Five Thoughts: Conference Races Heat Up

Short blog tonight. Everyone please subscribe to the Huskies Hockey Podcast where @SCSUTravelinFan and I talk all things involving St. Cloud State and a smattering of other things in college hockey. We record once a week during the season (usually on Wednesdays). I’ll also put a link on the blog.

  1. With North Dakota Able to Take NCHC Stranglehold, Instead Strangle Their Necks

For the first time this season, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks suffers back-to-back losses against the Denver Pioneers by scores of 6-4 and 4-1.

It was an uncharacteristic defensive effort from the Fighting Hawks, who allowed 10 goals on the weekend. They have allowed one or fewer goals in 17 games this season. However, the Pioneers were able to move the puck into key scoring areas and capitalized on them, making it a long weekend for North Dakota goaltender Cam Johnson.

Junior Trevor Moore had a monster weekend, scoring two goals assisting on five other goals.

  1. Omaha Gets Revenge, Takes Two from Western Michigan

Earlier this season, the Omaha Mavericks were an undefeated 6-0 before crashing down to earth and getting swept in Kalamazoo. This weekend held a different fate for the Western Michigan Broncos.

The Mavericks took the sweep 2-1 and 6-3 in Omaha to gain a little bit of revenge. Sophomore Tyler Vesel was the man of the weekend, opening the scoring shorthanded in Friday’s game and adding another two goals and an assist on Saturday’s penalty filled affair. A total of 17 penalties were called during the game.

With the sweep, Omaha has vaulted to a tie with Minnesota Duluth for the fourth and final home playoff spot.

  1. Minnesota Takes Slim Big Ten Lead

The Minnesota Golden Gophers were able to sweep the Ohio State Buckeyes, but it wasn’t without a flair for the dramatic.

The Friday see-saw battle was 4-3 in the waning seconds of the game when Buckeye forward Matthew Weis scored his seventh of the year in the nick of time with .1 seconds left to send it into overtime.

The victory was short lived and Gopher leading scorer Justin Kloos netted the game winner at the 3:25 mark.

Saturday’s game was also a nail-biter, but for a different reason. The Gophers took a 4-1 lead into the second intermission, but the Buckeyes cut the score to 4-3 midway through the third. However, the Gophers defense would stand tall and were able to hold on for the victory.

The Michigan Wolverines beat and tied the Wisconsin Badgers over the weekend. The Maize and Blue did end up winning the a shootout for the extra conference point, but leaving the win on the table vaulted Minnesota to the top of the conference standings with only six games to go.

  1. WCHA leading Minnesota State Manages Two Ties Against Cellar Dweller Alabama-Huntsville

The surprise of the weekend came south of the Mason-Dixon line, as the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers were able to tie the conference leading Minnesota State Mavericks by scores of 3-3 and 1-1.

Now, ties are extremely common in the WCHA, but Chargers have actually had fairly good goaltending for a team with a record as bad as they have. Junior Matt Larose has a .931 save percentage on the season and got the nod in both games. He was clearly enough to frustrate the Maverick shooters.

Minnesota State currently sits atop of the WCHA with a four-point lead over second place Michigan Tech and Bowling Green.

The Mavericks are off this week, so both Michigan Tech and Bowling Green can make up those four points and give the Mavericks a run for its money.

  1. Quinnipiac Finally Falters

We knew the Quinnipiac Bobcats haven’t been playing a quite the level of hockey as they were at the beginning of the season. They have been playing from behind quite a bit and have flirted with disaster since the turn of the calendar. This time, St. Lawrence caught them.

Senior Brian Ward scored his eighth of the year on the first shot in overtime to beat the Bobcats 4-3.

Quinnipiac moves to 22-2-6 on the season (following the Saturday win against Clarkson), which I guess is pretty okay. However, they have been tying quite a bit. They are 5-1-4 in the past 10 games and haven’t gotten much help from senior goaltender Michael Garteig. He has only a .894 save percentage in since the second Princeton game. I don’t expect those numbers to keep up, but it sure is of note.

For a quick blog, this is verbose. Podcast tomorrow. Preview Thursday. Week is already flying by! My shift is over.

