For the second year in a row at the Midwest Regional, a team that has never gone to the Frozen Four won the Midwest Regional. Last year it was Ferris State. This year, St. Cloud State is advancing to the Frozen Four thanks to their dominating performance in the Midwest Regional.
St. Cloud State was absolutely phenomenal during the Midwest Regional and dominated the tournament. They defeated Notre Dame 5-1 in the semifinal and then defeated Miami (OH) 4-1. St. Cloud State outscored their opponents 9-2 and pulled away in the second period of both games as they outscored their opponents 5-1 in the second period.
This year it wasn’t the stars who led the way but rather the depth players of St. Cloud State. It wasn’t Drew LeBlanc who led the way. Rather it was Cory Thorson and Joey Benik who were absolutely superb during the Midwest Regional leading the way for St. Cloud State.
Cory Thorson was a stud for the whole Regional and finished with 3 goals. Thorson scored a goal in the second period against both Notre Dame and Miami (OH). Thorson now has 13 goals on the season and has gone over the 20 point mark for the season.
Another person who led the way for St. Cloud State was Ryan Faragher. He was stellar in net as he shut down two good offensive teams in Notre Dame and Miami (OH). Faragher made saved 37 of 39 shots that he faced in the regional. He outplayed Steven Summerhays in the first round. Then in the final, he outplayed Ryan McKay who came in as the leader in goals against average with the second best save percentage in the country.
But the real star of the regional was Joey Benik. Benik came into the regional having only scored 3 goals all season long.
However, in the first game, Benik scored two goals. He was perfectly positioned for the rebound on both goals. He read the soft shots that were designed for redirects and scored on the power play both times. His goals were mirror images of each other.
Against Miami, Benik fired a powerful wrist shot that threaded the needle between the leg pad and the blocker. Then Benik cashed in on a juicy rebound that McKay left out on the ice. Benik finished the tournament with four goals. All tournament long he showed patience and a great knowledge of the game with his positioning.
St. Cloud State was led by superior goaltending by Faragher as he held both teams well below their usual scoring numbers. Then Thorson and Benik cleaned up as they scored seven of the nine goals that were scored by St. Cloud State. These three are the reason that St. Cloud State is heading to their first ever Frozen Four.