Five highlights from around the country Saturday/Sunday:
1. Minnesota-Duluth, which comes to Grand Forks this weekend, got swept in Omaha in a Saturday-Sunday series. That makes for a five-game winless streak for the Bulldogs.
2. Austin Block scored two goals and New Hampshire continues to stake a claim as one of the nation’s best teams. The Wildcats are now 6-1-1 with a sweep of St. Cloud State to their credit.
3. In the surprising result of the night, Michigan State blasted Michigan 7-2. Matt Berry had a hat trick for the Spartans.
4. Erik Haula scored a game-tying goal with 6:29 left to allow Minnesota to grab 3 points in the series against Alaska Anchorage. Haula’s goal was the only one at even-strength for the Gophers, who tallied 5 power-play goals on the weekend.
5. Penn State earned the program’s most significant win to date, beating Air Force 5-1 (two empty-netters). Former Gopher Max Gardiner had three assists for the Nittany Lions.
WCHA top performers
4 points — William Rapuzzi, CC, 2 goals, 2 assists
3 points — Drew LeBlanc, SCSU, 2 goals, 1 assist
3 points — Joe Rehkamp, SCSU, 3 assists
3 points — Rylan Schwartz, CC, 3 assists
2 points — Chris Knowlton, DU, 2 goals
SCSU 5, UND 2
For a decade, UND didn’t win on Friday night in the National Hockey Center and won every Saturday night at the place. This time, that was flipped. One night after UND earned its first Friday win in the NHC since 1998, the Huskies earned a split with their first home Saturday win against UND since 2001. Game stories:
- A frame-by-frame look at Steph Pattyn’s early-game chance (which is in the lead of my story) shows that the puck actually did cross the goal line and should have counted. Not sure how much the video replay people were able to slow down the video for the referees, but they took a really long look at it. UND coach Dave Hakstol said after the game he didn’t think that was a factor.
- SCSU also caught a break on its first goal. A referee blew the play dead, though goalie Clarke Saunders clearly had not covered a loose puck. Saunders gave the ref a look after he blew it dead. Then, the Huskies scored right off the draw.
- Those plays illustrated that it just wasn’t UND’s night. It felt behind just after SCSU had a five-minute major power play and the Huskies tacked on one more power-play goal.
- UND had just one power play each night. I don’t remember a weekend where a team had just two power plays since I’ve been covering the league. UND went 1-for-2. Power play time on Saturday was 7:37 to :27.
- St. Cloud State’s bench was riled up after a sneaky move by Brendan O’Donnell to get more rest for his teammates after an icing call. O’Donnell purposely snapped his stick, so he could go to the bench and get a new one and waste time. The Huskies wanted a delay of game call and probably would have got one if the refs saw it.
- St. Cloud State showed on Saturday why it should be an NCAA tournament team. That’s a very good squad that will be adding Ben Hanowski and Joey Benik to the roster soon.
- Although he allowed five goals, Saunders still has very good numbers — a 1.98 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage.
- Dillon Simpson had a nice weekend for UND and was rewarded with a goal on Saturday night.
- St. Cloud State did a terrific job on faceoffs. UND usually is very dominant in that area, but was not this weekend. David Morley went a remarkable 11-1 on faceoffs for the Huskies, while Corban Knight was held to 7-17. UND lost the faceoff battle 35-22.
- Sweeps on the road in the WCHA are not easy, and the records show that. UND had only one road sweep last season and it was at Anchorage. The prior year, with UND’s exceptional 2010-11 team, they got sweeps at Bemidji, Madison, Mankato and Houghton. All teams finished in the bottom half. The last time UND swept a top-half WCHA team on the road? It was MSU-Mankato in 2007-08.