The top of the NCHC got a little bit tighter after Saturday’s games. Here is a quick rundown.
Omaha 1 North Dakota 5 Highlights
The North Dakota Fighting Hawks earned a split with a hard earned 5-1 victory in Grand Forks.
The Fighting Hawks went 2-for-3 on the power play and sophomore goaltender Cam Johnson stopped 28 shots in the match. Freshman Brock Boeser added a goal and an assist while senior Bryn Chyzyk had two assists in the third period to put the game away.
Junior Kirk Thompson took the loss for the Omaha Mavericks, dropping to 4-4-1 on the year. He allowed three goals on nine shots and was relieved by last night’s victor freshman Alex Blankenburg.
Omaha drew first blood on the power play when junior Jake Guentzel found sophomore Tyler Vesel on the back door to get the 1-0 lead.
In the waning seconds of the first period, senior Drake Caggiula made a nifty backhand to forehand move in front of the net to put it past a diving Thompson.
However, Caggiula would not see a lot of ice time after his goal. While killing a penalty in the second period, Caggiula delivered a big open-ice hit to freshman forward Steve Spinner. Caggiula finished his shift, but was clearly favoring his right side. I would assume it is a shoulder injury, but Fighting Hawks coach Brad Berry wouldn’t disclose the injury.
The Fighting Hawks only managed 23 shots on goal in the victory and Omaha went 1-for-6 on the power play. Omaha’s junior forward Justin Parizek was suspended for the game after a hitting a North Dakota player in the head in Friday’s game.
St. Cloud 1 Minnesota Duluth 1 Highlights
Junior Charlie Lindgren made 38 saves for the St. Cloud State Huskies and senior Joey Benik scored his 13 goal of the season his 100th point of his career.
Minnesota Duluth junior Dominic Toninato scored an end-to-end highlight reel goal for his eighth of the season. Sophomore goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 21 shots to earn the tie.
The Bulldogs applied a lot of pressure all game, really utilizing the team’s speed and keep the Huskies’ defense on its heels. Sophomore Karson Kuhlman had seven shots on goal and created a few great chances.
Lindgren was up to the challenge. His save percentage increases to .931 on the season and has a stellar 1.91 goals against average.
Sophomore Patrick Russell scored in the 3×3 overtime for the extra conference point.
At this moment, St. Cloud State sits on the top of the NCHC standings with 32 points. North Dakota is in slightly better position at 30 points but has two games in hand. These teams do not play each other the rest of the season so that makes the race for the Penrose Cup even more tantalizing.
The only other team over .500 in conference play is the Denver Pioneers who are sitting at 6-4-2 and has 20 points. Games in hand are always a tricky to forecast. They look good on first glance due to the potential points gained, but unless those games are victories they mean nothing.
Games won’t even out until the weekend of January 29th, when St. Cloud plays in the North Star College Cup and Duluth, which also has 14 games played so far, plays a non-conference game against Northern Michigan. Once that date passes, we can have a clearer projection on the standings.
- As you can tell by the highlights, the first period of the Omaha-North Dakota on NCHC.tv had the FCS feed. I’m happy this was changed back to the Midco feed for the second period. The resolution was much better once the change was made.
- St. Cloud, North Dakota, and Omaha are all 1-1 against each other.
- Miami beat Bowling Green 2-1 on a goal with two seconds left from junior Anthony Louis.
- Boston University and Boston College tied 1-1 last night. Eagles coach Jerry York still sits at 999 wins for his career.
- It’s becoming increasingly likely that the WCHA will only have one representative in the NCAA tournament. League leading Minnesota State is t19 and second place Michigan Tech sits t21. Bowling Green is also t24.