Thursday, March 25, 2010

West #2: St. Cloud State

St. Cloud State University Huskies

2 seed vs. Northern Michigan, West Regional (Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN)
At-large bid from WCHA
Record: 23-15-5
Coach: Bob Motzko

In their eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, St. Cloud State is clearly the guy in the PG movie everybody is rooting for* instead of the guy in the R rated movie you're not sure about. Seven previous appearances have led to seven disappointments, ranging from consecutive losses to Michigan in 2001-02 (leading to, among other things, "the Molly situation**"), to a 2-1 loss to Clarkson in Albany in 2008. St. Cloud will look to build off a strong Final Five run that saw them lose in the championship game, a outline similar to their opening round opponent, Northern Michigan. One positive note for the Huskies: This game will mark their first NCAA tournament game in the state of Minnesota and will be playing on the same ice where they just skated in the Final Five last weekend.

St. Cloud will look for a strong charge from their players on the top two lines, though questions about the availability of 19 goal scorer Garrett Roe will potentially put more of the load on Ryan Lasch, the Huskies all-time leading scorer. Questions about the goaltending of Mike Lee abound, as the dreaded "inconsistent" appears in several articles describing his play this year. "Inconsistent" is to a goalie what "Snakebit" is to a goal scorer, a polite way of saying something everyone is thinking, particularly about a college kid. If the Huskies are finally going to get off the NCAA Tournament schneid, they'll likely need Lee to play up to expectations and potential. Let's Go Hockey!***

* - Gopher fans cheerfully excluded from this "everybody".

** - Yes, we probably discussed this in 2008 when SCSU qualified. We don't care, it's that good of a story.

*** - "Let's Go Hockey!" will forever be associated with the Huskies here at HSR after the 2001 Regionals at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids when part of our traveling party misheard the SCSU chant of "Let's Go Huskies" as "Let's Go Hockey" and appreciated the desire of St. Cloud fans to promote the game.

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