Huskies’ Weasler is player of the week

by Tim Nichols

Well, it happened again.
For the eighth time this year, Minnesota’s men’s hockey team has made a player of the week out of a member of the opposing team.
This week’s winner: St. Cloud State goaltender Dean Weasler, who was named WCHA defensive player of the week for his 81-save performance against the Gophers during the two game series.
Huskies’ coach Craig Dahl was especially impressed with Weasler’s performance on Friday, when Weasler stopped 20 of 21 shots, and 3 of 4 power plays.
“Weasler played great, I mean great,” Dahl said. “He had to be. We had to kill four penalties in a row.”
Earlier in the season, goaltending was a major issue for St. Cloud State. Weasler and teammates Scott Meyer and Gert Prohaska were still relatively untested, but Weasler picked up a win against the Gophers on Oct. 24 to help secure the starting job.
Even though he suffered a concussion during the game, and still can’t recall parts of the action, he has played solidly for the Huskies. In his first year, he has posted a 11-7-4 record. He’s one of the players on the Huskies’ squad who has had to raise his level of play to make up for the absence of others.
“We were tired in the third, I mean we were weary,” Dahl said. “But I am very pleased with the character on this team. The freshmen played very well.”
The team that might have been most impressed by Weasler’s play, if not most frustrated, were the Gophers.
Minnesota was stymied by the freshman from Rosemount, Minn., leaving the Gophers with nothing to do but scratch their heads.
“You’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Their goaltender played great this weekend,” Gophers senior Mike Anderson said. “That could have been the difference.”
Could have? Minnesota was 2-for-11 over the weekend on the power play and could not put the puck in during five-on-five play with any consistency.
Coach Doug Woog couldn’t offer any explanations for the Gophers’ inability to score.
“It wasn’t like mistakes beat us,” Woog said. “It was just our inability to score.”
Minnesota was just another victim in Weasler’s recent run. Before the weekend series with Minnesota, Weasler shutout Nebraska-Omaha on two consecutive nights. He was the first Huskies goaltender to shutout a team during a weekend series since Grant Sjevern against Denver on Dec. 17 and 18, 1993.
If St. Cloud State wants to make some noise in the upcoming WCHA tournament, Weasler will need to be on his top game.
Looking down the road
Minnesota isn’t the only WCHA team that will be doing some serious scoreboard watching this weekend.
With only a few games left in the season, four points separate third-place Alaska-Anchorage and sixth-place Minnesota.
The competition will be tight, but the Gophers are still in decent shape for home-ice. Right now, Minnesota controls its own destiny for a home playoff series in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
If the Gophers win their last four games, they will finish no worse than fifth-place in WCHA.
Blake wins second straight award
North Dakota’s Jason Blake was awarded his second straight offensive player of the week honor from the WCHA for his five-point performance against Alaska-Anchorage.
The Sioux clinched the conference championship last weekend after they swept the Seawolves.
The rookie of the week award was handed to Colorado College’s Jesse Heerema for his two goal and two assist performance against Denver.