Note to the Hockey Gods: The presence of this article in no way should indicate an assumption or guarantee out of me that we will be playing on Saturday. It's merely an effort to get the previews out of the way before the weekend so--should we win--I don't have to throw up a half-assed preview on Saturday afternoon that no one will read.
10 Things to Know About the St. Cloud State University Huskies:
1) They enter this weekend as the #2 seed in the East Regional. On the season, the Huskies are 19-15-5 (12-12-4 in conference) which, when adjusted for the fact that they play in the WCHA, means that they're the equivalent of a 39-0-0 NHL team. Away from home, they're 8-9-2.
2) Against the teams Michigan has played this season (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan Tech, Miami), the Huskies are 8-5-1 to Michigan's 5-1-1.
Good wins for SCSU: Two over Colorado College (one at home, one on the road), one over North Dakota. They also tied North Dakota twice on the road.
Bad losses for SCSU: None really jump out as bad. They swept 4 games against Tech and took 7 of 8 points from Anchorage. Apart from a sweep at Duluth and a tie against Canisius (all of which were in the first four games of their season), they've been good.
3) They're led by four super-underclassmen: Hobey-Finalist sophomore Ryan Lasch (25-28--53, #6 in points per game, #4 in power play goals, #9 in goals per game), freshman Garrett Roe (18-26--44, #3 in freshman points per game, #16 overall), and sophomore Andreas Nodl (18-26--44, #18 in points per game). No one else has more than 10 goals or 22 points. Sophomore goaltender Jase (sic) Weslosky is 16-12-2 with a 2.12 goals against average (#12 nationally) and a .931 save percentage (#6).
4) This the sixth time Saint Cloud has appeared in the NCAA Tournament. They are 0-5 in previous appearances, twice falling at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines.
Edit: They also made the tournament in 1989 as an independent and lost a best-of-three series in two games. So they're 0-7 in six previous tournament appearances.
5) They average 3.00 goals per game, tied with North Dakota for 16th in the country. The defense is 15th in the country at 2.36 goals per game.
6) The power play is #4 in the country, just a tick behind Niagara, at 23.2%. The penalty kill is also very good (#8 overall) at 87.1%. The best news for them, though, is that they're rarely short-handed. St. Cloud is the 3rd-least-penalized team in the nation at just under 11 minutes per game. Lasch, Roe, and Nodl combined for 33 power play goals.
7) Freshman forward Nick Oslund is a Red Wings draft pick. He has 4-1--5 this season.
8) Tristin Llewellyn has played with pretty much the entire St. Cloud team. Jon Ammerman, Aaron Marvin, Nick Oslund, Garrett Roe and Ryan Peckskamp are all ex-teammates.
Brent Borgen played with Chad Langlais and Bryan Hogan with the Lincoln Stars in the USHL. I'm pretty sure he's played with everyone in the WCHA at one time or another. He's played for Minnesota and St. Cloud, and played with half the league in the USHL. Seriously. Check out these three rosters.
Matt Hartman is an ex-teammate of Travis Turnbull's. They played together with the Sioux City Musketeers.
Tony Mosey and Brian Volpei played with Ben Winnett on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the BCHL.
John Swanson was a teammate of Billy Sauer's with the Chicago Steel.
9) They suck because they don't track face-offs (or they at least don't make it public).
10) They get off to good starts. They're +15 in first period goals, +9 in the second, and +1 in the third. Overall, they're +25 on goals, +27 on special teams, and -2 at even-strength. As was the case with Niagara, stay out of the box.
Links for the Day:
McKeen's has a good-sized interview with 2009 verbal Lee Moffie. It sounds like they really like him as a player. They won another prep championship, and as of right now, he plans on returning to Avon Old Farms for his senior season.
Ted Cook from Niagara posted another blog entry about yesterday's practice. Sounds like a loose hockey team.
Hoover Street Rag posted their preview of the West Regional.
Western College Hockey previewed the West and Midwest Regionals. I can't cosign on Sparty coming out of the West region. CC's fantastic at home, and both CC and UNH are used to the big ice. It's possible Lerg Lergs it up again, but he's going to have to be perfect to beat Bachman and (likely) Regan back-to-back. Also, I still think it's more likely that Miami loses to Air Force than it is that Notre Dame beats UNH (WCH didn't pick this upset, for the record). I just don't see how the Irish score enough to win that game. I agree with everything written about the Midwest. Denver/NoDak would be a fun game.