St. Cloud, Minn. - The St. Cloud State University men's hockey team (9-11-2, 5-8-1 WCHA) collected its fourth consecutive victory and its first series sweep of the 2010-11 season thanks to a big 5-1 win over Michigan Tech University (3-1-2, 1-12-1 WCHA) on Saturday, Jan. 8 at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn.
St. Cloud State trailed 1-0 at the end of the first period as Michigan Tech's Deron Cousens scored a power play goal at 6:21 of the first period with assists from Ryan Furne and Steve Seigo. SCSU battled back in the second period with a pair of goals to regain the lead and the eventual win. The first SCSU marker of the night was credited to rookie forward Nic Dowd (Huntsville, Ala.), who scored at 3:13 of the second period. Junior forward Drew LeBlanc (Hermantown) provided a sterling cross ice pass to Dowd on a 3-on-1 SCSU rush that resulted in Dowd's tally. The second assist on the goal was credited to freshman defender Kevin Gravel (Kingsford, Mich.).
The goal was Dowd's third of the season and this marks his fifth consecutive game with a point and his third consecutive multi-point game. Gravel's assist was his third of the season and this was his first point since Oct. 24.
The eventual game winner was notched by junior forward Jared Festler (Little Falls), who scored on a strange play that ended with his 8th goal of the season at 8:01 of the 2nd period. This was Festler's second consecutive game with the game winning goal. On the play, Festler deflected a shot from SCSU senior defender Brett Barta (Moorhead). The puck bounced into the air, landed on top of the MTU. At that point, the puck bounced off the top netting, hit the back of MTU goalie Josh Robinson and rolled into the net. After a brief review by the officials, the goal was allowed for SCSU. On the play, LeBlanc was credited with the second assist.
This was Barta's ninth assist of the season, which is a new career season-high for the veteran blueliner. As a Husky, Barta now has 21 assists in four seasons at SCSU.
In the third period, rookie defender Nick Jensen (Rogers) posted his third goal of the season at 5:18 with assists from LeBlanc and junior defender Sam Zabkowicz (Greendale, Wis.). Jensen converted on a strong shot from the top of the circle that beat Robinson high on his glove side. SCSU continued to pour it on with a goal by senior forward Garrett Roe (Vienna, Va.) at 6:31 of the third period. Junior defender Oliver Lauridsen (Gentofte, Denmark) provided the first assist on the play, while rookie forward Cam Reid (Surrey, B.C.) notched his ninth assist of the season on Roe's tally.
To finish the evening, LeBlanc stepped up to the plate with his 8th goal of the season. LeBlanc gained the power play goal for SCSU at 8:41 of the final period with helpers from Roe and Dowd. On the evening, LeBlanc scored one goals and three assists. His team-leading season totals include 8 goals, 18 assists and 26 points. LeBlanc also owns a four-game point streak headed into the Huskies' bye week on Jan. 14-15.
Dowd now ranks third on the team with 11 assists and 14 points for the Huskies this season, while Roe now has 15 assists and four goals for SCSU this winter. The assist was Roe's 102nd as a Husky, which places him second in the team records - just two assists away from all-time SCSU assist leader Ryan Lasch (104 from 2006-10).
In the contest, SCSU outshot MTU 39-24 as sophomore goalie Mike Lee (Roseau) earned his 4th consecutive start and 4th consecutive win for the Huskies. Lee made 23 saves in the contest. On the weekend, Lee allowed only one power play goal against MTU and posted 51 saves in the two games. On the power play, SCSU was 1-of-4 and MTU was 1-of-3.
SCSU will take off next weekend before heading north to Bemidji State University for a pair of WCHA games on Jan. 21-22. Fans can listen to the game live on KCML FM 99.9 (www. Lite999.com) with the play-by-play provided by Don Lyons and Dave Reichel. SCSU's next home games are slated for Jan. 28 and Jan. 29 at the National Hockey Center against Minnesota State. For complete ticket information, please call 1-877-SCSUTIX or 320-308-2137.
As always, all SCSU students with a valid ID card are admitted FREE to all regular season SCSU home hockey games in 2010-11.