ST. CLOUD STATE – The co-MacNaughton Cup Champions and No. 8-ranked St. Cloud State Huskies ended the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves’ season with a 5-1 win in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association First Round Playoffs at the National Hockey & Event Center on Saturday evening.
Despite a career-high 41 saves from junior Chris Kamal, the Seawolves’ (4-25-7, 2-22-6 WCHA) season came to a conclusion when the Huskies (23-14-1, 18-9-1 WCHA) erupted for four goals in the final frame to advance to the 2013 Red Baron WCHA Final Five next weekend.
After the Huskies’ Drew LaBlanc – the WCHA Player of the year – scored in the first six minutes of play, the score remained 1-0 until 4:56 of the third period when David Morley gave SCSU a two-goal lead off a deflection. The momentum swung in favor of UAA 58 seconds later when freshman forward Blake Tatchell, UAA’s point leader, poked in the Seawolves’ lone tally at 5:58.
Drew LeBlanc had a goal and two assists and Ben Hanowski added a goal and an assist as St. Cloud State beat Alaska-Anchorage 5-1 Saturday to sweep their Western Collegiate Hockey Association series.
The Huskies (23-14-1) outscored the Seawolves 11-2 in the two games. LeBlanc got the scoring started at 5:46 of the first period. It was a 2-1 game early in the third period before St. Cloud State scored three times to put it away. Nic Dowd, David Morley and Cory Thorson scored for SCSU.
Blake Tatchell had the only goal for UAA (4-25-7), which closed the season on an eight-game losing streak. Seawolf assists went to senior forward Alex Gellert and sophomore defenseman Derek Docken.
UAA had picked up the pace and hopes were high until senior Tyler Currier was called for elbowing, sending the Huskies on a 2-minute power-play at 8:32. Nic Dowd was able to capitalize on the man advantage 41 seconds later, retuning the lead to two for SCSU.
The Huskies would secure the win with an even-strength goal by Cory Thorson at 13:20, before following it up with an empty-netter by Ben Hanowski from center ice at 18:47.
Kamal’s 41 saves tops his previous best of 39, registered earlier this month against Alaska Fairbanks. In net for SCSU was Ryan Faragher, who furnished 19 saves for the win. The Huskies outshot UAA, 46-20.
The Seawolves will say goodbye to seniors Chris Crowell, Currier, Gellert, Daniel Naslund and Scott Warner.