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March 2, 2014 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

St. Cloud Draws Even Again With North Dakota

CHN Staff Report

Highlights of St. Cloud State's 3-1 win over North Dakota.

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St. Cloud State responded from Friday's loss to earn a 3-1 win over North Dakota on Saturday, and a split of the pivotal weekend series.

As a result of the split, the teams remained tied atop the NCHC standings with one weekend remaining, and both teams clinched home ice for the league quarterfinals.

One night after allowing five goals, the Huskies clamped down defensively and also got a big night from goaltender Ryan Faragher.

"It was a big bounceback night for our defensive corps, which last night had a very, very poor night," said SCSU coach Bob Motzko, who played mostly five defensemen, with senior Brandon Burrell inserted in occassionally. Burrell was playing for the first time in almost two years. "That was definitely a bounceback, and you've got to gut it out playing five D. ... (Burrell) gave us some minutes out there we needed to have."

Burrell was playing instead of junior Jarrod Rabey.

Rocco Grimaldi scored shorthanded for North Dakota, but St. Cloud responded just after the power play with the tying goal from Joey Benik.

In the second period, Cory Thorson scored what proved to the game winner, when he carried the puck in, cut across the grain and put a wrist shot past goalie Zane Gothberg's glove.

"It's an unreal feeling," Thorson said. "We didn't want them celebrating with the Penrose (Trophy for first place) on our ice tonight. ... Next weekend will be huge, celebrate this one a little bit then put it away."

Said Motzko, "Our concern right now is that we stay sharp and focused and keep our focus up."

Elsewhere

Western Michigan senior Chase Balisy had a hat trick, including the eventual game winner with 12:41 left in regulation, as Western Michigan defeated Denver, 3-1.

"Give Western credit, they made some really good adjustments on their penalty kills and forecheck,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “We did a better job on faceoffs last night, so we struggled with possession. They really neutralized our transition tonight, especially in the neutral zone.”

Western Michigan stayed even with Minnesota-Duluth, with those two now tied for the final home-ice spot for the NCHC playoffs with one weekend remaining. Denver dropped to sixth, two points behind fourth.

“I liked our game in the last 40 minutes and to me it was the way that we played through the GLI and through most of January," Western Michigan coach Andy Murray said.

"Coach Montgomery does a nice job with them and I told him after the game that I thought he managed his bench really well here and you made matchups tough. He is missing a couple guys who are good players but they were obviously in it right until the end. I thought we were assertive particularly the last 40 minutes which is how are team usually plays.”

Said Balisy of his night, “It was a pretty good feeling, I am not going to lie. My teammates worked hard all night and it is pretty nice for our seniors to go out on top with a win like that. The guys really worked hard out there and it was really special tonight.”

* * *

Michael Young scored his first goal, 55 seconds into overtime, to give Nebraska-Omaha a 2-1 win over Colorado College.

* * *

Aaron Crandall stopped all 30 shots he faced, and Kyle Osterberg scored his 13th goal of the season, as Minnesota-Duluth defeated Miami, 1-0. The loss means Miami clinches last place in the NCHC's inaugural season, a shocking statement given Miami's lofty early-season rankings.

* * *

In the Big Ten: Saturday was Senior Night at Mariucci Arena in more ways than one. Not only was it the final home game for five Golden Gopher players, it was those seniors who ultimately delivered performances that sparked a 2-1 victory for Minnesota over Penn State.

Michael Shibrowski, who started in net for the second time this season, stopped 26 shots for a new career high. At the other end of the rink, fellow senior Tom Serratore scored the game winner late in the third period.

In the WCHA: Minnesota State extended its winning streak to seven games, winning at Lake Superior, 4-3. Johnny McInnis scored twice, his 18th and 19th of the season. The Mavericks had won their previous three games by shutout, including Friday against the Lakers.

"We knew they'd come back with some pushback," MSU coach Mike Hastings said of the Lakers. "It's senior weekend here, and they're a good hockey team. And they did that. They punched us in the nose early, came out and got a lead — they carried the first period. We got most of our shots in the first period from a five-minute major (power play).

"(The second period difference was) more attitudinal than anything else. Because once you get punched like that, you have two ways to go. I thought our leadership corps did a good job of turning the tide a little bit, or at least trying to make it even. And Johnny McInnis made a couple of real special individual plays, which you need your captain to."

With Alaska's win over Ferris State on Saturday, sweeping the series, Minnesota State is now tied with the Bulldogs for first place heading into the league's final regular-season weekend.

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