Five highlights from around the country:
1. Notre Dame continued its outstanding play by beating Michigan State 5-1. The Irish are now 7-1 in their last eight games and have not allowed more than 2 goals during that stretch. The lone loss was against UND.
2. Speaking of hot CCHA teams, Western Michigan won its fifth straight, a 2-1 decision over Ferris State. Western is now 10-3-1 on the season. It hasn’t allowed more than 2 goals during its current winning streak.
3. Colorado College trailed by three goals with 16 minutes to go but managed to rally for a tie. Alexander Krushelnyski scored back-to-back goals, then set up Rylan Schwartz with a brilliant cross-ice pass to tie the game with 24 seconds left. On the down side for the Tigers, CC has 1 win in the last 8 games (and seven of those eight games were at home).
4. In a marquee battle between top WCHA teams, St. Cloud State managed to get a split by beating Omaha 2-1 in the series finale. Jonny Brodzinski scored the game-winner about midway through the third period.
5. Mankato earned its third straight sweep and sixth straight win by beating Anchorage 3-0. Stephon Williams stopped 16 shots for his second shutout in three games. The Mavs have allowed just six goals in the last six games — all starts by Williams, a freshman.
WCHA top performers
4 points — Carter Rowney, UND, 2 goals, 2 assists
4 points — Rocco Grimaldi, UND, 1 goal, 3 assists
3 points — Alexander Krushelnyski, CC, 2 goals, 1 assist
3 points — Rylan Schwartz, CC, 2 goals (GTG), 1 assist
Shutout — Stephon Williams, MSU-Mankato, 16 saves
UND 6, Denver 3
UND played its fourth straight very good game and finished off a three-point weekend against the WCHA’s first-place team. Game stories:
- It’s probably time (or way past time) that Corban Knight gets his due. He has an 11-game point streak. He has 13 points in 10 WCHA games. He’s approaching his own school record on faceoffs. He’s got to be one of the strongest players on the puck. He’s making great setup passes for his teammates. Yet another great weekend for Knight.
- UND has outshot its last four opponents by 21, 21, 13 and 10. That’s a big change from the previous seven games when UND was outshot by its opponent.
- Denver had great difficulty sustaining any sort of pressure or holding any time of possession this weekend. Some of it may have been due to the short roster. Zac Larraza certainly would have helped a bit. Even so, I’ve definitely seen some of their top-end players play better than they did this weekend. Denver did not look like a first-place team.
- It looks like UND has finally found a great home for Carter Rowney and Rocco Grimaldi. The coaches had been moving those guys around lines and positions trying to find something that works. Those two, along with Drake Caggiula, have looked great together.
- I wrote about UND not scoring dirty goals or rebound goals a couple weeks ago. That was corrected in a big way this weekend. Nearly all of UND’s goals were scored within a couple feet of the paint area. Rowney, who scores almost all of his goals from that area, was back in business doing that against DU.
- Danny Kristo nearly scored a goal that could have overtaken Caggiula’s as goal of the year. He dangled Joey LaLeggia and made a great backhand move but hit the post. It was still good enough to earn a tweet from ESPN’s John Buccigross.
- For the second night in a row, Denver had zero shots on goal from below the hash marks in the third period. I’m guessing this has something to do with UND wearing out the Pioneers and their 10 forwards.
- Denver’s Quentin Shore had a great night in the faceoff circle going 16-8, but a tough night on the plus-minus board registering a minus-4.
- It’s strange that Denver is on its longest winless streak (six games) in 13 years, yet the Pioneers are still in first place in the league standings. Denver will try to end that stretch Friday against Bemidji State.