St. Cloud, Minn. - The St. Cloud State University men's hockey team (23-14-1) punched its ticket to St. Paul and the 2013 WCHA Final Five with a big 5-1 victory over Alaska Anchorage (4-25-7) on Saturday, March 16. The victory gave the Huskies a two-game sweep in the first round of the WCHA playoffs, which were hosted by the Huskies in St. Cloud, Minn.
The #1 seed Huskies will now advance to play in the semifinal round of the WCHA Final Five on Friday, March 22. The opponent for SCSU will be determined by the results of the remaining first round games and the two play-in games on Thursday, March 21 at the WCHA Final Five.
Please check back later for more details on the opponent and game time. Fans can purchase tickets through Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com) for the 2013 Red Baron WCHA Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The Huskies gained the trip its second consecutive Final Five with a top notch effort in their win over UAA. Senior Hobey Baker Award candidate Drew LeBlanc jump started the SCSU attack on Saturday with his 13th goal of the season at 5:46 of the first period.
LeBlanc's goal was assisted by freshman Kalle Kossila, which was Kossila's 17th assist of the season.
SCSU freshman David Morley posted his second consecutive game winner at 4:56 of the third period with his 11th goal of the year. Senior Taylor Johnson provided the first assist on the play and rookie Garrett Milan notched the second assist on the goal.
UAA narrowed the gap with a goal at 5:58 by Blake Tatchell, which made it 2-1.
The Huskies sealed the deal at 9:13 with a booming one-timer from Nic Dowd on the power play that made it 3-1. Nick Jensen and LeBlanc provided helpers on the goal, which was Dowd's 11th of the season and Jensen's 25th assist of 2012-13.
Cory Thorson padded the lead to 4-1 with his goal at 13:20 of the third period. Ben Hanowski and Jimmy Murray each had assists on the play, which was Thorson's 10th goal of 2012-13.
The evening was capped with an empty net goal by Hanowski at 18:47 of the third period. Dowd chipped in the first assist and LeBlanc provided the second assist. The goal was Hanowski's 15th of 2012-13 while Dowd now has 24 assists this winter.
With the point, LeBlanc becomes the ninth player in team history to score 50 points in a season. He now ranks third in the nation this season with 50 points and tops all DI players with 37 assists.
In the nets, SCSU's Ryan Faragher turned in a stellar effort with 19 saves to gain his 22nd win of 2012-13. He now ranks second in the team records for most wins in a season (tied with Brian Leitza, who had 22 in 1997-98).
SCSU outshot UAA in the contest 46-20 and the Huskies went 1-of-3 on the power play and they were 3-of-3 on the penalty kill.