St. Cloud State finally played a complete conference game.
The Huskies (6-4-0 overall, 1-3-0 WCHA) scored early, grabbed a 2-0 lead and held on as SCSU defeated Denver 4-2 Friday in front of 5,942 at the National Hockey Center.
The win was the first conference victory this season for St. Cloud State.
â€œWe came out slow, we werenâ€™t ready to play,â€ said Pioneers assistant captain Tyler Ruegsegger. â€œThey came out ready to play and pounced all over us right from the beginning.â€
The Huskies outshot the Pioneers (6-3-1 overall, 4-2-1 WCHA) 15-2 in the first period but led only 1-0 after 20 minutes. Garrett Roe took a fine pass from Jared Festler in the slot, made a move, and slipped the puck under Marc Cheverie at 4:46.
Denver escaped the first period otherwise unscathed, thanks in large part to Cheverie.
â€œSometimes he was lucky, sometimes he was just good,â€ said Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky. â€œWe were lucky to be in the game at that point.â€
St. Cloud went up two five minutes into the second on a goal by David Carlisle. He shot from the point found its way through traffic and under the armpit of Cheverie at 5:17. Roe and Festler added assists.
Denver got on the board shortly thereafter, as Luke Salazar rifled a wrist shot past Jase Weslosky from the near circle. It was the freshmanâ€™s seventh goal this season.
After a rough first period, Denver outshot SCSU 11-7 in the second period and trailed 2-1 headed to the third.
â€œThere were a couple of shifts where I think we started to get it going,â€ Ruegsegger said. â€œThen it kind of fell apart again.â€
Michael Olson made it 3-1 Huskies 4:40 into the third period. His goal would stand as the game winner, as the Pioneers would close back within one 1:19 later, but could not find the equalizer.
Patrick Wiercioch took advantage of a questionable diving call on SCSUâ€™s Ryan Lasch by lighting the lamp just 20 seconds into DUâ€™s third man advantage of the night. The goal was his fifth this season.
But St. Cloud again pushed their lead to two goals, as Aaron Marvin capped scoring with a pretty wrist shot that snuck just under the cross bar at 14:45. The goal was the sophomoreâ€™s fourth of the year.
â€œYou can call it desperation, you can call it hunger, you can call it urgency,â€ Gwozdecky said. â€œOne group of skaters wanted a lot more than the other group.â€
Denver and St. Cloud State will play game two of the series Saturday at the National Hockey Center. Face off is set for 7:07 CST.