Five highlights from around the country:
1. DU goalie Juho Olkinuora had 38 saves, an elbowing minor and a fighting major in Denver’s 6-5 win over Colorado College. Rylan Schwartz also received a game disqualification for contact to the head at the 20:00 mark of the third period. Schwartz scored twice in the game.
2. Minnesota was held scoreless on two five-minute major power plays and Wisconsin finished the game without two of its top players — Joseph LaBate and Tyler Barnes. But the Badgers managed a 2-2 tie against the Gophers in Mariucci Arena. Nick Bjugstad looked good in the part of the game I saw, but the preseason player of the year only has 3 points in 7 league games to start the season. Erik Haula has 10.
3. UND will face a hot opponent next week in Notre Dame. The Irish finished off their first sweep of Michigan in Yost Arena since 1978 with a 4-1 win. Freshman forward Mario Lucia scored his first college goal in Friday. Michigan dropped to 4-6-1 overall and 2-5-1 in CCHA play.
4. Star defenseman Danny DeKeyser was back in the lineup for Western Michigan, but it didn’t help much as the Broncos got thumped 6-1 by Alaska in Fairbanks. Alaska improved to 6-3-2 on the season. A good year by the Nanooks will benefit UND in the RPI.
5. Bemidji State built a 4-1 lead but gave up four consecutive goals and lost to Michigan Tech 5-4 in the Sanford Center. Tech’s much heralded recruit Jujhar Khaira scored back-to-back power-play goals to tie the game — his first two of the season — and Alex Petan won it in OT.
WCHA top performers
3 points — Jujhar Khaira, Michigan Tech, 2 goals, 1 assist
3 points — Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College, 2 goals, 1 assist
3 points — Alex Petan, Michigan Tech, 1 goal, 2 assists
3 points — David Johnstone, Michigan Tech, 3 assists
3 points — William Rapuzzi, Colorado College, 3 assists
2 points — Danny Kristo, UND, 2 goals
2 points — Austin Farley, Duluth, 2 goals
2 points — Michael Mersch, Wisconsin, 2 goals
2 points — Mike Boivin, Colorado College, 2 goals
UND 4, Duluth 4
UND allowed the most shots on goal since the 2005-06 season, but was actually in position to win the game late and ended up coming out of it with one WCHA point and a tie game. Game stories:
- The last time UND allowed more than 46 shots on goal was Jan. 13, 2006 in a 6-1 loss to Minnesota in Mariucci Arena. UND allowed 48 on that night (but came back to win the next night).
- UND has been outshot four games in a row, which is very atypical for this team. UND has allowed 33, 32, 37 and 46 shots in the last four games and is averaging giving up 30.2 for the season. That’s the highest average of shots allowed for UND since the 2005-06 season.
- Interesting note: UND has led, at some point, in every game this season. It has scored first in all three losses. UND is 3-3 when scoring the first goal, yet undefeated (1-0-2) when allowing the first goal. Strange stuff.
- For a team on a six-game winless streak, Duluth played very well. Each of Duluth’s top three lines took turns creating opportunities during the game. Duluth moved the puck extremely well on the power play, as evidenced by the goal.
- Bad news for Michael Parks, who didn’t even make it through one period before getting re-injured. UND coach Dave Hakstol didn’t immediately have an update after the game, but that’s a big loss for UND. I’m assuming he won’t be available for the series finale, though don’t know that for sure.
- If Parks can’t go, you have to figure Bryn Chyzyk will get the call to go in. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the coaches are discussing whether to put Dan Senkbeil, Coltyn Sanderson or Andrew Panzarella in for someone else to shake things up a little bit.
- Another lineup item to follow is whether the top line will stay together. They ended up playing in the defensive zone for too much of the time Friday. They’ve showed flashes of being good, but they haven’t been nearly as consistent as the Knightline last year or the Pony Express the year before.
- Danny Kristo, who sometimes double shifted in Parks’ spot after that, said it was strange going from left wing to right wing on every other shift, but he enjoyed the extra ice time.
- Colten St. Clair also double shifted on that line and I thought he played well once again. His setup to Rocco Grimaldi for a goal was a beautiful play. He also hit the inside of the post, missing a 1-1–2 night by a tenth of an inch. St. Clair is well on his way to being a guy UND can’t take out of the lineup (if he’s not there already).
- After a tough night on draws against St. Cloud State, Corban Knight was back to his old self, going 18-11 in the faceoff circle. Grimaldi also had his best night of the season in faceoffs, going 15-6 (Grimaldi is now over .500 for the season). UND won the faceoff battle 53-32 (yes, there were that many whistles).
- The game took 2 hours, 46 minutes, which may be the longest regular-season game I’ve covered.