 

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Tough Keeping Bobcats Down; Full NCHC Slate

It’s an interesting weekend in college hockey. I don’t really see any games that really jump out and say “marquee matchup”. Don’t take this the wrong way; plenty of good games are to be had this weekend. Harvard against Cornell should be a good game. The Minnesota-Wisconsin border battle is always intriguing. But as far at the top teams, many are playing in ho-hum games.

These types of weekends are my favorite. With so many top teams playing middle of the road teams, upsets are bound to happen. It’s your typical trap weekend and I can’t wait to see which teams avoid it.

First, let’s talk about the big game that just wrapped up.

Rensselaer 2 Quinnipiac 2 OT

The Bobcats keep refusing to lose.

Junior Sam Anas scored the game-tying goal with just nine seconds remaining in regulation for salvage a tie for the top-ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats.

The Rensselaer Engineers senior goaltender made 46 saves in the tie, including 17 in the second period alone.

The Engineers drew first blood late in second period when senior forward Zach Schroeder scored his third of the season. Minnesota Wild draft pick Lou Nanne got the assist, which was his 11th on the season.

The lead extended to two when senior Mark Miller scored his fifth of the season at the 5:06 mark of the third period.

The two-goal lead didn’t last long as senior Soren Jonzzon scored his fourth of the season just 31 seconds later. That set the stage for Anas.

While no team enjoys being down by two, it doesn’t seem to bother the Bobcats.

They have faced a two-goal or more deficit in seven games this season and have only lost one of them. If your team plays them in the NCAA tournament, I’m sorry.

There is a full slate of games in the NCHC this weekend. I predict a lot of movement in the middle of the standings

The most intriguing series in the conference will be taking place in Magness Arena as the Denver Pioneers host the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs.

The Pioneers, ranked 14th in the Pairwise, haven’t lost a conference game to a team that isn’t North Dakota or St. Cloud State, who are leading the conference. They are coming off a win and a tie against the Western Michigan Broncos.

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, lost and tied St. Cloud State last weekend and are really trying to get the offense firing on all cylinders. Despite the struggles, things aren’t all that bleak for UMD as they are currently 17th in the Pairwise.

One-Timers:

  • The Colorado College Tigers stunned St. Cloud State with a 5-2 victory on Saturday. They will look to continue the good play at North Dakota, who split last weekend against Omaha.
  • Cloud State hosts Western Michigan in a sort of redemption series for the Broncos. The Huskies decimated the Broncos by a combined 16-3 in the series earlier this year. St. Cloud leads the series all time at 5-3-2, but all three losses came at home. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Broncos win a game this weekend.
  • In the CBS Sports series, the Miami Redhawks travel to newly built Baxter Arena in Omaha for a showdown against the Mavericks. Omaha is on a bit of a slide lately, going 1-3 in its last four.

I’m thinking there will be some upsets this weekend. My shift is over.

 

 

Friday Recap: Vesey’s Hatty, NCHC Showdowns

Vesey takes over and some movement in the NCHC standings. Friday’s games had a lot to offer.

St. Lawrence 2 Harvard 3

Senior Jimmy Vesey strengthened his Hobey Baker credentials with a natural Hat Trick in the third period as the Harvard Crimson pulled away from the St. Lawrence Saints.

Vesey showed tremendous poise on all three goals. As one of the most dangerous scorers when you leave him in open ice (especially in the slot), Vesey has 26 points in just 15 games, averaging 1.73 points per game. That is good for second in the nation in points per game, behind sophomore Andrew Poturalski from New Hampshire has 37 points in 21 games.

One thing that would hurt Poturalski’s chances is the team that he plays on. Hobey Baker voters tend to shy away for voting for players on mediocre teams. Currently, New Hampshire sits at 8-9-4 and eighth in Hockey East.

Is it right? Not at all. Is it how Hobey Baker voters trend? History would lend us to believe so. I’ll go into my Hobey Baker award thoughts (and changes that should be made) when the 10 finalists are announced.

