Husky Hockey in Frozen Four

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Joey Benik, first-year forward from Andover, was named Midwest Regional most valuable player

Joey Benik, first-year forward from Andover, was named Midwest Regional most valuable player.

Men's Husky Hockey celebrates St. Cloud State's NCAA Midwest Regional title Cory Thorson, junior forward from Crystal Ryan Faragher, sophomore netminder, earned All Tournament team honors at the Midwest Regional in Toledo, Ohio Joey Benik, first-year forward from Andover, was named Midwest Regional most valuable player St. Cloud Times front page and sports page from April 1, 2013 Andrew Prochno, sophomore defenseman from Minnetonka Drew LeBlanc, senior captain for men's Husky Hockey and Hobey Baker candidate Bob Motzko '89 Mike Gibbons, assistant coach, is in his sixth season with the Huskies. 

For weeks Robert Giles Motzko '89 talked publicly about the selfless, dedicated, complaint-free nature of his men's Husky Hockey team.

A coach's dream, he called them.

March 31 in Toledo, Ohio, those players lived their coach's words in deeds small and great, winning St. Cloud State's first NCAA Division I championship berth with 4-1 defeat of Miami University in the Midwest Regional final at Huntington Center, Toledo, Ohio.

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St. Cloud State (25-15-1) plays Quinnipiac University (29-7-5) 7 p.m. April 11 at the Frozen Four in CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh.

Thursday's game will be televised on ESPN2, DirecTV 209 and DISH 144. Gina Carlson and Scott Gross will call the radio broadcast for KVSC 88.1 FM. Don Lyons, the voice of men's Husky Hockey, and Dave Reichel '79 will broadcast for 1450 KNSI/FM 103.3.

Learn more about viewing parties at 10 Minnesota locations

Yale University and University of Massachusetts Lowell play 3:30 p.m. CT April 11 in the other semifinal. The national championship game is April 13.

The Dream Team is lead by Drew LeBlanc, a math teacher in training from Hermantown who was sidelined most of his senior season by a compound leg fracture. LeBlanc put team first, came to practices in a wheelchair, then returned for a fifth year. He won the national fan balloting for college hockey's highest honor, the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, with 24,696 votes.

Hobey Baker Watch

The St. Cloud State family awaits word on Drew LeBlanc’s candidacy for college hockey’s top honor, the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

LeBlanc, a math education major from Hermantown, earned 24,707 votes in fan balloting, and is one of three finalists.

Meet Drew LeBlanc.

The 2013 Hobey Baker winner will be announced 5 p.m. CT April 12 at the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, on the NHL Network and via

At the other end of the bench is Brooks Bertsch, a sophomore forward from Dubuque, Iowa, who took turns this season sitting in the stands, as Motzko rotated forwards in and out of the lineup. Bertsch recorded three assists at the Midwest Regional.

Between the pipes is goaltender Ryan Faragher. The lanky goaltender Motzko calls "country strong" persevered in the shadows of the team's stellar and more flamboyant forwards. In two regional games the sophomore from Fort Frances, Ontario, recorded 37 saves and gave up two goals. Faragher skated into the limelight Sunday, earning an All-Tournament Team nod.

Exploding on the scene is Joey Benik, a first-year forward who scored two regular-season goals while recovering from a broken left leg, incurred during the first hour of his first college practice. The Andover native was named most valuable player of the Midwest Regional, recording four goals and an assist in Toledo.

Consider forward Cory Thorson and defenseman Andrew Prochno. Thorson, a junior from Crystal, was thrust this week into a new role, centering linemates Bertsch and Benik, a combination that hadn't played a game together all season. He responded with three goals and assist at the regional, earning All-Tournament honors. Prochno also made the All-Tournament team, recording two assists on the weekend, while battling on the end boards and defending in front of the net.  

Earlier this month, Motzko talked on his 1450 KNSI "Bob Motzko Show" about the end of his bench, the temp workers who labor every practice, but on game day sometimes wearing the cardinal red and black, sometimes wear a jacket and tie. 

He might as well have been talking about the character of his entire team.

"This core of guys, their attitude has been outstanding," said Motzko, seated a few feet from the MacNaughton Cup, symbol of St. Cloud State's first Western Collegiate Hockey Association title. "Not one guy has pouted. Not one guy has even given you the look. It's kind of a coach's dream to have that happen in a season."

Thorson, at the post-game press conference, echoed his coach: "We have 25 guys in that locker room right now that have worked their tails off all season and made such a big dream come true."

A Dream Team, indeed, with more dreams to fulfill. 

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