By Mick Hatten
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Ben Hanowski was a co-captain of the 2012-13 St. Cloud State men’s hockey team that won the program’s first WCHA regular season title and went on to advance to its first Frozen Four. Looking back, it was not a fluke that St. Cloud State enjoyed success that season.
“When you look at that team, it was a really talented group of guys,” Hanowski said. You look at how many of those guys put up 100 points in their career — it’s a pretty special group.”
Three players from the team would finish in the top 10 for the Hobey Baker Award in their careers: Drew LeBlanc won the honor in 2013, Nic Dowd was a top three finalist in 2014 and Ethan Prow was a top 10 finalist in 2016.
Three of the Huskies remain involved in the game in other capacities. Nick Oliver, who was a sophomore, recently completed his first season as an assistant coach for St. Cloud State. Cory Thorson, who was a junior, has been an assistant coach for St. John’s University. Brooks Bertsch, who was a sophomore, is a scout for the Los Angeles Kings.
Here is a look at where 14 players from that team played last season:
Joey Benik — An All-NCHC Second Team pick in 2016, Benik had 27 goals and 56 points in 48 regular season games playing for Lillehammer in Norway. It was his second full season in Norway after splitting his first pro season between the ECHL and AHL.
Jonny Brodzinski — An All-NCHC First Team pick in 2015, Brodzinski battled an injury and split time between the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings (three points in 13 games) and the AHL’s Ontario Reign (one goal in three games). He has spent four seasons in the Kings organization.
Tim Daly — A 2015 alternate captain as a defenseman, Daly had 12 goals and 46 points in 40 games playing for Rungsted Seier Capital in Denmark. It was his first season in Denmark after three seasons in the ECHL.
Nic Dowd — The NCHC Defensive Forward of the Year and Student-Athlete of the Year from 2014 had eight goals and 22 points in 64 games for the Washington Capitals in his third full season in the NHL. He has played pro hockey in North America for five seasons.
Ryan Faragher — A 2014 All-NCHC Second Team pick as a goalie, Faragher was 8-8-2 with a 3.16 goals-against average and .892 save percentage in 20 games for the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL and played two games for the AHL’s Stockton Heat (0-1-0, 4.07, .871). It was his fifth season splitting time between the ECHL and AHL.
Kevin Gravel — Gravel, a defenseman who played for Team USA in the 2012 World Junior Championships, split last season between the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers (three assists in 36 games) and the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors (one assist in five games). It was his fifth pro season in North America.
Ben Hanowski — The state of Minnesota’s all-time leader in points by a boys high school hockey player battled two injuries and 10 goals and 20 points in 31 regular season games with the Cologne Sharks in his fourth season in Germany.
Nick Jensen — The 2013 WCHA Defenseman of the Year was traded during the NHL season from the Detroit Red Wings to the Washington Capitals. With the two teams, he had two goals and 20 points in 80 games and it was his fourth season in the NHL and sixth pro season in North America.
Kalle Kossila — An All-NCHC Second Team pick in 2016, Kossila split time between the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks (one goal in eight games) and the AHL’s San Diego Gulls (14 goals, 35 points in 44 games) in his third full season with the Ducks organization.
Drew LeBlanc — The 2013 WCHA Player of the Year had 11 goals and 45 points in 52 games in his fourth season with the Augsburg Panthers in Germany. LeBlanc began his pro career with the Chicago Blackhawks (two games in 2012-13) and played two seasons for the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs before going to Augsburg.
Garrett Milan — Of this group, Milan gets the award for most well-traveled last season. He played 22 games for EV Lindau Islanders in Germany (six goals, 13 points), 17 games with the Pensacola (Fla.) Ice Flyers in the Southern Professional Hockey League (nine goals, 22 points) and 15 games with the Greenville (S.C.) Swamp Rabbits (two goals, three points) in the ECHL.
David Morley — Morley, who had 118 career points with the Huskies, had 11 goals and 31 points in 31 regular season games playing for the Stavanger Oilers in Norway. It was his third full season playing in Norway.
Ethan Prow — The 2016 NCHC Player of the Year/Defenseman of the Year/Offensive Defenseman of the Year played in the AHL All-Star Game and had 18 goals and 50 points for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. It was his third full season in the AHL.