St. Cloud State 3 Minnesota Duluth 1 Highlights

Senior Kalle Kossila notched a goal and an assist and junior goaltender Charlie Lindgren made 28 saves. Kossila’s game-winning goal came on the power play as his shot in the slot beat fellow Finn sophomore Kasimir Kaskisuo.

The referees really got into the game as a total of 11 penalties were called. Bulldog fans were not happy about the interference call on freshman Neal Pionk behind the play that likely cost a goal that would have evened the game at two.

Sophomore Blake Winiecki got the insurance goal on a bad angle shot.

I was really impressed with Minnesota Duluth’s speed and forecheck. They create a lot of turnovers in the offensive end and are able to create a lot of chances. The Huskies really need to work on supporting teammates when they break out. Look for that change in tonight’s rematch.

Junior Kyle Osterburg didn’t play in the third period with an undisclosed injury and will be doubtful for tonight’s game.

Omaha 4 North Dakota 3 OT Highlights

Junior Austin Ortega was the hero again for the Omaha as the Mavericks with in overtime at Ralph Englestad arena.

Ortega roofed his seventh game-winning goal of the season and freshman Alex Blankenburg made 26 saves in his debut.

While “California Hot Sauce” got the game winner, junior Jake Guentzel was the star of the game. He factored in every goal for Omaha with one goal and three assists.

There was a lot of eyebrows raised when Omaha coach Dean Blais pulled a Blais and started Blankenburg instead of junior Kirk Thompson, who has played in 10 games his season.

The gamble paid off, but what does this mean going forward for the Mavericks? Freshman Evan Weninger is having a great season but is currently injured. Will Blais rotate all three? Will just the freshman rotate? Knowing Blais, it could be any, all, or a third option that I don’t know about.

With two games in hand, the St. Cloud State Huskies jumped to the top of the NCHC standings.

One-timers:

  • I really like the NCHC.tv deal. I have mostly had good experiences with the stream. Really excited to see Minnesota Duluth make the jump to HD. But having ads before highlights when you already pay for the service is pretty bad.
  • Ohio State has quietly been on a good stretch, now unbeaten in its last five games.

I’ll be back tomorrow with recaps of Saturday’s games. My shift is over.

Five Thoughts: Tigers Goalie Finds His Roar

College hockey surprises were out in full force last weekend, but the top team in the land still stays hot. Here are my five thoughts.

  1. Colorado College Stuns Saint Cloud State, Tiger goalie Jacob Nehama stops 81

You have to hand it to Jacob Nehama. The freshman goaltender had a very active weekend but stood tall to earn the split in Saint Cloud.

Friday’s game started almost got ugly very quickly for the Tigers as the Huskies scored two shortly after the 12-minute mark of the first period. But then Nehama took over. Sure, he didn’t get the win Friday as the Tigers fell 2-1, but Nehama stifled the relentless Husky attack and his squad held the potent Husky power play to 0-for-5 on the night.

Saturday night was all Nehama as he stopped 47 or 49 shots, including 19 of 20 in the third period to beat the Huskies 5-2. Junior Sam Rothstein pitched in a goal and an assist.

Quietly, the Tigers have really turned it around. After starting an atrocious 0-13 on the season, the Tigers have won a respectable five out of the last nine. This team is has 13 freshman and have looked to have turned the corner. This team played very tough along the boards all weekend and won a lot of battles. They will only continue to get better as the season continues.

  1. Quinnipiac Still Firing On All Cylinders

Not a lot has rattled the Quinnipiac Bobcats this season. The top squad in the Pairwise rattled off a total of 10 goals in a 5-0 against Union and a 5-4 OT win against Harvard.

I went a little bit more in depth in last Thursday’s blog, so I’ll talk more about the game against Harvard at Madison Square Garden. The Bobcats took a 4-0 lead into the first intermission, including a 12th from senior Travis St. Denis and number 13 from junior Sam Anas. The Bobcats scored three in a span of 36 seconds and added a fourth later in the period.

However, the Crimson clawed back into the game answering with three goals of in the second and added another in the third to force the game into overtime.

The Bobcats hero would end up being junior defenseman Derek Smith who scored his third goal of the season to give the Bobcats the win.

