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North Star College Cup Consolation: St. Cloud 6 Minnesota State 4: Final Scoring and Notes

A big second period led St. Cloud to a third place finish at the North Star College Cup

Matt Christians

One night after St. Cloud head coach Bob Motzko said he thought his team played really well, but lost due to some shaky goal tending and special teams play, it was a complete reversal of fortunes for the Huskies in a 6-4 win over Minnesota State in the consolation game of the North Star College Cup. Minnesota State had the better of the play at 5-on-5 most of the evening, especially early but St. Cloud scored six times on their first 20 shots on goal, including three power play goals, and a goal scored seconds after another power play had expired to defeat the Mavericks.

The key play of the game came in the second period with the score tied at two apiece. Nic Dowd scored a goal while St. Cloud's Jimmy Murray obstructed Minnesota State goalie Stephon Williams in the crease, but after review, officials determined that Murray was unable to leave the crease because an MSU player impeded him. The goal stood and shortly afterwards, Minnesota State took two penalties back-to-back and St. Cloud scored twice on the power play to take a commanding 5-2 lead into the third period. Minnesota State would threaten twice by bringing the game to within two goals, but could get no closer.

The win moves St. Cloud to 13-5-4 on the season, and ends a four-game winless skid for the Huskies. Minnesota State drops to 14-12-0 on the season.

First Period

9:39 Jean-Paul LaFontaine from Bryce Gervais 1-0 Minnesota State

LaFontaine brought the puck down the right side on a 2-on-1. He faked to his backhand and tried to slide the puck across to Teddy Blueger. LaFontaine whiffed on the pass, but the puck managed to slide past Faragher as he got caught leaning towards Blueger.

16:08 Jonny Brodzinski from Ryan Papa 1-1 tie

Papa picked up a turnover at the SCSU blueline for a semi-breakaway. Rather than forcing a shot attempt, he spun back and found Jonny Brodzinski in the slot, who fired a one-time blast past Williams.

Second Period

2:11 Bryce Gervais from Sean Flanagan and Teddy Blueger 2-1 Minnesota State

Flanagan took a shot from the point that Faragher tried to glove, but couldn't control. Gervais picked up the rebound in traffic and scored.

8:49 Cory Thorson from Kevin Gravel and Nic Dowd 2-2 tie

As a St. Cloud power play was expiring, Kevin Gravel took a shot from the left point. Thorson was positioned in front of the net, and tipped the knee-high shot down and past Williams.

11:11 Nic Dowd from David Morley and Ethan Prow 3-2 St. Cloud

With Jimmy Murray standing in the crease and screening the goaltender, Nic Dowd circled out from behind the net and fired a shot past Williams for the goal.

15:01 Jonny Brodzinski from Nic Dowd and Andrew Prochno (power play) 4-2 St. Cloud

With a two-man advantage, Brodzinski wound up from the point and his shot beat traffic and went past Williams for the goal.

15:54 David Morley from Andrew Prochno and Kevin Gravel (power play)

Prochno fed the puck across the top of the circles to Morley, who put a high wrist shot over the shoulder of

With the man-advantage

Third Period

5:37 Johnny McInnis from Jean-Paul LaFontaine and Matt Leitner (power play) 5-3 St. Cloud

McInnis took a feed from LaFontaine behind the St. Cloud defense. He deked to his backhand and beat Faragher to the far side.

7:54 Kalle Kossila from Jonny Brodzinski and Ethan Prow (power play) 6-3 St. Cloud

Prow took a shot from the point that was blocked, Brodzinski had the puck knocked off his stick in the slot, and it wound up on the stick of Kossila, who one-timed a backhand past Cole Huggins for the goal.

9:07 Jean-Paul LaFontaine from Sean Flanagan 6-4 St. Cloud

Faragher stopped a low shot from the right half-boards, but the rebound kicked out to a wide open LaFontaine who put the puck into the open net.

Notes:

-The loss to Minnesota was clearly a tough one for St. Cloud, but the Huskies managed to bounce back for an important win. Bob Motzko talked about the poor record teams have at the X(mostly from the Final Five) when they lose the night game of a semifinal, and have to come back to play the next day. He said the Huskies stressed having a "business-like approach" to the game, and finding emotion as the game went on. "It's like pond hockey. You're going out there and maybe it doesn't mean much until you get punched in the nose and the adrenaline goes up".

That was the case with Minnesota State really controlling play in the first period and getting a 1-0 lead, until St. Cloud caught a break on a turnover that led to their first goal, and really seemed to get the Huskies into the game.

-Even though taking home third place doesn't mean a lot to St. Cloud after having designs on taking home the trophy, it was still a very important win for them in the overall scheme of things. After going winless in their last four, Motzko said there was no question his team was going through a bit of a lull.

-Ryan Faragher wasn't much sharper than he was last night against Minnesota, but this time around, his offense was able to cover up some mistakes. Both of the first two goals he allowed were ones that I'm sure he'd love to have back. But at least he outplayed his counterpart in net--not that it took a lot--and in a game where St. Cloud was, for the most part, outplayed, he played well enough to earn a win for his team. Motzko seemed to agree with that after the game, saying that Faragher is going through a tough spot right, and he'll have to fight through it like every athlete does.

-Stephon Williams got the start in goal for Minnesota State, hoping to erase memories of giving up 5 goals on 19 shots last year against Wisconsin at the XCel Center in the Final Five. Instead, his night ended before the end of the second period, having given up five goals on 15 shots. As ugly as that stat line is, it's difficult to say Williams was terrible. It's hard to peg any of the five goals he allowed as soft ones. Like many of his starts this year, he didn't see much action, and when he did, they were high quality chances. Midway through the game, he had seen six shots on goal, with one being an uncontested one-timer in the slot, and one being a shot tipped two feet in front of him.

"Shots are one thing, but I look at quality, and [Williams] saw a lot of quality," said Mike Hastings, who said he based his decision to start Williams after he had performed well in practice this past week.

Williams is a much better goalie when he's more engaged in the game, like he often had to be last season. This year, he's really struggled to make that one big save to cover up for mistakes in front of him.

The XCel Center remains a house of horrors for Minnesota State, who have still never won in this building, and once again, it was shaky goal tending and a lot of goals allowed that did them in.

-You can't say the Mavericks didn't have their opportunities this weekend. Four different times this weekend they had a one-goal lead, and each time, they failed to extend it to a two-goal lead. Not extending their lead early in the first period when they were dominating play and St. Cloud wasn't quite sure if they wanted to be there today was especially a turning point.

-Minnesota State did not have a good night in the review booth, with St. Cloud scoring two goals after review, and Minnesota State have two goals taken away by review. Neither of the two Minnesota State goals should have counted, though one could make an argument that neither of St. Cloud's should have counted either. On St. Cloud's first goal, a player screening Williams still barely had a foot in the crease, which technically should have waved it off the board, but I can see letting it slide. The second one was just egregious, and I don't agree with the determination that the SCSU couldn't get out of the net.

Mike Hastings clearly didn't agree with some of those decisions either, but refused to place any blame there. "We gave up six," he said, "That's not good enough."