March 16, 2007 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Playing For Next Weekend

St. Cloud State Gets Buried by North Dakota, Prepares for NCAAs

by Theresa Spisak/CHN Reporter

ST. PAUL, Minn. — If St. Cloud State was going to win Friday evening, Hobey Baker candidate goalie Bobby Goepfert would, presumably, play a huge role. However, Goepfert's reputation at the Xcel Energy Center preceded him and his Huskies fell 6-2 to North Dakota, marking another year of coming up short.

"I've been saying all year it doesn't really bother me how many goals I let up — a loss is a loss," said Goepfert, who has a history of struggling here. "I would have been just as upset if we lost 1-0 and same thing for tonight — I felt pretty good, I felt on top my game. They just had some players make plays; they're a talented team."

Jonathan Toews, one of those great players, found an impossible hole over Goepfert's left shoulder to get the Sioux's first goal. Freshman Chris VandeVelde, whose only goal this season came against the Huskies on March 2, also had two goals and one assist.

"He's a special player (Toews)," Goepfert said. "That whole line's really special. They're as talented as they're going to come. They made plays just when I thought I had good coverage or I thought I was in the position, they made a great backdoor play. It was just one of those things where I don't know if you can do anything about them, I wish I could have come out with a couple of saves but, hey, they're special players and good for them I guess."

Goepfert also got snakebitten by a couple of strange goals.

"I don't think that by definition broke our backs, like you say, it was just sort of one of those things that happens in a hockey game that we have to overcome," Goepfert said. "It was a culmination of they kept coming at us and we had a few guys that weren't really battling as hard as they possibly could to win that game."

Clearly, it took the Huskies a while to get going. And while Motzko didn't want to use that as an excuse, it was a factor coming off last week's three-game series with Minnesota-Duluth that took three overtimes to decide.

"We didn't do anything physical during the week because we had to save our guys so we knew it was going to take us a little bit to get into the game and we did," Motzko said.

"We were ready to play, we got into the flow, but then very quickly there in this very short span we made two critical mistakes and you get down and we were not able to overcome those two critical mistakes."

And North Dakota, the hottest team in the country, made it difficult for the Huskies at every turn.

"They come at you at 110 miles an hour every shift every player," said SCSU forward Andrew Gordon. "That's a characteristic you see of North Dakota every season and so it's, they're peaking at the right time, we just have to respect the fact they come to win every night and that's sort of what they do better than a lot of teams. I wouldn't say that they're necessarily the best team we've played, but in a situation like this, one-game elimination, I would put them against anybody."

While the Huskies still have the third-place game to play tomorrow, they are now more concerned about the NCAAs next weekend. As a result, coach Bob Motzko may rest some players tomorrow night.

"We came in tonight with a couple dinged up guys who got through the night," Motzko said. "I've got to get a report from our trainers and see where they are because we would have to sit some guys down because next week is way more important than tomorrow's game."

The game, however, could still decide a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs.

"You want the truth? I have no idea, I gotta talk to all the computer experts because I'm not one," Motzko said of his team's chances. "I've gotta find out if we have to win the darn thing. ... The No. 1 seed, it's not like the old days when you got a bye, and so who knows what's going around the country. So I'm hours from finding out the importance of what's going to go into that."

Still, consistency is important for St. Cloud, a team that has gained at least one point in every series they've played this season.

"We've got one more shot tomorrow to stay consistent," said Motzko. "We've got to right the ship and we've got to take this as a learning game because we've got one week to get back and redeem it."

NOTES: The game was a rematch of the 2006 WCHA Final Five final game that UND won 5-3. ... Fighting Sioux forward Chris Porter played in his 171st consecutive game, tying the WCHA record. ... Husky forward Andrew Gordon scored his 100th career point with his assist on the first SCSU goal. ... The game set a new attendance record with 17,511 fans in attendance, beating last year's mark of 16, 468.

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