This team shows no sign of slowing down. They currently sit at 19-1-3. They have won tight games, blowouts, given up leads and battled back, seemly every way possible. A couple of good tests remain on the schedule, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they enter the ECAC tournament with only one loss.

  1. Harvard Drop Two Versus Strong Competition

On the flip side of the showdown at MSG, the Harvard Crimson had a tough weekend against premier competition. The losses to Boston University and Quinnipiac dropped Harvard to fourth in the Pairwise.

While that doesn’t sound like much of a drop, losses for Ivy League schools are always magnified due to the fewer games they play. For instance, Harvard will only play 29 games this year, one of the least in college hockey.

Harvard gave up 11 goals on the weekend, which is very uncharacteristic of them. Harvard only gives up an average of 2.23 goals per game, but has shown shakiness in net.

  1. Denver Rebounds With Weekend Sweep of Omaha

Omaha suffered its first home loss of the season (and first in its brand new arena) in 3-0 and 4-3 decisions to the Denver Pioneers, but those two games weren’t the biggest loss for the Mavericks.

Freshman goalie Evan Weninger, who has had a terrific season between the pipes for the Mavericks, suffered an ankle sprain in the first period of Friday’s game and will not make the trip to North Dakota this weekend. He has been a huge part of the Mavericks success this season.

Junior Kirk Thompson will in all likelihood get the nod against the Fighting Hawks, and his .889 save percentage doesn’t exactly stem confidence.

  1. Minnesota Scores Three Shorthanded in Rout of Penn State

Minnesota and Penn State split their Big Ten battle. Penn State got out to a 2-0 lead in the second period of Friday’s game only to give up two in the third. Freshman defenseman Vince Pedrie scored his fourth of the season in overtime to get the victory.

The Golden Gophers answered back in force on Saturday afternoon, putting up seven on the Nittany Lions and cruising to an easy 7-1 victory. Junior Hudson Fasching scored two goals; both shorthanded, and junior Justin Kloos added a shorthanded goal and three assists to pick up the victory.

According to the official Golden Gopher men’s hockey twitter account, the last time the team tallied three shorthanded goals was an 8-2 victory against Michigan in 2006.  It’s actually pretty impressive it was that recently.

I remember one time I had former Minnesota State Maverick Zach Harrison on my bench in a fantasy hockey league and he scored a shorthanded hat trick.  Let’s just say it would have been worth a lot of points if I would have started him. No wonder I don’t play fantasy sports anymore.

One-Timer:

There are rumblings that Amanda Kessel, sniper for the Minnesota women’s hockey team, has been skating with the Gophers and may return for her last semester of eligibility. The Olympic silver-medalist and Patty Kazmaier award winner has been battling concussion symptoms since the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

That’s it for me. I’ll update everyone Thursday. My shift is over.

Weekend Preview: Buckle Up; Sprint to the Finish Starts Now

College hockey is back in full force. Plenty of top-tier teams face-off and we may see a little Pairwise shuffling after this weekend. Sounds like the perfect way to jump-start the second half of the season. Here is my weekend preview.

First off, since this blog is going up Thursday night, I’ll dip my toe into some major games that just concluded.

Boston University 6 Harvard 5

In a game that really lived up to it’s billing, the Terriers score three goals in the final 3:58 to give Harvard its second loss of the season.

Seniors Danny O’Regan scored three goals and Ahti Oksanen added the game winner with only 1:49 left to top Jimmy Vesey and the Crimson. Jimmy Vesey has 10 goals and 12 assists in just 13 games on the season.

The loss drops Harvard to fifth in the Pairwise.

Harvard has a very tough weekend that started with tonight against Boston University. After tonight, Harvard plays the Quinnipiac Bobcats at Madison Square Garden in a rematch from November 13th, there the Crimson suffered its only loss of the season.

Over the next few games, we are going to really see what type of team Harvard is. After Quinnipiac, Harvard hosts St. Lawrence and Clarkson, before playing at Colgate and at Cornell. That isn’t an easy stretch of games. Harvard will have a huge crimson target on its back.

Union 0 Quinnipiac 5

Quinnipiac had no trouble picking apart Union with help from senior Travis St. Denis’ two goals and an assist. The Bobcats went 2-for-4 on the power play.

