota State are particularly deep teams. The fact that St. Cloud basically put this game to bed in the second period, allowing them to roll all of their lines, could play a factor in tomorrow's championship game.
-St. Cloud State's power play was pretty strong as well. They didn't score on two attempts in the first period, but generated a couple quality chances, and it was only a matter of time before one found their way to the back of the net. Meanwhile, the Huskies only took one penalty to Notre Dame's six. It's tough to argue with the penalty disparity though with the way St. Cloud outskated Notre Dame.
-First it was Kenny Agostino having the big day for Yale yesterday, and today, it was Ben Hanowski having a big game for St. Cloud. Not sure if they'll ever admit, but the reaction to their trade to Calgary had to be a bit of a motivating factor. Also could just be that they're excellent players.