No. 3 St. Cloud State starts sluggish, finishes strong in victory over Miami


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OXFORD, Ohio — It wasn’t looking good for No. 3 St. Cloud State early on Friday.

A 12-2 shot deficit and a furious Miami offensive onslaught had the visitors on the ropes.

“We knew we were getting our butts kicked pretty good there,” SCSU senior forward David Morley said after the game, fighting through a laugh. “It was rough for a while.”

But netminder Charlie Lindgren made more than a few key saves to keep his team in the game before Ethan Prow took over with a well-placed backhand. The score gave St. Cloud State (23-5-1, 13-3-1-1 NCHC) the early lead, and it built off that momentum to take the contest 5-1 on the road.

“Our captain [Prow] gets a goal late in the first, and instead of having our butts kicked, it was highway robbery,” Huskies coach Bob Motzko said. “So we get out of [the period] with a one-goal lead.”

It seemed for awhile there that Miami (10-13-3, 5-10-2-2) might run away with it, though. Sean Kuraly thought he scored midway through the first only to have his goal disallowed on a high stick call. The RedHawks nearly converted on several more chances, but at every step of the way, Lindgren was there to stifle Miami.

The RedHawks actually responded 15 seconds into the middle frame, though. Josh Melnick eyed a mishandled shot from Lindgren and buried the rebound. It was the only time to the RedHawks touched twine on Friday.

The Huskies went on to validate their rating as the second-best offense in the country with four straight tallies from the sticks of Morley, Judd Peterson, Blake Winiecki and Patrick Russell.

The win is St. Cloud’s 11th in its last 13 outings.

“I was impressed with our guys and their attitude,” Motzko said. “They stuck with it and dug in. And we got goals from all four lines today. At times, it was not a pretty game, but I liked our demeanor after getting just punched in the nose early. This was a big win for us.”

For the RedHawks, Friday was another night in a season of “what-ifs.” The loss was the second in a row following a season-high four-game win streak that started Jan. 16 versus Bowling Green.

“They capitalized on their chances,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi explained. “That’s a good hockey team. They made us pay for our mistakes.”

It was an unfortunate defeat for a team searching for a way into the NCAA tournament, too, as it drops Miami to 24th in the PairWise rankings.

There were 13 Huskies credited with at least one point on the night.

Lindgren added to his strong season totals with 35 saves on 36 shots. Jay Williams kept Miami in the running with some tremendous saves early, but eventually surrendered five goals on 24 shots.