Quinnipiac still has only one loss on the season, a 4-1 decision to Boston University.

The Quinnipiac and Harvard meeting on Saturday is a game I wish would be broadcast on a national stage. These two teams play an exciting brand of hockey and feature some of the top players in the game.

Quinnipiac is loaded with scoring talent. Juniors Sam Anas, Tim Clifton, and St. Denis are all averaging over a point per game. The Bobcats come at you in waves and they never let up just as tonight shows you.

Union is an intriguing team. The Dutchman had a terrible stretch where they went 1-6-1 in eight games, but followed that up with a 6-0-1 stretch until tonight’s loss to Quinnipiac. Union has winnable games against Princeton and Colgate before a battle against Cornell. Look for them to be a bubble team the rest of the season.

Heading west, the big tilt in the NCHC involves the Omaha Mavericks hosting the Denver Pioneers.

The Pioneers have lost the last four conference games and have not looked good in any of them, being outscored a combined 20-5 against North Dakota and Saint Cloud State. They hosted Notre Dame and the series ended in two ties.

Denver has been in a scoring black hole, as only three players have five goals and that is the most on the team. If Denver looks to make a good run in the second half of the season, they need a lot more from junior Trevor Moore and senior Quentin Shore only have a combined seven goals.

The Pioneers have a tall task at hand playing a series at Baxter Arena in Omaha, where the Mavericks are a perfect 8-0 in their own barn. Junior Austin Ortega is second in the nation in goals with 16. Junior Jake Guentzel, the Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick, leads the team with 26 points and has 99 on his career.

Sophomore Avery Peterson, who had a great freshman season with 21 points, had only one assist so far this season and has transferred to Minnesota Duluth to be closer to his family.

The Big Ten conference has one really intriguing series with Minnesota traveling to Happy Valley to take on Penn State.

The Penn State Nittany Lions are an impressive 12-3-3 on the season, but many of those games have been against fairly poor competition. This game will be a good test to see what we can expect from Penn State as we enter Big Ten conference play.

The Golden Gophers are a team that really likes to control the pace. For the most part, the Nittany Lions have imposed their will on lesser quality teams like American International and Sacred Heart. I expect to see a high scoring series and one that will have Hockey Valley rocking.

That does it for me. I’ll have my five thoughts and what I imagine is a very different Pairwise ranking. My shift is over.

 

Five Thoughts: Surprises and Status Quo

With 59 teams hitting the ice this weekend, there were plenty of interesting results. Some teams kept the status quo; other teams hit a major setback. Here are my five thoughts.

  1. Colorado College followed up its first win of the season with a sweep of Miami.

It has already felt like a long season already for the Colorado College Tigers. They have been shutout five times already this and went a whole series without a goal. The clear underdogs against Miami University was able to put aside scoring woes and sweep the Redhawks by scores of 2-1 and 3-2.

The weekend belonged to Hunter Fejes. The senior from Anchorage scored both goals in the 2-1 victory in Friday’s tilt and the game winner with just 1:13 left to go in Saturday’s game.

The Tigers have a chance to put a little winning streak before the winter break. The next two series for the Tigers are against Western Michigan (4-10-1) and Alabama-Huntsville (3-9-2) aren’t exactly lighting the ice on fire. If the Tigers can get some wins under its belt, they could have a lot of confidence going into the series at St. Cloud State.

  1. Quietly, Penn State is off to a terrific season.

It’s not getting a lot of press, but I think the biggest story that isn’t being talked about is how well the Penn State Nittany Lions are off to a blistering 10-2-3 start.

They rank 14th in team defense, giving up only 2.23 goals per game and fourth in team offense with 4.20 goals per game. Not bad considering a team that is only four years old.

The knee jerk reaction to the Nittany Lions’ rise would be the lack of quality opponents on the schedule. While that is probably the reason why they aren’t getting a lot of love from the media, it should be noted that they aren’t exactly squeaking out victories.

American International and Sacred Heart don’t exactly strike fear into the heart of many opposing fanbases, but Penn State beat those teams by scores of 8-3 and 8-2.

