ST. CLOUD, MN – The #5 ranked Huskies exploded for three goals in the second period and held on for a 4-2 win over Western Michigan to win the NCHC quarter-final series and advance to the Frozen Four next weekend at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Huskies received scoring from four different players with David Morley adding the game winner in SCSU’s 6th win over the WMU Broncos this season. The win improved SCSU’s overall record to 29-8-1 and they remain #3 in the Pairwise two weeks before NCAA play.
The Huskies controlled play early in the first period on Saturday but it was the Broncos who scored first taking a 1-0 lead. Following a point-blank shot on goal by Blake Winiecki, the Broncos made a rush up ice and a backhand pass by Colt Conrad intended for Kyle Novak deflected off the stick of Robby Jackson past Lindgren for the one-goal lead. Colt Conrad was awarded the goal at 11:31 with assists to Griffin Molino and Kyle Novak. This was Conrad’s 8th goal of the season. SCSU outshot the Broncos 12/8 in period one and the Huskies were blanked on two man-advantage opportunities.
The floodgates were finally opened in period two with the Huskies scoring three times and taking a commanding 3-1 lead. Robby Jackson ( Benson | Prow) scored his 10th goal of the season at 10:23 battling WMU’s Scott Moldenhauer for possession of the puck after a shot from the point by Ethan Prow. A persistent Jackson wristed the puck from between Moldenhauer’s legs past Hafner to tie the game at 1-1. 22 seconds later, the Huskies capitalized on a Broncos defensive zone turnover for a 2-0 lead. Jimmy Schuldt intercepted a puck off the side wall and beat Hafner with a strong shot from the top of the circles for his 9th goal of the season. The Huskies added yet another at 12:11 on senior David Morley’s 13th goal of the season. Joey Benik placed a backhand shot on Hafner that rebounded to a falling Jimmy Murray who passed t to Morley who was parked all alone in the left slot. Morley promptly deposited it in an open net for a 3-1 SCSU lead. In a period showcasing the offense of the Huskies, they outshot WMU 19 to 8.
Two late goals in the third period finished off the scoring for the contest. With the Huskies in full control, WMU was whistled for too many players on the ice at 18:32. With the final seconds of the game winding down, a combination of determined play by the Broncos and disinterested play by SCSU led to a short-handed extra attacker goal by WMU’s Chris Dienes (Molino | LaPorte) his 3rd of the year. WMU controlled play in the SCSU zone and Molino made a nice diagonal pass to Dienes who beat Lindgren with a quick shot from the left slot. However, with the WMU goaltender pulled and 10 seconds remaining in the contest SCSU gained control of the puck and Patrick Russell ( Borgen | Kossila) sealed things with an empty net power play goal at 19:58 for the 4-2 final. SCSU outshot the Broncos 13-9 in the final period.
The Huskies outshot Western Michigan 44-25 in the game and SCSU’s Lindgren stopped 23/25 WMU shots on goal improving his record to 28-8-1. The Broncos Lukas Hafner stopped 41 of 43 shots on goal to see his record drop to 5-19-3 in his final collegiate game. Western Michigan closes out the 2015-16 season with a 8-25-3 record overall and 5-18-1 in the NCHC.
St. Cloud State advances to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff next weekend at the Target Center in Minneapolis as the #2 seed facing #3 seed Denver University at a time as yet to be determined by the NCHC. The game will either be at 4:08 or 7:38 PM CT on Friday.
Stars of the Game: #1 Jimmy Schult (SCSU) #2 Ethan Prow (SCSU) #3 Robby Jackson (SCSU)