Tuesday, September 22, 2009

09/10 WCHA Previews: St. Cloud

School: St. Cloud State
Mascot: Huskies
National Championships: this requires winning an NCAA game first
Head Coach: Bob Motzko, 81-60-19, 5th season

Last Season: 13-13-2, 6th Place WCHA; 18-17-3 Overall

Predicted 09/10 WCHA Finish: 3rd

Key Departures:
F John Swanson, 9-17-26*
F Michael Olson, 5-8-13
F Brent Borgen, 4-7-11
G Jase Weslosky, 16-13-2, 2.70 GAA, 0.912 save % (couldn’t get the grades at SCSU…)
*All stats listed from 08/09

Key Returnees: (82.8% of scoring returns)
F Garrett Roe (Jr), 17-31-48
F Ryan Lasch (Sr), 18-24-42
D Garrett Raboin (Sr), 10-23-33
F Aaron Marvin (Jr), 10-17-27
F Jared Festler (So), 7-10-17

Top Sieve:
Dan Dunn, 2-4-1, 2.60 GAA, 0.904 save %

Key Additions:
G Mike Lee (USHL), 26-15-4, 2.40 GAA, 0.918 save %
F Ben Hanowski (MN HS), 57-53-110
D Taylor Johnson (USHL), 8-24-32
D David Eddy (USHL), 21-35-56

Freshman Scouting Report: A small class, but should be pretty good. Mike Lee was one of the top goalies in the USHL last season and should be a key part of Team USA WJC team this coming January. Ben Hanowski played weak competition in HS hockey last winter, so his stats are misleading, though he sounds talented, he will have a HUGE adjustment to the WCHA. Taylor Johnson led all blue liners for the Gamblers last season as they were regular season champs. David Eddy had a nice season for Sioux Falls.

When Wisconsin Beats the Huskies: @SCSU 11/20 & 11/21, KC 2/19 & 2/20

08/09 Recap: St Cloud never really got things rolling last season, and were hot and cold all season. They were building momentum at the end of the season and fighting for home ice, but came up just short in 6th. The gophers ended their season in the 1st round of the playoffs. Ryan Lasch and Garrett Roe started off slowly, which didn’t help. The Badgers only played one series at St Cloud, and were beat down on Friday only to pitch a 1-0 shutout the following night in one of Shane Connelly’s best games as a Badger. Jase Weslosky was suppose to be in the running for the WCHA’s top goalie, but was nothing special, and then promptly failed out of school.

Team’s Biggest Strength(es): Their first PP unit w/ Lasch and Roe will again be one of the best in the WCHA, and killed the Badgers in the past. Teams need to stay out of the box w/ all the quick forwards St Cloud uses.

Team’s Biggest Weakness(es): Some would say goaltending, but I won’t (I’ll explain in the 09/10 thoughts). St Cloud lacks much secondary scoring, after Lasch and Roe the offense drops off. There is a large group of sophomore forwards on the Huskies, and to succeed these kids need to step up.

09/10 Thoughts: I’m probably the only person who will have St Cloud 3rd and I have my reasons. On paper goaltending appears an issue. Weslosky is gone because he can’t get grades at a safety school, but really that clears up the goaltending situation for the Huskies. Dan Dunn will be hungry after the team, thinking Weslosky would return, told him to hit the road, and I think Mike Lee is going come in and be top notch for St Cloud right away. If this doesn’t happen, yeah 3rd place is way too high. Also, Lasch and Roe are both primed for big seasons, and additional scorers will emerge, but if they don’t, two guys can’t carry a team. I’m banking on everything going St Cloud’s way, but in the end they still won’t win a NCAA game, I’m not giving them that much credit.