The Big Ten started conference play last weekend and Penn State had no problem dispatching Michigan State by scores of 4-2 and 6-1. Penn State’s losses came against St. Lawrence (currently sits at 9-4-2) and Notre Dame (8-4-4).

We all know the Big Ten isn’t exactly ripe with top teams at the moment, so a championship and birth to a NCAA tournament isn’t out of the question.

  1. Omaha’s weekend went from bad to terrible to good in a span of 36 hours.

The Omaha Mavericks lost last Friday’s game against the St. Cloud State Huskies in a rather non-descript 4-1 fashion. The Huskies controlled the play in many parts of the game. While Omaha held a slight edge in shots, many of them were from outside of home plate and didn’t get many quality chances.

Then news came down for Saturday that top offensive threat Austin Ortega came down with an allergic reaction to a cookie and wasn’t able to play the rematch. Also, Jake Guentzel also went down with about about five minutes left in the first period and didn’t return.

So what does Omaha do with its top two scorers out? Just put up seven goals from seven different goal scorers against one of the best defenses in the country.

The split in this series was easily seen by nearly everyone that could make a prediction, but if you had told me that Omaha would have won because of the depth I would have told you how you have no business predicting hockey.

  1. The Huskies lost more than just Saturday’s game.

The most improved player on the Huskies so far this season has been sophomore Judd Peterson. The Buffalo draft pick leads the team with 10 goals this season.

During the second period in Friday’s game, Peterson was crashing the net and got his legs tangled with the Omaha defenseman. His speed caused him to crash into the boards hard. He was helped off the ice by a trainer for what looked like a shoulder injury.

Coach Bob Motzko said that Peterson would at miss at least the next series at Denver.

Peterson plays in all situations, but especially on the penalty kill. In his absence, that meant that other players would have to fill that role. Omaha capitalized and went 3-for-5 on the power play on Saturday.

It’s important to note how bad St. Cloud’s penalty kill has been. So far this year, the Huskies are second to last in the nation, with only Dartmouth being worse. Now that Peterson is out, arguably the top penalty killing forward, it could get a lot worse. No doubt Motzko will put a lot of work into the PK units this week in practice.

  1. The top teams keep refusing to lose.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember a time where we have had this many dominating teams with so few losses this late into the season. Quinnipiac and Providence are still undefeated (compared to zero last year). Eleven teams this year have lost three or fewer times (compared to eight last year).

It’s quite remarkable to see so many top year teams this late into the season. The talent pool has never been deeper. Do yourself a favor and go see one of these teams.

Stick tap to all college hockey fans around the nation for the #FromTopShelfToFoodShelf campaign. About $2,548 and 311 food items were donated from fans just like you and me. I’m sad David Morley didn’t reach 100 points, but my donation was still $40 from the UNO/SCSU series. Special thanks goes to Donna Carpenter for organizing this every year. Please think about participating next year!

Winter Break is approaching for many teams, but still valuable points on the line coming up. My shift is over.

Five Thoughts: Explosions for SCSU/UND,Elusive Goals for UMD

While some teams had an explosive offensive weekend, other teams are having trouble just finding the net. Here are my five thoughts.

  1. I haven’t check recently, but I think the Huskies just scored again.

Saint Cloud State had no trouble finding the back of the net against Western Michigan, with victories of 5-2 and 11-1.

Senior Joey Benik exploded on Saturday with four goals and one assist. Captain Ethan Prow, who was out the last two series with a concussion, added one goal and two assists. A total of nine Huskies had a multi-point game.

Friday’s game was a much closer affair than the score indicates. The game was tied at one going into the third when the Broncos defenseman Scott Moldenhauer took a 5-minute boarding penalty. Benik capitalized on the power play and Jimmy Murray scored shortly after the major ended to make the score 3-1, a lead the Huskies would not relinquish as they added two more empty net goals.

One big concern for the Huskies the past few series had to do with the power play. Prior to this weekend, they were only had three power play goals on the season and was converting at a twelve percent rate. On the weekend, the Huskies went 5-for-12 on the power play. One big reason was getting Prow back on the ice. Saint Cloud didn’t score a power play goal when he was injured. No question his return was the reason for the spike in production.

