Preseason Top 16: #12 St. Cloud State
Howdy, folks. It’s that time of year again. Every so often The College Hockey Blog will be unveiling our Preseason top 16 teams, one by one. If you want to see the top 16 in order, and links to each individual preview, click the tab at the top of the page. Today’s team is #12 St. Cloud State
Last year I had the Huskies as a top 10 team, noting that not only were Ryan Lasch and Garrett Roe one of the best one-two scoring punches in the country, but that I thought the Huskies would have the secondary scoring needed to make the jump to the next level. Fast forward five months, and St. Cloud State finished 6th in the WCHA, losing in the first round of the playoffs to Minnesota. They scored 122 goals on the year, but finished 5th in the conference in that category. Roe was 7th in the country in points per game, and Lasch was 26th, but the only other forward with double digit goals was Sophomore Aaron Marvin. No Husky scored a goal even once every two games.
This year Roe and Lasch are back, and presumably better, to help lead the Huskies. No one that good leaves St. Cloud, as 8 of their top 9 point getters are back on campus. Drew LeBlanc and Jordy Christian, two Freshmen who had 15 points last year, are the keys to offensive improvement in St. Cloud.
Speaking of improvement, goalie Jase Weslosky had just a .913 save percentage and a GAA of 2.700 last sason. Some Husky fans have been clamoring for Dan Dunn, and there will probably be even more clamoring for incoming Freshman Mike Lee, who had a great season for the Fargo Force of the USHL, leading them all the way to the championship series. Also coming in for the Huskies is former Little Falls star Ben Hanowski, who is, big shock, a talented goal scorer who struggles a bit on the defensive end. It will be interesting to see how he transitions to NCAA hockey given the fact that he played against weaker competition in high school.
If Weslosky can get back to his 2007-08 numbers, and St. Cloud can get improvement from their four key Freshmen, home ice in the WCHA isn’t out of the question. I think St. Cloud State returns to the NCAA tournament this year, and I’m going to predict they win their first round game.