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It’s not too often that a goaltender pitches a shutout but is outdone by his counterpart on the opposite side of the rink, but on this night that was just the case.
Chris King did everything he possibly could have Friday night, but in the end as he stood outside his locker stall deep inside the north end of the National Hockey Center, all the goaltender could do is try and muster up a few words for another loss in a mesmerizing year for Alaska-Anchorage. The Seawolves’ winless streak stretched to 30 games with a 2-0 loss to St. Cloud State.
King was spectacular throughout, but without any help from his teammates on the other end of the rink his fate was sealed with a pair of goals that went in off of body parts.
“This could have been easily a 6- or 8-0 game, but Chris King was outstanding,” said Alaska-Anchorage head coach John Hill.
St. Cloud State, on the other hand, survived a scare from another WCHA bottom-feeder, despite its 46-shot outburst, and picked up two much needed points to continue the hunt for home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
Joe Motzko and Matt Hendricks were the only Huskies able to get anything past King, who held serve for a period and a half. But on its first power play, St. Cloud State got the game’s first goal. Hendricks broke the deadlock after a Motzko centering pass bounced around off some bodies before hitting Hendricks in the chest and ricocheting under King.
The game remained 1-0 heading into the third, where the Huskies picked up the pace. They put four shots on net in the first shift, which didn’t include Joe Jensen ripping a shot off the crossbar. St. Cloud pressured the Seawolves the entire third, forcing King to make 21 saves in the period.
They beat him once on a Motzko shot that hit an Anchorage defender’s skate to the goaltender’s right and just barely slid over the goal line, but on every other occasion, King was great.
“(King) made some huge, huge, huge saves,” said Husky head coach Craig Dahl. “I mean I couldn’t believe it.”
“Hat’s off to King, man, he played really well,” said Motzko, who was stymied a number of times by the netminder. “But we’ll take ’em when we can get ’em and tonight, the bottom line is we got our two points.”
Jason Montgomery wasn’t slated to start in net for St. Cloud, but was forced in after Jake Moreland took a shot from Motzko during warm-ups to his shoulder and couldn’t go. In his absence, Montgomery was solid even though he wasn’t challenged much after the first period.
“It was nice though to get a few decent chances on me in the first period so I could get into the game,” said Montgomery, who picked up his first career shutout in the process. “But it seemed like I didn’t get much after that, so it really was a huge relief when we got that second goal.”
Another relief for SCSU came just moments later as Minnesota came back to tie Denver and pull the Huskies a point closer to home ice. Now all St. Cloud has to do is figure out a way to get some more pucks past King, complete its first conference sweep of the year and send Anchorage home with a winless record in WCHA play.