Every season has games you’d dump in the garbage, and this game was it for both teams. The Broncos need to forget Saturday ever existed. They played very well defensively against Miami the week before and aren’t normally a bad team, just ask Omaha. I expect a much better output when the Broncos take the ice next. On the other hand, the Huskies need to forget about this game with a huge series against North Dakota looming, you can’t think about prior games. I’ll have a much larger preview Thursday on the big series.

  1. Minnesota Duluth offense with less power than Amsoil Arena.

As the Bulldogs were picked to finish at the conference because of the offense they have returning, but those players have had a rough go at it so far. The Denver Pioneers limited the Bulldogs to only one goal on the weekend, which came in the 1-1 tie. Denver took Friday’s game 3-0 as Evan Cowley got the shutout.

The Bulldogs lone goal came from Tony Cameranesi, who leads the team with nine points. No player has more than one conference goal on the season.

Not much has gone right for the Bulldogs, who currently sit at 3-5-3 on the season and winless in the last five and one win their last eight. They are also averaging an abysmal 2.17 goals per game, good for 48th in the nation. Players like Alex Iafallo and Dominic Toninato need to step up in a big way. One goal on 46 shots on Saturday isn’t going to get it done in any league.

Luckly, the Bulldogs play Colorado College next, so I can’t imagine only one goal will be scored that weekend.

Denver found offense from freshman Jarid Lukosevicius, who scored two power play goals Friday. The Pioneers got great contributions from depth players, as the Bulldogs were able to keep Will Butcher, Trevor Moore and Danton Heinen mostly in check as they only combined for two assists on the weekend.

Denver has been rotating goalies all season and did during this season. Tanner jalliet was very busy Saturday, stopping 45 of 46 shots.

In the first three-on-three overtime in the NCHC, Minnesota Duluth scored to take the extra point.

  1. North Dakota rebounds after Wisconsin split to sweep Miami.

Sophomore Nick Schmaltz scored his first two goals of the season and added four assists in the weekend’s 6-2 and 4-3 in overtime victories.

The scoring got started quickly for North Dakota as Paul LaDue and Brock Boeser both scored just 3:46 into the game. North Dakota was up 5-0 after two and was able to cruise to a victory. Boeser has been on a tear this season, scoring seven goals and five assists.

Saturday’s game was a seesaw affair. Miami had leads of 2-1 and 3-2 late in the game. Schmaltz tied the game with the extra attacker at the 18:26 mark. Luke Johnson notched the game winner just 1:23 to get the sweep.

Miami had strong games from Josh Melnick, Jack Roslovic, and Louie Belpedio, both had two points in Saturday’s affair, but the team only managed to put 14 shots toward North Dakota goalie Matt Hrynkiw.

North Dakota’s tandem of Schmaltz and Drake Caggiula both have 13 points on the season and are a combined +31. Hrynkiw got both wins and improves to 8-1-1 on the season.

  1. Quinnipiac improves to 11-0, makes hockey look easy.

The Bobcats continue to roll over any challenges as they beat Harvard 4-1, Dartmouth 6-2, and tonight they are victorious over Connecticut 6-2.

Connecticut jumped off to a 2-0 in the first period, but Bobcat junior Sam Anas scored the next two goals to erase the deficit. Quinnipiac would score the next four to cruise.

Travis St. Denis, Tim Clifton, and Anas all have eight goals already this season for the top scoring offense in the nation.

  1. WCHA splits all three series.

The battle for the WCHA keeps being a tightly contested affair as Bowling Green/Michigan Tech, Alaska/Bemidji State, and Ferris State/Alaska Anchorage all split.

Michigan Tech leads the WCHA with 12 points, but all ten games this season have come against WCHA opponents. That makes them very vulnerable later in the season. Minnesota State sits in second with 10 points, but has played four less games. Minnesota State plays Northern Michigan in a big WCHA match-up next weekend, as Northern Michigan has seven points in just six conference games.

Like I said earlier, I’ll have a preview on Thursday of the North Dakota/Saint Cloud State series. Have a great day. My shift is over.