Former Saint Cloud State University Husky Star Ryan Lasch who played at SCSU from 2006-10 agreed to answer a few questions of mine as part of a where are they now feature. Lasch is currently playing in Finland with the Lahti Pelicans of the SM-liiga. Lasch is also currently the leading scorer of the Pelicans and tied for fifth in the league for scoring as well.
Q: What influenced your decision to attend SCSU? Where there any other schools or major junior hockey teams that were recruiting you?
Ryan: It came down to Northeastern and St. Cloud. And what influenced me the most was when I took the visit to St.Cloud. Right away I was hooked with the atmosphere and direction Coach Motzko wanted to take this program. Other factors were that St. Cloud played in the WCHA, which I consider the best conference in college hockey and we played out west so it was much closer to home and easier for my parents to come watch me play Q: Being from Lake Forest, CA, how did you end up playing hockey? My dad used to speed-skate for fun when he was younger, so one day he just took me to a local rink when I was 3 years old. Hockey wasn’t that popular in California at that time, but it was something I loved doing and never considered anything else.
Q: How did you end up choosing college hockey?
Ryan: I’ve always watched college hockey growing up on T.V. and thought it would fit my style of play and it was important for my family and I to get that college degree. I felt playing college hockey for 4 years I was able to better develop as a hockey player, but also mature as a person. College hockey worked out well for me and I’m happy with the path I took.
Q: What was your most exciting memory at SCSU?
Ryan: The most exciting memory at SCSU right away that comes to mind was beating Northern Michigan in OT at the West regional to get our first ever NCAA tournament victory in school history. It’s something you can always look back on being a part of. It was big step in the right direction for the hockey program at St. Cloud.
Q: Which team did you enjoy playing the most while you were a member of the SCSU Huskies?
Ryan: The team I enjoyed playing the most was the Minnesota Gophers. They were an hour away from us right down the I-94 and considered our big rival. I think we played them 4 times a year. Every game was a packed house. I know when the schedule came out every year the first thing I would look for was when we were playing the Gophers. The games were always exciting and our fans were crazy!
Q: Which team did you consider your most hated/heated rival as a member of the Huskies? Why?
Ryan: The most heated rival while being part of the Huskies was when we played the North Dakota Sioux. It was a physical game every time we played them a lot more hitting and talking back in forth than normal. It felt like both teams hated each other on the ice more than any other team we played in the league.
Q: Who was the hardest team(s) to play against in college hockey, WCHA?
Ryan: I don’t know if it was the hardest team to play against, but they weren’t fun to play against and that was Denver. They played more of a defensive game and sat back and waited for your mistakes. Especially when they were at home it felt like every time we played them it was a low scoring game.
Q: What was your favorite opposition logo?
My favorite logo had to be Wisconsin. I like the badger logo, but the big W on the front of their jersey and colors were sweet.
Q: What was your favorite road trip in the WCHA or college hockey?
Ryan: My favorite road trip would have to be Denver. I just think the city is awesome and our Thursday team dinner would always be at the Denver Chophouse across the street from Coors Field where the Rockies play.
Q: What was your favorite arena in the WCHA to play in?
Ryan: I actually have two arenas that I liked to play in. They were Wisconsin and North Dakota. Those rinks had great energy in them every night. It was exciting to play in front and I look forward to it every year.
Q: What was it like to play on a line with Garret Roe?
Ryan: It was really fun to play alongside Roe. Roe is such a creative player who is always working hit butt off all over the ice to win the one on one battles and loose pucks. Every time he was on the ice he was a threat to score or make something happen.
Q: As a fan of another WCHA team; when our team played the Huskies it seemed like Roe and Lasch were always on the ice together.
Ryan: Roe and I worked together on the Power play a lot through our husky career. Him being a left shot and me a right shot we complemented each other very well. We were able to have multiple plays from both sides that we could use and it ended up being really effective for us.
Q: You were on the first SCSU team in the history of your program to win an NCAA game; did you guys talk about the streak?
Ryan: We were all aware of the streak going into the NCAA tournament every year. But it was nothing that was ever brought up in the lock room. All that matter to us was how we would go out and play as a team. This streak started way back when so we felt like it was nothing to serious that we had to worry about.
Q: How did you end up playing hockey in Finland?
Ryan: After the season Last year I had a few offers. One was to stay in Sweden and play the other option was to come back to America and then this offer came from Finland. Playing with a few Finnish guys last year I knew about the league and knew it was a tough league very similar to the North American style of hockey. I also that a few college players came to this league after their college careers and have done well like Tim Stapleton, Brian Rafalski, Tim Thomas, and Lee Sweat.
Q: I noticed that you’re currently the top scorer on your team the Lahti Pelicans.
Ryan: I have got off to a great start thus far and we have a really good team that sits in first place right now. I’m just really happy with the opportunity that they have provided me over here. Hopefully this team success can continue and the rest will come into place.
Q: Looking at the roster of your team it appears that you are one of the few players that aren’t from Sweden or Finland; is there a language barrier on your team?
Ryan: There really isn’t a language barrier on the team. For the most part everyone can speak English pretty well. When the coaches talk it was mostly in Swedish or Finnish, but you always had someone on the team right next to you translating the important information.
Q: Were you drafted by an NHL team?
Ryan: I was never drafted, but I don’t look at that as a negative thing. It just made me want it that much more and work harder to get where I want to be. Q: Do you think someday you will get a chance to play in the NHL? Is that a personal goal? I hope one day I will be able to have that chance. It’s for sure a personal goal of mine. Something I’ve worked hard for my whole life and will continue to do until I get that chance. The best I can do is wake up every day and give it my 100% and hope someone takes notice. Until then I just have to keep playing my style of hockey and prove people wrong.