Thursday, September 18, 2008

WCHA Previews: St. Cloud State

School: St. Cloud State
Mascot: Huskies
Head Coach: Bob Motzko, 4th year, 63-43-16

Last Season: 12-12-4, 4th place WCHA; 19-16-5 Overall

Predicted 08/09 WCHA Finish: 5th

Key Departures:
F Andreas Nodl, 18-26-44*
D Aaron Brocklehurst, 4-18-22
F Nate Fey, 10-11-21
F Matt Hartman, 7-13-20
*All stats listed from 07/08

Key Returnees:
F Ryan Lasch (Jr), 25-28-53
F Garrett Roe (So), 18-27-45
F John Swenson (Sr), 8-14-22
D Garrett Raboin (Jr), 3-16-19
F Tony Mosey (So), 5-11-16

Top Sieve:
Jase Weslocky (Jr), 16-13-2, 2.12 GAA

Key Additions:
F Jordy Christian (BCHL), 39-45-84
F Drew LeBlanc (USHL), 19-35-54
F Travis Novak (USHL), 18-33-51
D Sam Zabkowicz (USHL), 7-20-27
D Oliver Lauridsen (Europe Juniors), 6-9-15 – played in Denmark’s WJC team

When Wisconsin Beats St. Cloud: @ SCS 11/21 & 11/22

07/08 Recap: St. Cloud continued to build up the prestige of their program last year w/ another solid WCHA finish and NCAA berth. Of course they still haven’t won a NCAA tournament game, but I’m sure it will happen sometime this century. St. Cloud featured the best trio of forwards in the entire league in Ryan Lasch, Garrett Roe and Andreas Nodl. I’m still surprised how well Lasch and Roe due considering their size. For small forwards they get the job done. Their first PP unit was pretty dominate and a large part of their success. I know the Badgers felt the bite of it several times during the season. Jase Weslocky did a good job taking over for the undeserving two time 1st team All-WCHA Bobby Geoffert. The Badgers came from behind twice to knock off the Huskies at home, but didn’t fair so well on the road. St. Cloud closed our door on WCHA Playoff home ice, and two weeks later almost on our season.

08/09 Thoughts: The loss of Nodl to the NHL is a big blow, but they still return Lasch and Roe, giving them a great one, two punch. Lasch should be considered one of the favorites for the Hobey Baker award. Their PP should be their strong suit again this season. Staying out of the box will be critical for opponents, since the speed of their top unit is hard enough to contain at EV. Overall, I don’t see St. Cloud competing for the WCHA crown, but they are a solid NCAA tourney team. Is this the year to finally register the first NCAA victory? Their freshman class seems pretty solid, I don’t recognize any of the names other than Sam Zabkowicz who is from Wisconsin. The Badgers own some crazy home winning streak against St. Cloud, but the Kohl Center will not see them during the regular season.