History As St. Cloud Advances in 2 OT
by Dan Myers/CHN Staff
ST. PAUL, Minn. Call St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko Nostradamus.
"You're gonna see benches get short, the top players back on the rink and the top players are going to have to be just that," Motzko said Thursday afternoon at the West Regional's media day.
You might also want to say he was Hurcules, for getting a gargantuan monkey off his program's back.
Coming in with eight losses in eight prior NCAA Tournament appearances, it was SCSU's top players that were the difference Friday as the Huskies defeated Northern Michigan 4-3 in double overtime, accomplishing some history in the process.
"We said it yesterday, what was the game going to come down to?" said Huskies head coach Bob Motzko. "(Mark) Olver and (Gregor) Hanson and (Erik) Gustafsson for them, (Ryan) Lasch, (Garrett) Roe for us. And that's what it did."
"It's huge to finally get that monkey off of our back," said SCSU forward Tony Mosey, who scored the game winner off a rebound in front 23 seconds into the second overtime. "That same play happened earlier and I missed a wide open net so I knew if Roe was going to give it to me again I had to put it in. We had a couple power plays in overtime and we were bound to put one in. Fortunately we got one in."
In addition to Mosey — third on the Huskies in scoring this season — Ryan Lasch tallied a power-play goal to make it 2-0. In the second period, it was Garrett Roe with the man advantage to make it 3-1. Roe had the first assist on Lasch's goal and Lasch returned the favor on Roe's.
Also stepping up big was freshman goaltender Mike Lee, who stopped 42 shots — including a couple of breakaways in the third period and first overtime — to send the Huskies to the region championship Saturday night.
"Going into overtime we knew it was going to be a back and forth game, they hit a couple posts, we hit a couple," Roe said. "They had a bunch of chances and I think it just showed the character of our team. Coach mentioned last week how we are resilient. As soon as they tied it up we knew it was back to work and getting chances. We wanted to score, we wanted to win that game and I think we weren't going to stop until we did."
Athough Motzko said Thursday that removing said monkey was not something his team thought much about, it was clear Friday following the win that it felt good to do just that.
So coach, glad you'll never be asked about 0-for-the tournament any more?
"You're damn right," Motzko said. "We're so close with our alumni, most of them are from Minnesota. I don't want to dwell on this, but the texts and the e-mails we get … they wanted this so bad."
SCSU fired 53 shots at Brian Stewart, including 22 in the first overtime to capture the momentum heading into the fourth intermission. It only took 23 seconds into the second extra frame to end it.
The Huskies led 2-1 on the scoreboard and 17-6 in shots after one period. NMU held the shots edge 13-6 and 14-8 over the final two periods, respectively, and seems to capture the momentum in the third period.
Enter Lee, who was masterful in his first career NCAA Tournament game.
"He was phenomenal, both goalies were," said NMU forward Erik Spady, who scored the game-tying goal with less than four minutes to play in regulation. "We had so many chances, he was standing on his head and it feels like he stole the game from us a few times."